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World News

German daily COVID death toll nears 1,000 a week into lockdown

FILE PHOTO: A medical worker in a protective suit attends to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient at the intensive care unit (ICU) at the university hospital in Aachen, Germany, December 21, 2020. REUTERS/Leon Kuegeler

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany reported a record daily coronavirus death toll of 962 on Wednesday, a week after the start of a hard lockdown that has forced most stores as well as hair salons and other services to close.

The total death toll now stands at 27,968, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The previous daily death toll record was 952, reported on Dec. 16, the day the lockdown came into effect.

Germany managed the COVID-19 pandemic relatively well compared with other European countries in the first wave of the pandemic in spring.

But it has seen a sharp rise in case numbers and deaths in recent months, and an attempt failed in November to push down infection numbers with a “lockdown lite” that kept shops and schools open.

The eastern German state of Saxony has been hit hard by the second wave, reporting the highest number of deaths per capita over the course of the pandemic, with around 57 in 100,000 residents having died.

The town of Zittau, on Germany’s borders with Poland and Czech Republic, said late on Tuesday its crematorium was no longer able to keep up with the number of deaths and has had to find additional space to store the dead.

Across Germany, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 24,740 to 1,554,920, the RKI’s tally showed on Wednesday.

Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Tom Hogue and Michael Perry

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