Health officials say Germany has recorded a grim new one-day record for COVID-19 deaths with 962.
The country’s disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute, also reported 24,740 newly confirmed coronavirus cases.
The eastern state of Saxony has seen the highest infection rates and overloaded hospitals have begun transferring patients to other regions.
Figures show Saxony had over 414 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, more than twice as high the national average.
In an effort to curb the spread, the German government last week shut most stores, tightened the rules on social contacts and urged people to think twice about traveling to see relatives over Christmas.
For those who do travel, authorities recommended self-isolating for a week first and then obtaining a COVID-19 test before getting on trains, planes and autobahns to visit relatives during the festive period.