Berlin — German police are investigating thousands of cases of suspected forgery of coronavirus vaccine certificates, the DPA news agency reported Wednesday.
Citing figures from 16 states in the country, it shows that more than 12,000 police investigations have been opened nationwide.
The Dpa reported that the number of investigations surged in December after authorities announced new restrictions to keep unvaccinated people out of public life.
Those who provide or use fake certificates can face severe penalties, including fines, probation and unemployment.
Prosecutors have launched a manslaughter manslaughter probe after a woman continued to work at a nursing home using fake vaccine certificates even though her family members were sick with COVID-19 at home .
The German parliament is set to start discussing making the vaccine mandatory for all citizens in the coming months, but government officials have acknowledged that the measure is unlikely to take effect for months.
Nearly 73% of the German population has received a full course of vaccine against COVID-19 and nearly 48% have received additional booster shots.
Germany recorded a new number of confirmed cases on Wednesday. The country’s disease control agency has reported 112,323 new infections and 239 her COVID-related deaths in the last 24 hours.
Berlin’s Mitte district, home to the German government district, had the highest weekly infection rate.
In neighboring Austria, cases surged further on Wednesday, to about 30,000. Prime Minister Karl Nehammer called it a “surprisingly high number”, almost double the previous record.
Nehammer said the number of hospitalizations has stabilized, which suggests that the Omicron variant is more contagious but does not cause serious illness.
Omicron is less likely to cause severe illness than the previous delta variant, according to early research. It also spreads more easily to people who have been vaccinated or who have been infected with previous versions of the virus.
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