BERLIN 

Germany recorded 590 deaths from the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, the highest number of deaths in a day since the beginning of the pandemic.

The country also saw 20,815 new infections in the past 24 hours, up from 14,054 new cases confirmed on the previous day, according to the country’s disease control agency.

Despite a partial lockdown that began on Nov. 2, Germany was far from achieving its target of reducing new infections to less than 50 per 100,000 people in a seven-day period.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported that the incidence rate was now 149 cases per 100,000 people, nearly three times more than the government’s target.

The institute has warned that new infections among older people has increased in recent weeks, and led to a rise in the number of serious cases and deaths.

According to the latest figures, currently 4,257 coronavirus patients are receiving treatment in intensive care units (ICUs). Over 2,535 of them are on mechanical ventilators.

“These can be avoided if all prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus with the help of infection control measures,” the RKI said in its latest report.

“It is therefore still necessary for the entire population to be committed to infection prevention and control, e.g. by consistently observing rules of distance and hygiene – also outdoors -, by ventilating indoor spaces and, where indicated, by wearing a community mask correctly. Crowds of people – especially indoors – should be avoided.”

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

The national total now stands at over 1.2 million cases with at least 19,932 deaths.

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