Germany Imposes New Covid-19 Measures on Unvaccinated Amid Rise in Cases

German leaders agreed on new restrictions on the unvaccinated on Thursday, with plans to lock them out of restaurants, sporting events and cultural shows as the country struggles to stem a record rise in Covid infections.

With new cases skyrocketing to an all-time high of 65,371, the leaders of Germany’s 16 states agreed after crisis talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel, to require those who are not immunized to take negative tests to use public transport. or go to the office.

To protect the most vulnerable, they also agreed to introduce mandatory vaccination for healthcare workers and employees in nursing homes.

“We need to quickly stop the exponential increase” in cases and bed occupancy in intensive care, Merkel said, calling the situation “very dramatic.”

Unvaccinated people will be barred from certain public spaces in areas with a hospitalization rate of more than three patients per 100,000 people during the past seven days.

Currently, the 16 states of Germany, except Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Saarland, have a rate higher than three.

The so-called “2G” rule, which allows entry only to those vaccinated and recovered, will apply to large events, as well as to leisure and sports facilities.

Areas with a hospitalization rate of more than six will need to introduce a “2G plus” rule, where participants will need to be screened and vaccinated, and regions with a rate of more than nine will need to introduce additional measures such as contact restrictions.

‘Very difficult situation’

“With the current dynamics, we are in a very, very difficult situation, especially for all the people who work in hospitals and especially in intensive care,” Merkel said.

The outgoing chancellor urged more Germans to get vaccinated, saying bluntly that “many of the measures that need to be taken now would not have been necessary if we had had more people vaccinated.”

Regional leaders also want the 2G rule to apply to Bundesliga footballers.

Last month, Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich sparked a national debate over vaccines after admitting he had chosen not to receive the jab.

After a strong boost in the spring, Germany’s inoculation rate stalled over the summer, standing at just under 70 percent.

Despite infections soaring in recent weeks, politicians have been accused of inaction and turning their attention to negotiations to form Germany’s next government after the September elections.

The political tangle was revealed Thursday morning in the lower house of parliament when a heated dispute erupted when parliamentarians were asked to vote on a bill that provides the legal framework for Merkel and regional leaders to implement the new measures.

The three political parties in talks to form Germany’s next government had drafted a new bill to replace the ongoing legislation that expires on November 25, passing it in the Bundestag, where they have a majority.

But Merkel’s conservative CDU-CSU bloc says the new bill is weaker than current law and has threatened to defeat it in the upper house of parliament on Friday, something that could still delay decisions made by regional leaders on Friday. Thursday.

RKI chief Lothar Wieler, one of the country’s leading immunologists, has expressed frustration at the political stalemate.

“We don’t have to keep inventing something new. All the ideas and recipes we need are available,” he said.

“After 21 months, I simply cannot bear that what I am saying and what other colleagues are saying is still not accepted,” he added.

Wieler cautioned that the actual number of infections can be up to three times what official data indicates, as many infections go undetected or go untested.

“We are currently in a serious emergency. We will really have a very bad Christmas if we don’t change course now,” he said.

(AFP)

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