People in Germany must refrain from nonessential travel, the head of the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases (RKI) said on Thursday, after the country detected cases of new coronavirus variants.
“We will have more variations…Therefore don’t travel,” RKI President Lothar Wieler said.
Germany has reported 16 cases of the coronavirus variant that was first detected in Britain, and four other cases of the variant from South Africa.
The RKI said these would not be the last new COVID-19 variants, as a new variation appeared in Brazil.
All infections of the new COVID-19 variants in Germany have been related to travel, Wieler said.
Germany reported on Thursday a record high of 1,244 deaths and 25,164 new infections in 24 hours.
‘Under control’ at end of 2021
The RKI urged people to follow the current lockdown rules in Germany, to control the spread of coronavirus. The institution also expressed support for further restrictions.
“At the end of the year, we will have this pandemic under control,” Wieler said, urging people to receive the vaccine.
Germany will have enough vaccines for its entire population by the end of 2021, according to the RKI.
The RKI also encouraged people to work from home and maintain social distancing to curb the spike in COVID-19 cases.
“Now working from home protects the health of all of us – for this we need even more responsible employers,” Wieler said.
Coronavirus currently patients occupy 85% of intensive care units, causing congestion in hospitals in 10 of Germany’s 16 states, he added.
Germany has shut down non-essential businesses and institutions since November and until the end of January at the earliest.
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to meet with top officials and the 16 state premiers later in January to discuss the situation.
The country aims to curb the number of daily COVID-19 infections to less than 50 cases in every 100,000 per week, to track infection chains. The current rate is 151.2 according to the RKI.