Germany will lock down its unvaccinated citizens with Angela Merkel saying all non-essential shops and leisure facilities are now off limits to those without jabs.
Angela Merkel says non-essential shops and leisure facilities will be open only to those who have been jabbed or recovered from Covid.
Ms Merkel, the country’s outgoing Chancellor, announced today that health pass rules currently in place in some Germany states will be expanded nationwide, affecting non-essential shops, restaurants, cinemas and theatres.
Additionally, nightclubs will have to close in areas where infections are high, all schoolchildren will be required to wear masks, and private gatherings at which unvaccinated people are present will be limited to three households.
Merkel referred to an ‘Advent Lockdown’, but it was not immediately clear when the rules would come into force or how long they would last.
Speaking alongside incoming Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Merkel said she had hoped that a voluntary approach to vaccination would work – but that the size of Germany’s fourth wave of infections left her no alternative.
Health Minister Jens Spahn, in a caretaker role ahead of the planned swearing in of a new government next week, told the ZDF broadcaster that Germany needed ‘a lockdown, so to speak, for the unvaccinated’.
Infections have smashed German records in recent weeks and hospitals are sounding the alarm, with many over capacity and forced to dispatch patients elsewhere in the country for treatment.
Though Germany’s seven-day incidence rate has fallen slightly this week, it still stood at 439.2 on Thursday, with 73,209 new cases recorded in the past 24 hours.
‘From the point of view of intensive and emergency medicine, the pandemic situation has never been as threatening and serious as it is today,’ the DIVI intensive care association warned on Wednesday, calling for a drastic tightening of restrictions.