Third wave of pandemic "appears to be broken" - German health minister

"The third wave appears to be broken," Spahn told a regular weekly news briefing on Germany's pandemic management

  

BERLIN - The third wave of the coronavirus pandemic appears to be broken, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Friday, as social distancing measures and an accelerating vaccination campaign help lower the infection rate.

"The third wave appears to be broken," Spahn told a regular weekly news briefing on Germany's pandemic management.

The head of the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases, Lothar Wieler, said the incidence of COVID-19 infections was falling across all age groups, and he was hopeful of soon controlling the pandemic in Germany.

The share of the population that has received a first vaccine shot has reached 31.5%, with 900,000 getting a dose on Thursday, putting Germany "in the fast lane" by international comparison, said Spahn.

In a push to accelerate Germany's vaccination drive, Spahn on Thursday allowed the shot from AstraZeneca to be given to all adults - reversing earlier curbs imposed after earlier reports of rare cases of blood clotting. 

The decision followed moves by several German federal states to allow people to get the AstraZeneca shot, in consultation with their doctors.

"We are convinced that this offer is attractive for those who would otherwise not get vaccinated so quickly," said Spahn, adding that 1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine would be delivered to doctors' practices next week.

(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Paul Carrel) ((douglas.busvine@tr.com; +49 30 220 133 562;))

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