On Wednesday, Germany recorded the biggest-ever daily spike in coronavirus deaths – 952 – after recording much lower daily totals during the first wave of infections.

While the latest figure is undoubtedly influenced by reporting delays, it underlines the very serious threat posed by the current wave.

Shops, schools and nurseries went into a planned closure on Wednesday as 27,728 new infections were reported by the Robert Koch Institute.

Only supermarkets, grocery shops and pharmacies remain open, and Christmas tree sellers have been given a special dispensation.

In the meantime, EU Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen said that authorisation for the use of the first vaccine has been brought forward and immunisation using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will begin in the EU next week.

FILE PHOTO: Ursula von der Leyen Reuters