BERLIN (AP) – Germany’s new Transport Minister advises people against traveling on Christmas as the country tries to stem a wave of coronavirus infections.
Federal and state leaders on Thursday announced tough new restrictions that largely target unvaccinated people, preventing them from entering non-essential stores, restaurants, sporting and cultural venues. In the longer term, Parliament will consider a general mandate on vaccines.
Volker Wissing, whose pro-business party has appointed him as transport minister in the new government, said in the Bild am Sonntag newspaper edition on Sunday that “in the current situation, it seems better to spend Christmas small. group at home and not to plan long trips across the country.
“Winter 2021 will be more dramatic than winter 2020,” he added.
The new government led by center-left chancellor-designate Olaf Scholz is expected to take office on Wednesday, provided that the three parties that will form it sign their coalition agreement and Scholz obtains the support of a parliamentary majority.
At least 68.9% of Germans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, falling short of the government’s target of a minimum vaccination rate of 75%. The shortfall has been blamed as a key factor in a wave of new virus cases in recent weeks.
Official figures suggest the infection rate may now stabilize, but at too high a level. On Sunday, the National Center for Disease Control reported 42,055 new daily cases and a seven-day infection rate of 439.2 new cases per 100,000 population. Another 94 deaths in 24 hours brought Germany’s confirmed total in the pandemic to 103,040.
Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel has made a final direct appeal Germans to get vaccinated on Saturday, saying a resurgence of deaths is “so bitter because it is preventable.”
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