Germany has recorded more than 50,000 coronavirus cases in one day for the first time since the pandemic began.
According to the Robert Koch Institute of Health Surveillance, there were 50,196 additional COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, with 235 deaths.
Germany is among a number of European countries facing a new surge in cases, and has recorded record numbers of infections over recent days.
The outgoing chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday called the resurgence of infections in the country “dramatic”, particularly noticeable since October.
“The pandemic is once again spreading dramatically,” her spokesman said, calling on the regional health authorities to take further measures to contain the situation.
The pressure on hospital wards is also increasing.
Several hospitals have said in recent days that they are again working at their limits and have ICUs so full of COVID-19 patients that they cannot admit new patients.
“We have a real emergency situation right now,” Christian Drosten, the head of virology at Berlin’s Charite Hospital, said earlier this week.
The outbreak is attributed in part to the relatively low vaccination rate of the population in Germany, at just over 67 percent.
Several particularly affected states, such as Saxony, Bavaria, and most recently Berlin, have introduced new restrictions aimed at unvaccinated people.
As of Monday, Berlin will ban unvaccinated people from restaurants without terraces, bars, gyms and hairdressers.
A negative test will no longer allow access to these public places if users are not vaccinated or cannot prove that they have recovered from the disease.
In total, almost 4.9 million people have been infected in Germany since the start of the pandemic.