A sign about the mask requirement hangs from a lamp post on the Terrassenufer on December 13. Saxony imposed a lockdown to contain the pandemic and shut down public life. Photo: AFP/Robert Michael/dpa-Zentralbild/ZB

Germany registered a record number of deaths from Covid-19 on Wednesday, the first day of a new partial lockdown to try and cope with a surge in infections.

A total of 952 people died in the previous 24 hours, according to the Robert Koch Institute disease control center.

It said 27,728 new coronavirus cases were registered, a figure close to the daily record of nearly 30,000 infections reported on Friday.

The previous daily record for fatalities was also reached Friday, when almost 600 people were reported to have died as the number of those in intensive care in the country reached alarming levels.

Some 83% of intensive care beds in hospitals were occupied on Wednesday, the Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI) said. 

The latest figures come as a new partial lockdown was imposed, with non-essential shops and schools closed in a bid to halt an “exponential growth” in infections.

The restrictions will apply until January 10, with companies also urged to allow employees to work from home or to offer an extended company holiday.

The new measures were agreed by Chancellor Angela Merkel with regional leaders of Germany’s 16 states on Sunday.

Europe’s largest economy had coped relatively well with the first wave in the spring, but it has struggled to contain a resurgence in recent months.