COVID-19 in Europe: Record case numbers in France and Germany as Omicron spreads

Several countries in Europe have registered a record number of COVID-19 infections — here is our summary of the situation across the continent.

The number of new coronavirus cases globally rose by 20 per cent last week to more than 18 million, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday that the highly infectious Omicron variant “continues to sweep the world.”

“We are concerned about the impact Omicron is having on already exhausted health workers and overburdened health systems,” Tedros said.

Some countries have taken steps targeting the unvaccinated, while programmes are also being rolled out to vaccinate young children.

France, Germany and Italy

On Tuesday, Public Health France reported that there were a record 464,769 new cases in the last 24-hour period.

The number of COVID-related deaths also increased by 288 on Tuesday to 100,339, according to official figures.

Just one day earlier, the number of COVID-19 patients in French hospitals also rose by a record 888 to over 25,000 in total.

Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases in Italy jumped from 83,403 to 228,179 on Tuesday.

Germany also saw a new record number of confirmed cases on Wednesday, with 112,323 new infections in the past 24 hours.

It is the first time the country’s disease control agency reported more than 100,000 daily cases. A further 239 COVID-related deaths were also registered on Wednesday.

But Germany’s association for intensive care medicine (DIVI) said the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units was falling despite the increase in cases.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has warned that the country has not yet reached the peak of infections and has recommended that Germany introduce a nationwide vaccine mandate by May.

Almost 73 per cent of the German population have received a full course of vaccines against COVID-19, while nearly 48 per cent have had an additional booster shot.

German police say that are investigating thousands of forged vaccine certificates, according to the DPA news agency.

Those who supply or use fake certificates could face severe penalties, from fines and suspended prison sentences to losing their jobs.