The leader of Germany's coronaviruses said he was optimistic that his country could expect a relatively normal winter in 2022, after data from other countries showed that infections with the Omicron variant of Covid-19 could be milder than Delta.
Christian Drosten, who heads up the institute of virology at Berlin's Charité hospital, told ZDF that Omicron could be used to take the world into an endemic situation where the virus that has brought the world to a standstill could be more similar to.
It is a good situation if you have a virus that no longer makes you sick but can be transmitted easily so that it can seek out and find all of the immunity gaps among the population.
The coronaviruses expert said that an updated top-up dose of a vaccine was necessary to protect vulnerable people over the course of the coming year.
Germany had a higher percentage of people who did not have immunity from the virus than other European countries. There are too many unvaccinated people in Germany. Those are at risk.
In his first new year's address, the German chancellor will urge citizens who have sat out the vaccination drive to change their minds and take the jab.
In a speech that will be broadcasted on Friday evening, the president said that the swine flu is not over. I appeal to all of you to bevaccinated.
The lowest vaccination rate in western Europe is found in Germany, where 71.2% of the population is considered fully vaccine free.
After days of sinking infections rates, Germany's disease control agency reported an increased seven-day incidence for every 100,000 people of 214.9, with 41,270 new and 323 deaths reported in the last 24 hours. The real number of cases could be higher because of a reduction in testing.
The number of confirmed Omicron cases in Germany has been rising rapidly, though slightly more slowly than in countries that have recorded a doubling of cases every two to three days.
Omicron is widespread in Germany's northernmost states and city-states, which are close to the Netherlands andDenmark. In the week of December 20-26, the infectious variant was the most common type of the virus in the city of Bremen.
South Africa and the UK are to be removed from the Robert Koch Institute's red list as of 4 January, meaning travellers coming from those countries will no longer be restricted.