Germany’s official coronavirus death toll reached 35,518 on Tuesday, with 944 deaths reported in the past 24 hours, the country’s disease control agency said.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) confirmed 11,897 more coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, up from 9,847 registered on Monday.

But the institute said the latest figures on new infections should be interpreted with caution due to delayed reporting over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

“Testing and notification activities may be lower during the festive season, resulting in a putatively incomplete picture of the epidemiological situation in Germany,” the institute said in its latest report.

“Whether the number of infections is actually declining will only become clear in the course of the next few days,” RKI experts noted.

As of Monday, 5,744 seriously ill coronavirus patients were receiving treatment in intensive care units, with 3,211 of them on ventilators.

Lockdown may be extended

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to host a video conference with premiers of federal states on Tuesday, to discuss new measures and a possible extension of the coronavirus lockdown.

Despite tougher lockdown measures that began on Dec. 16, 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 RKI on Tuesday reported that the incidence rate was now 134.7 cases per 100,000 people, nearly three times more than the government’s target.

Germany has the fifth-highest tally of COVID-19 infections in Western Europe, behind the UK, France, Italy, and Spain.

The national total now stands at over 1.78 million cases with at least 35,518 deaths.

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