The current level of coronavirus sequencing in Germany is not sufficient and laboratories will be obliged to sequence coronavirus samples to monitor virus mutations, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Monday.
Spahn said labs would be compensated for each genome sequencing they carry out.
Spahn also urged people not to call the new coronavirus mutation that was first detected in the United Kingdom “the English variant”.
“Just as we didn’t talk about the ‘Chinese virus’ last year, now we shouldn’t talk about the ‘English variant,'” Spahn said.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 7,141 to 2,040,659, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Monday. The reported death toll rose by 214 to 46,633, the tally showed.
Spahn urged COVID-19 vaccine maker Pfizer to stick to its commitments on delivery volumes and dates after the company announced a temporary reduction in deliveries due to construction work at one of its plant.
Jens Spahn said that while Pfizer and its German partner Biotech would make vaccine deliveries this week, there would be shortages over the coming two weeks. Using doses originally earmarked for second shots as initial shots would help bridge that period of shortages, he added.
Pfizer informed the European Union that it would temporarily reduce its deliveries of a COVID-19 vaccine to member states due to construction work at its plant in the Belgian town of Puurs, the German health ministry said on Friday.
Main Photo: A mandatory face mask sign at a vaccination center in Duisburg, Germany. EPA-EFE/FRIEDEMANN VOGEL