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BA.5 becomes dominant COVID-19 variant in Germany

A health worker in a mobile test station takes a quick test for the COVID-19 on a man who stands outside in front of the wagon in Munich, southern Germany, on April 8, 2022, amid the pandemic.

ATHENS / BERLIN / ROME – The Omicron sub-lineage BA.5 became the dominant COVID-19 variant in Germany, accounting for around half of infections, according to the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases.

"The strong increase in share of this variant has continued together with BA.4 and BA.2.12.1," the RKI said in its weekly report on Thursday. With the increasing spread of these more contagious variants, a "rebound in infection numbers" was also been observed.

Daily COVID-19 infections in Germany continued to rise as 108,190 new cases were registered on Friday, according to the RKI

Daily COVID-19 infections continued to rise as 108,190 new cases were registered on Friday, according to the RKI. Germany's seven-day COVID-19 incidence rate climbed from 533 infections per 100,000 inhabitants on the previous day to 618.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach is supporting expert demands to vaccinate or booster 40 million people before winter. "BA.5 is not harmless. In winter we must be very well prepared, otherwise chaos is looming," he said on Twitter.

In order to avoid last year's shortfalls, Germany is procuring a wide range of vaccines. These include vaccines adapted to the Omicron variant, the Ministry of Health said. In addition, "vaccination gaps are to be closed."

Although Germany was one of the last countries in the European Union to drop restrictions for travelers entering from another EU member state, most restrictions on public life have now been lifted.


Greece is offering a second COVID-19 booster shot for people aged 30 and above beginning next week.

According to Greek national news agency AMNA, the country's vaccination authorities reiterated a "strong recommendation" that those aged 60 and above get a second booster shot. Appointments for that age category have been available since early April this year.

The announcement came as the number of new daily infections has been rising in June.

Greece confirmed 10,474 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours on Thursday. Moreover, 17 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, and 88 patients were on ventilators in hospitals nationwide.

ALSO READ: Greece lifts COVID-19 curbs for summer tourism season

A worker of the Cremona hospital cleaning staff, wearing a personal protective equipment, walks past the COVID-19 intensive care unit of the Cremona hospital, in Cremona, northern Italy on Jan11, 2022. (MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP)


The coronavirus reproduction number (RT) was on the rise in Italy, along with the bed occupancy rate in both normal wards and emergency units, according to data released on Friday.

The assessment came with the latest monitoring survey carried out by the country's National Health Institute (ISS) in the first half of June.

Their report showed the average RT grew to 1.07 between June 1 and June 14, above the pandemic threshold (RT 1), and up from 0.83 registered in the previous monitoring report related to the period from May 25 to June 7.

This was the first time the RT exceeded the value of 1 in over two and a half months, according to the institute.

The average bed occupancy registered on June 23 was 2.2 percent in intensive care units and 7.9 percent in normal COVID-19 wards.

These occupancy rates were still "well below the critical threshold," Health Ministry Prevention Director Gianni Rezza said in a video message on Friday, and were not expected to put the public health system under pressure in the short term.

Some 12 Italian regions were classified as being "at moderate risk" (of pandemic growth) and another nine "at high risk."

Despite the growing statistics, Italy's health officials have no plan to introduce new restrictions, which are currently at the lowest level.

As of Friday, the Health Ministry registered 55,829 new coronavirus over the last 24 hours, and 51 new victims; that compared to 56,166 new cases and 75 fatalities on Thursday.