BERLIN

Germany reached another daily record of coronavirus cases on Wednesday as health officials reported more than 160,000 new infections.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the country’s disease control agency, confirmed 164,000 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, and 166 coronavirus-related fatalities.

More than 1.53 million people are currently sick with COVID-19, the highest figure since the pandemic started.

The highly contagious omicron variant has been the driving force behind the new surge, according to the RKI, and the variant accounts for at least 89% of sequenced coronavirus cases in the country.

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Twitter that people should not underestimate the omicron variant, as recent data showed hospitalizations have started to increase again.

“We should be concerned about this development,” he said.

Health experts say new infections are likely to increase over the next few weeks and reach a peak by mid-February.

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