BERLIN 

Germany reported more than 190,000 coronavirus infections for the second straight day on Friday, as the highly contagious omicron variant continues its rapid spread.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the country’s disease control agency, confirmed 190,148 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, and 170 coronavirus-related fatalities.

The figure was slightly lower than the record daily tally of 203,136 infections reported on Thursday.

According to the institute, the omicron variant now accounts for an estimated 95% of new cases in the country, up from 89% reported last week.

Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, the RKI’s chief Lothar Wieler warned that hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients are beginning to rise again, especially among younger adults.

He called on people to strictly follow anti-coronavirus measures, hygiene and social distancing rules, and get vaccinated as soon as possible.

“Vaccination is the best way to achieve immunity,” he stressed.

To date, nearly 74% of German population have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 52% have received their booster shots, according to the RKI.

Germany is among the countries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in Western Europe, and it has the fifth-highest tally of reported cases, behind France, the UK, Italy, and Spain.

The country of 83 million has reported more than 9.4 million coronavirus infections and nearly 118,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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