Germany on Thursday reported its second-highest daily total of coronavirus infections, with 32,552 new cases along with 964 new deaths.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 5,648 coronavirus patients were currently receiving treatment in intensive care units, with 3,063 of them on ventilators.

It was not clear whether the sharp increase in new cases in recent weeks were due to the new virus variant (B, which was first detected in the UK earlier this month.

“To date, it is unknown how the new virus variant will affect the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, a few cases of this new variant [in Germany] have been transmitted to the RKI. Further cases may be expected,” the institute said in its latest report.

The RKI noted that the growing number of infections among the elderly was a source of concern, and this has also led to a rise in the number of serious cases and deaths.

Of all deaths, more than 88% were among people aged 70 or above, with a median age of 84 years, according to the institute.

Germany has the fifth-highest tally of coronavirus infections in Western Europe, behind France, the UK, Italy, and Spain.

The national total now stands at over 1.71 million cases with at least 33,071 deaths.

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