COVID: Germany set to approve curbs on unvaccinated | News | DW / German News

Acting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chancellor-designate Olaf Scholz are holding talks on Thursday with state leaders to agree new measures to curb a dramatic spike in coronavirus cases.

Unvaccinated people could soon be barred from access to almost all businesses, except for grocery stores and pharmacies, as leaders seek to avoid a return to a wider lockdown.

What’s being debated?

A draft agreement reported on by German media shows a host of measures could soon be implemented.

Federal and state leaders are expected to agree the following measures according to the draft:

  • COVID vaccine mandate starting end of February
  • Contact restrictions for unvaccinated individuals
  • Entrance to shops, restaurants, museums and movie theaters will be restricted only to vaccinated or recovered people.
  • Additional tests for those who are vaccinated could also be required
  • Capping mass events outdoors to 15,000 people
  • Capping indoor events to only 30% of the building’s capacity
  • Clubs would be required to close in areas where the incidence rate is over 350
  • Mask mandates in schools

The major sticking points concern implementing a vaccine mandate, as well as how much to curb the number of participants at large events.

What is the pandemic situation in Germany?

Germany has seen a record spike in coronavirus cases – with scientists and health care experts criticizing the government for taking action too late.

Up to 6,000 people could be in intensive care units by Christmas, warned the head of the country’s intensive care association DIVI on Wednesday.

Just under 69% of Germany’s population are fully vaccinated – one of the lowest vaccination rates in western Europe.

Virologists said much of the surge is due to vaccine resistance and skepticism in a large section of society.

While the number of deaths is much lower than it was at its peak last winter, the current number of infections at present is considerably higher – with 74,000 new cases logged on Thursday alone.

Concerns over the new omicron variant are also high, with Germany confirming several cases. Scientists are working to gather data on how transmissible it is and how effective vaccines are against it.

There are signs, however, that the curb could be flattening in Germany, as the seven-day incidence rate among 100,000 residents fell to 439.2 on Thursday – decreasing for the third day in a row.

rs / rc (dpa, Reuters)

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