Germany reported its highest daily mortality rate from the pandemic with 1,188 deaths in the last 24 hours. The previous record was 1,129 on December 30.
The country, which has been praised for dealing with the first wave of the pandemic, is currently under a strict national blockade, which was extended until January 31st.
In the UK, meanwhile, the mayor of London announced a “major incident” on Friday, warning that hospitals in the capital were close to overloading.
“The situation in London is now critical with the spread of the virus out of control,” Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement.
“The number of cases in London has risen rapidly by more than a third more patients treated in our hospitals now than at the peak of the pandemic last April.
“We are declaring it a major incident because the threat this virus poses to our city is at a crisis point,”
A statement from City Hall said there were currently 7,034 people in London’s Covid-19 hospitals, a 35% increase from the peak of the pandemic in April.
British Health Minister Matt Hancock said Thursday that the government is putting “extra resources” in London and other parts of England where the NHS is under “the most significant pressure”.
Deaths are rising at record levels in the UK as health workers face a deadly start by 2021. On Thursday, the country reported 1,162 deaths, the second highest since the pandemic began.
British health officials are also trying to deal with the new variant of the virus, which was first discovered in the country as it spreads to the public.
This strain appears to spread more easily than others, but there is no evidence that it is more deadly or causes more severe disease.
The coronavirus crisis is also deepening in Ireland, where health officials said they were deeply concerned about the sharp rise in cases, with 6,521 infections reported on Thursday alone.
Holohan said the new option in the UK has contributed to the wave.
Ireland further tightened its blockade measures on Wednesday, closing construction sites and schools across the country. An exception has been made for students from the last year due to taking exams at school.
“We are fighting a deadly and ever-changing virus,” Irish leader Michel Martin said on Twitter on Wednesday. “The lock we are introducing today is designed to reflect this vivid and simple reality.”
The WHO is calling for tougher measures
As governments struggle to vaccinate people and tackle the winter peak, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for more intensive measures to tackle the strain in the UK.
“With increased portability and a similar severity of the disease, the option … raises concerns: without increased controls to slow its spread, there will be an increased impact on already stressed and pressured health facilities,” WHO Director-General for Europe Hans said on Thursday. Kluge
“This is a worrying situation, which means that in a short period of time we need to do more than we have done and strengthen public health and social measures to make sure we can level the steep vertical line in some countries,” Kluge added.
Kluge also called on states “to mitigate this burden by doing everything possible to reduce transmission and increase vigilance to identify all new options.”
The UK option is now open in 22 countries in the WHO European Region.
CNN’s Sungam Pokharel and Arnaud Siad contributed to this article.