Germany recorded more than 1,00,000 new Covid-19 infections within one day for the first time since April, media reported.
Germany's national seven-day rate per 100,000 inhabitants more than doubled during the last week to around 447, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases said on Tuesday. In March, the incidence peaked at around 1,700 as a result of the Omicron wave.
"A summer wave was to be expected," said Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach on Twitter. "Voluntary wearing of masks indoors and a fourth vaccination are the best antidotes."
Most Covid restrictions in Germany have been relaxed. It is one of the last countries in the European Union to drop restrictions for entering from an EU member state for the summer months, Xinhua news agency reported.
This comes at a time when the two more contagious Omicron subvariants BA.5 and BA.4 are on the rise. Within a week, the share of BA.5 in Germany doubled to 10 per cent, according to the RKI's latest weekly report.
"In all likelihood, these two sublines will spread more widely, so that there may also be an overall increase in the number of infections and a renewed increase in infection pressure on vulnerable groups of people as early as summer," the RKI warned.
Lauterbach is planning for a renewed Covid-19 vaccination campaign in preparation for "all eventualities" in the fall. The country is to spend 830 million euros (867.5 million U.S. dollars) in the procurement of a new COVID-19 vaccine that protects against different variants of the virus.
So far, at least 76 per cent of the German population has received basic immunisation. Around 60 per cent have also got at least one booster vaccination, according to official figures. (1 euro = 1.04 U.S. dollars)