German COVID-19 cases rise again after two months of decline

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Residents queue at a sports hall to get vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Berlin, Germany, May 14, 2021. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt/File Photo

BERLIN, July 7 (Reuters) - The number of coronavirus cases in Germany ticked up again on Wednesday after more than two months of steady decline and most new cases have been of the Delta variant since the end of June, according to official data.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases reported 985 new infections to bring the total to 3.73 million, a rise of 177 cases compared to the daily increase a week ago.

The death toll rose by 48 in the past day to a total of 91,110 - down from a daily rise of 56 a week ago. (Graphic of global cases and deaths)

It also said that the more infectious Delta variant first identified in India made up 59% of cases at the end of June.

The number of cases per 100,000 people recorded in the last seven days rose slightly to 5.1 from 4.9 on Tuesday. The incidence figure had previously been declining since late April.

Health Minister Jens Spahn dampened hopes on Wednesday for the lifting of all remaining coronavirus restrictions, saying that would depend on the pace of vaccination. (Graphic on global vaccinations)

While a vaccination rate of 90% will soon be reached among those over age 60, it will take a big advertising drive to reach a rate of 85% among the younger population, Spahn said.

"If we manage that as well as possible in July, then we also have a good prospect of an autumn, of a winter with fewer requirements and significantly fewer restrictions," he told German radio.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was quoted as saying on Tuesday that Germany should lift all remaining coronavirus curbs as soon as everyone has been offered a vaccine, suggesting that point should be reached next month.

Around 57% of people in Germany have received at least one dose and almost 39% are fully vaccinated, according to official data.

Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Lisa Shumaker

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