Covid: Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her likely successor, current Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, announced new restrictions on unvaccinated people in the country on Thursday to combat the rise in new COVID-19 infections. Merkel and Scholz told reporters in Berlin that unvaccinated people will be excluded from non-essential commercial, cultural, and leisure facilities under the new rules. In addition, they announced a meeting with the governors of the 16 states of Germany. Merkel said Parliament would also consider imposing a general coronavirus vaccination mandate, as part of the country faces the fourth wave of infections. According to the German Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases (RKI), the nation once again surpassed 70,000 new cases in 24 hours on Thursday.
However, the infection rate was only more than 439 cases per 100,000 people, which had declined for the third consecutive time. Merkel said that the nation was in the middle of such a powerful fourth wave was depressing, “especially when I look at specific regions. That’s why I worked hard until the end to be able to break this fourth wave as quickly as possible.” Merkel described the toughest measures as an “act of national solidarity,” as hospitals in the country are almost busy. Both Merkel and Scholz, who are expected to be elected chancellor by a centre-left coalition next week, have expressed support for a vaccination mandate. If approved by Parliament, it would enter into force in February. About 68.7% of the population in Germany is fully vaccinated, which is below the government’s minimum target of 75%.
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