The more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus now makes up an estimated 97% of new COVID-19 cases in Germany, the country’s disease control agency said on Friday.

The Robert Koch Institute confirmed 3,448 more coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, showing that the case counts were on an upward trend again.

Health authorities recorded over 3,000 new infections for the third day in a row, for the first time since June.

New cases have particularly increased among teenagers and young adults, according to the institute.

As of Friday, there were 29,900 active COVID-19 cases across the country.

Despite a rapid increase in case numbers in recent weeks, hospitalizations and deaths stayed relatively low, compared to the first and second waves of the pandemic in Germany.

Health authorities confirmed 24 coronavirus-related fatalities on Friday, down from 30 deaths reported a week ago.

Currently, 393 seriously ill coronavirus patients are receiving treatment in intensive care units.

Germany has stepped up its vaccination campaign recently and achieved significant progress in fully vaccinating a high percentage of its population against COVID-19.

As of Thursday, nearly 45 million people in Germany – 54.1% of the population – were fully vaccinated against the virus, while more than 51.8 million people – 62.2 % of the population – have received at least one dose.

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