The number of people who have died in Germany after catching the coronavirus surged to 590 on Wednesday, marking the highest daily death toll for the country in the pandemic.
The figure, reported by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the national agency for disease control, beat the last record of 487 by more than 100.
The RKI added 20,815 new coronavirus cases to the country’s tally of confirmed infections, which amounts to 1,218,524 so far.
The daily rise in new cases last Wednesday was lower at 17,270, providing further proof that a partial lockdown put in place in early November has failed to break Germany’s second wave of infections.
The goal is to bring the number of infections per 100,000 residents over a seven-day period back down to 50, which would allow overwhelmed health authorities to resume tracking chains of infection.
However, that figure currently stands at 149.1 for the whole of Germany, up from 120 when the measures first came into force last month, shuttering bars and restaurants and largely limiting gatherings to two households.
“We must enter a hard lockdown as quickly as possible,” Karl Lauterbach, a member of parliament for the centre-left Social Democrats who specialises in health policy, said in response to the high death toll.
“We need a lockdown decision by the weekend so that it works by Christmas.
“Whoever is unlucky enough to get infected in the coming days statistically dies precisely over Christmas, hence my appeal to be particularly careful from today,” he wrote on Twitter.