BERLIN — Germany recorded a 43 percent jump in new coronavirus infections on Thursday, the highest level since April, as a country once lauded for its measured response to the pandemic struggles to curb a rise in cases.
In a news conference in Berlin, Health Minister Jens Span called the sharp rise to 4,058 daily cases “worrying” and blamed it on an increasingly lax attitude among some segments of the population.
“People think that the virus isn’t as serious because we got through the summer well,” he said. “But that’s a false conclusion. It was because we took preventative measures that we did well.”
The number of deaths and patients in intensive care remains comparatively low, he said, with new cases largely among younger people who “want to party, to travel, and think of themselves as invulnerable.”
But he warned that death rates would rise as more vulnerable parts of the population are infected.
Lothar Wieler, the head of the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s federal agency for infectious disease, said he was concerned that infection rates were rising in almost all regions of the country.
He said it is too early, however, to tell if the country is entering a trend of exponential growth.
Several German states tightened coronavirus measures on Wednesday, barring travelers from high-risk areas within the country from entering without a negative test result. Four districts of the capital, Berlin, are now classed as high-risk zones.
In an effort to reduce the number of infections, Berlin on Tuesday introduced new rules requiring all establishments save pharmacies and gas stations to close between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.