Germany imposes curbs on unvaccinated, to make vaccines compulsory – .

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Germany imposes curbs on unvaccinated, to make vaccines compulsory – .


BERLIN, Dec. 2 (Reuters) – Germany on Thursday imposed restrictions on the unvaccinated as it sought to halt a dramatic rise in daily coronavirus infections exacerbated by the discovery of the Omicron strain.

Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel and her successor Olaf Scholz have agreed with the leaders of Germany’s 16 states to deny unvaccinated people access to all but the most essential businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies and bakeries.

They also agreed to pass legislation in the national parliament to make vaccination compulsory.

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Eager to avoid blockages that could derail a fragile recovery in Europe’s largest economy, they have kept businesses open to nearly 69% of the population who are fully vaccinated as well as those with proof that they had recovered from COVID-19.

“The situation is very serious,” Merkel said at a press conference with Scholz, who is expected to be elected chancellor by the Bundestag (lower house) next week. “The number of infections has stabilized, but at a much too high level. “

Merkel said an ethics committee would be asked to draft a bill to make vaccination mandatory and that the Bundestag would debate and vote on the contested measure by February at the latest.

Authorities fear the fourth wave of COVID-19 could overwhelm intensive care units and resulted in more than 73,000 new infections and 388 deaths on Thursday.

Virologists attribute the new outbreak to resistance to vaccination from a significant part of society and have criticized politicians for acting too late to curb the contagion.

Germany’s vaccination rate of just under 70% is close to the EU average but lower than that of countries like Portugal and Ireland.

There have been signs that the curve showing new infections is starting to flatten. The seven-day incidence among 100,000 residents fell for the third day in a row to 439.2.

Merkel, who hailed the restrictions as a necessary “national act of solidarity,” said that in areas where the 7-day incidence reached 350, measures such as closing nightclubs and concert halls and limiting 50-person indoor events would go into effect.

Taming the virus will be a top priority for Scholz, whose Social Democrats will rule with progressive Greens and pro-business Free Democrats. Scholz, who officially takes power next week, said Germany will seek to administer an additional 30 million strokes by Christmas.

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Reporting by Andreas Rinke, Paul Carrel and Thomas Escritt Writing by Joseph Nasr Editing by Mark Heinrich

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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