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The city centre in Offenbach, Germany. Photo: Frank Rumpenhorst/picture alliance via Getty Images

German officials warned Friday the third wave of the coronavirus in the country is going to be "harder to curb" and could be far worse than the previous two.

Why it matters: The number of new confirmed cases has jumped in recent weeks largely due to the more transmissible B.1.1.7 variant and the relaxation of some lockdown measures, according to Reuters.

By the numbers: Germany has recorded 2,755,225 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 75,780 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the country's Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases (RKI).

  • Germany reported 21,573 new cases on Friday, about 4,000 more new cases than were reported a week ago, Deutsche Welle reported.

What they're saying: “There are clear signals that this wave will be worse than the first two waves,” said RKI head Lothar Wieler, according to Reuters.

  • “We have some very difficult weeks ahead of us,” he added, urging people to stay home over the Easter holiday.

The big picture: Earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the government would no longer implement a planned stricter lockdown over the Easter holiday.

  • She apologized for the plan, which was met with public criticism and confusion.

Germany's health minister said on Saturday that the country expects to receive its first small delivery of Johnson & Johnson’s single dose COVID-19 vaccine in mid-April, per Reuters.

  • Jens Spahn cautioned the first delivery would be small — around 275,000 doses — but it will eventually "be ramped to millions of doses."
  • The country has had a slow start to its vaccine rollout, made worse by delivery days and constrained supply, according to Reuters. About 10% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Go deeper

Updated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker
Mar 27, 2021 - World

Chinese officials brief diplomats on possible COVID-19 origins

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Chinese officials briefed diplomats in Beijing on Friday on four possible ways the coronavirus arrived in Wuhan, AP reports.

Why it matters: The briefing comes ahead of the release of the World Health Organization's report on the virus' origin, and "is based on a visit earlier this year by a WHO team of international experts to Wuhan," the AP writes.

Updated Mar 27, 2021 - World

Myanmar security forces kill more than 100 in deadliest day since coup

Protesters demonstrating against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on March 27. Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Myanmar security forces on Saturday killed more than 100 people, including children, during anti-coup protests, several news agencies reported.

Why it matters: It's the bloodiest day of protests since the military last month overthrew the country's democratically elected government and comes as Myanmar’s military celebrates the annual Armed Forces Day holiday with a parade in the country's capital, Naypyidaw.