Germany considers a complete Covid lockdown and mandatory vaccines

November 25, 2021: -Germany is set to decide on more onerous Covid-19 restrictions and could even opt for a complete lockdown between record daily infections and mounting hospital pressure.

The country’s health minister, Jens Spahn, has issued a dire warning to Germans this week, which says that by the end of winter, “pretty much everyone in Germany will be vaccinated, recovered or dead.” Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel has known on the heads of Germany’s 16 federal states to decide upon stricter rules by Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Spahn reiterated that request, which adds that more public spaces should be restricted to the vaccinated, the recovered, or those that have had a negative test, otherwise called the “3G rule.” From Wednesday, 3G rules apply to any Germans going into the workplace or accessing public transport.

From the previous week, the government and federal states agreed to further nationwide restrictions that would come into force based on the hospitalization rate in the federal state.

Spahn also warned about increasing pressure on hospitals in Germany, noting that “we are having to move patients nearly as intensive care units are full, and that doesn’t just affect Covid-19 patients,” he told Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio, according to a Reuters translation.

The warning as the number of daily Covid infections hit a new record on Wednesday, with 66,884 new cases, with the seven-day incidence rate passing 400 for the initial time since the pandemic started, according to the Robert Koch Institute. Nearly 100,000 people in Germany have died from the virus to date.

German officials are also considering compulsory vaccinations, having already implored those not yet vaccinated to take up a shot. The country has one stubbornly lower vaccination rate in western Europe, with 68% of its population fully vaccinated.

Like other European countries, Germany has been desperately trying to boost Covid vaccinations and the deployment of booster shots as winter approaches. But vaccine hesitancy and the spread of the highly infectious delta Covid variant, which is far more virulent than previous strains, make the task far harder.

The idea of compulsory vaccinations has been controversial in Europe. Still, the dramatic Covid landscape has made the debate an increasingly prevalent one, and some officials believe mandating vaccines is the only way to stop the virus.

Covid vaccines significantly reduce the risk of severe infection, hospitalization, and death from the virus. Still, we also know vaccine immunity wanes after around six months and that they are not 100% effective at reducing transmission.

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