German minister calls for strengthening measures against COVID-19

BERLIN (HPD) — Germany’s health minister on Friday urged the country’s 16 states to consider stepping up measures against the coronavirus in the face of a new uptick in cases.

Karl Lauterbach said he was in favor of requiring the use of a mask in closed spaces, a measure that had already been eliminated except on public transport, in medical facilities and in residences.

“The direction we are going is not good,” Lauterbach told reporters in Berlin, adding that it would be better for states to impose limited measures now than stricter ones later. “The sooner we hit the brakes, the better.”

German authorities confirmed more than 114,000 new cases in the last 24 hours and 165 deaths related to the coronavirus.

In Bavaria, the spike in infections has been linked to the recent Oktoberfest celebration, which draws hundreds of thousands of people each year.

According to Lauterbach, more could have been done to limit the spread of the virus at the Munich beer festival, such as offering or requiring visitors to undergo on-site screening.

The Health Ministry launched a new nearly 33 million euro ($32 million) advertising campaign on Friday using 84 case studies of real people affected by COVID-19 to encourage vaccination.

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