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German health minister: Massive fifth coronavirus wave coming

Germany is facing a huge fifth wave of the coronavirus pandemic driven by the Omicron variant that will put its health services under severe pressure, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Friday.

Germany is facing a huge fifth wave of the coronavirus pandemic driven by the Omicron variant that will put its health services under severe pressure, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Friday.

“I’m assuming a massive fifth wave,” Lauterbach said in Hanover. “We have to assume that the Omicron wave that we are now confronting, which in my view we cannot prevent, will pose a massive challenge to our hospitals, our intensive care units and for society as a whole.”

That challenge could be greater than any seen to date, he said, pointing to Britain’s experience with the Omicron wave.

Even if the symptoms of the disease turned out to be milder, this would not make a difference, he said. While the number of deaths could be kept down for two to three weeks, the rise in infections would negate this.

Lauterbach called on doctors and vaccination centres to make use of available stocks of the Moderna vaccine amid reports of shortages.

Looking ahead to the Christmas period, when German families traditionally gather, Lauterbach appealed to travellers to have themselves tested, preferably more than once.

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