German police arrest doctor accused of killing 2 coronavirus patients

"Masks required in the city centre" is written on signs in the market place. (Photo by Martin Schutt/picture alliance via Getty Images)

A German doctor is accused of killing two seriously ill coronavirus patients with lethal injections, according to Reuters.

German police arrested the 44-year old doctor, who worked at University Hospital in the western city of Essen, after suspecting he killed two men, ages 47 and 50. Authorities said the doctor confessed to one of their deaths, saying he wanted to spare his and his family’s suffering.

The Bild, a German newspaper, reported the doctor told the patients’ families before going through with the procedure.

The hospital suspended the doctor and is helping authorities with its inquiry.

RELATED: Moderna asking US, European regulators to OK its virus shots

Germany has seen an elevated level of coronavirus cases, much like many other countries. According to Johns Hopkins, the country has seen more than 1.1 million positive cases since the pandemic began. More than 16,400 people died from the virus.

On Monday, Moderna Inc. said it would ask U.S. and European regulators to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine as new study results confirm the shots offer strong protection — ramping up the race to begin limited vaccinations as the coronavirus rampage worsens.

RELATED: Pfizer seeking emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine in US

Moderna is just behind Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech in seeking to begin vaccinations in the U.S. in December. Across the Atlantic, British regulators also are assessing the Pfizer shot and another from AstraZeneca.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.