Despite lockdown measures, Germany reported more than 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday, as the second wave of COVID-19 continues to hit the country hard.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) registered 1,019 deaths and 21,237 new infections in the past 24 hours, above the seven-day average of cases and fatalities. These brought Germany’s total number of fatalities to 36,537 and confirmed infections to over 1.8 million since the start of the pandemic.

According to the RKI, new infections among older people have grown steadily in recent months and led to a rise in the number of serious cases and deaths.

“Since patients in older age groups often have more severe illness due to COVID-19, the number of serious cases and deaths remains at a high level. These can be avoided if all prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus with the help of infection control measures,” RKI experts said in a report released on Tuesday.

Of all coronavirus-related deaths in Germany, 88% were among people aged 70 or above, with a median age of 84 years, according to the institute.

As of Monday, 5,678 seriously ill coronavirus patients were receiving treatment in intensive care units, with 3,181 of them on ventilators.

Stricter lockdown

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Tuesday that the coronavirus restrictions will be extended until Jan. 31, and additional measures will be taken to fight the second wave of the pandemic.

She said the number of new infections in Germany was still too high, and the new variant of the coronavirus identified in the UK was a source of great concern.

“We have to be especially careful now. This is a new and extraordinary situation,” she said, calling on the citizens to keep social contacts at a minimum and stay at home as much as possible in the next three weeks.

According to the decisions taken on Tuesday, schools, daycares, and all non-essential shops will remain closed until at least Jan. 31 nationwide.

In areas where infections are above 200 per 100,000 people, local authorities would be able to ban citizens from traveling beyond a 15-km radius (9.3 miles) of their place of residence.

Private gatherings were further limited to one’s own household and only one person from another household.

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