According to the National Disease and Control Center Robert Koch Institute (RKI), a total of 69,601 new infections have been reported in the past 24 hours and a further 527 people have died. That was the highest daily death toll from Covid-19 since February 18, when 534 people died.
The seven-day incidence in Germany has declined slightly but remains high at 427 per 100,000 population. The country has recorded a total of 104,047 deaths from Covid-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Germany last week announced a nationwide lockdown to unvaccinated people, depriving them of access to all but the most essential businesses, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, as it battles to curb infection. The ban will not apply to those who have recently recovered from Covid-19.
Many hospitals are grappling with the increasing number of intensive care patients, and German medics have warned that intensive care occupancy rates could soon exceed that seen during last winter’s peak.
Greece announced last week that vaccines will be mandatory for people over 60 from mid-January. Those who refuse to do so risk a fine of 100 euros (US$113) for each month that passes, the government said.
The UK government is under pressure from leading scientists to introduce tougher restrictions to contain infections amid the rising number of cases. The seven-day moving average on Nov. 29 was over 45,000, the highest since a peak around Oct. 17.
UK health officials are urging everyone eligible to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and have accelerated the rollout of the booster shot amid major concerns about the potential impact of the Omicron variant. Last week, the government reintroduced the requirement to wear a face covering in shops and on public transport after a number of cases of the new variant were discovered in the UK.
“We can conclude that there is now community transmission in multiple regions of England,” British Health Secretary Sajid Javid said of the Omicron variant on Monday.
At the same time, the UK government is facing uproar over reports of a Christmas party for staff in Downing Street during last year’s lockdown.
CNN’s Nadine Schmidt, Frederik Pleitgen, Christ Stern and Richard Allen Greene contributed to this report.