Germany virus death toll tops 50,000

by AFP

FRANKFURT – Germany has recorded more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, the Robert Koch Institute disease control centre said Friday.

It said 859 people died from the virus in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 50,642.

Germany survived the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic relatively well, but a second wave has hit Europe’s biggest economy hard.

The country this week extended its current lockdown until February 14, and Chancellor Angela Merkel has not ruled out border checks to slow the spread of new, more contagious variants of the virus.

Europe’s top economy closed restaurants, leisure and sporting facilities in November, then expanded the shutdown in mid-December to include schools and most shops to halt runaway growth in new coronavirus infections.  

The RKI figures are based on people who died directly as a result of the illness caused by the virus and those who contracted Covid-19 but whose exact cause of death could not be confirmed.

The institute said it had registered 17,862 new cases since the previous day, bringing the total number of infections to more than 2.1 million.

New infections have soared far above the 50 per 100,000 people threshold set by the government for any relaxation of the restrictions, and currently stand at 115.3 over the past seven days.