Hospital admissions from the omicron variant could rise in Germany in the next couple of weeks as many older adults are still not vaccinated against COVID-19, the country’s health minister warned on Thursday.

The latest UK data shows that the number of seriously ill coronavirus patients on mechanical ventilators did not increase, despite a surge in omicron infections in this country, Karl Lauterbach said on Twitter.

“But things can develop in a different way here (in Germany). Because we have a much higher rate of unvaccinated people among those 60 and older,” he said, and repeated his call for people to get their jabs.

According to the German Health Ministry, nearly 39% of people in this age group still did not get their booster jabs, which is seen crucial against the highly mutated variant.

About 12% of people aged 60 and over did not receive a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Health officials have been warning that the number of omicron cases is doubling every two to three days, and it is capable of causing a massive fifth wave of coronavirus infections at the beginning of January.

The government has launched a vaccination campaign and it is planning to administer booster shots to everyone who is eligible within a few weeks to curb the spread of the infection.

Germany’s Robert Koch Institute reported 42,770 new daily coronavirus infections and 383 fatalities on Thursday, but also noted that the numbers are incomplete due to the holiday reporting irregularities as understaffed local health departments could not timely report the new case numbers.

The institute registered 3,619 new cases of omicron coronavirus variant over the past 24 hours, taking the total number of confirmed omicron cases in the country to 16,748.

European countries, including the UK, France, Spain, and Italy, have reported record numbers of coronavirus infections this week due to the heavily mutated omicron variant.

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