Lothar Wieler, President of Germany's Robert Koch Institute, speaks to the media on March 5, in Berlin.
Lothar Wieler, President of Germany’s Robert Koch Institute, speaks to the media on March 5, in Berlin. Andreas Gora/ Pool/Getty Images

Germany is currently experiencing “a rise of worrying coronavirus mutations,” Dr Lothar Wieler, the head of the country’s public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), said in a press conference on Friday.

Wieler said B.1.17, the variant first discovered in the United Kingdom, has been detected in 40% of new infections in Germany.

The variant represented just 6% of new cases in Germany four weeks ago but could soon become the dominant strain in the country, according to Wieler.

“It is foreseeable that B.1.17 will soon be the predominant variant in Germany and then it will be even more difficult to keep the virus in check because B.1.17 is more contagious and even more dangerous in all age groups,” he said.

Wieler also warned that Germany is “still seeing too many deaths” and that the country’s virus incidence rate is rising again.  

Germany reported 10,580 new coronavirus infections on Friday, RKI data showed, an increase of 583 cases compared to the same day the previous week. In total, 2,482,552 have contracted Covid-19 since the pandemic started. 

The country also reported 394 deaths in the past 24 hours, a decrease of 130 compared to the previous Friday.

A total of 71,504 people have died with Covid-19 in Germany.