The outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s 16 prime ministers agreed on Thursday on a new package of measures to combat a fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, as infection rates rise to a record high.
“Many of the measures we have announced would not be necessary if more people were vaccinated,” Merkel said at a press conference, according to a Reuters translation.
The package reportedly includes a public life limit for the unvaccinated in areas above a certain threshold for hospitalization. Merkel said the country was also considering making vaccination of hospital staff compulsory and free Covid tests will also be resumed.
Chancellor Angela Merkel holds a weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin.
JOHN MACDOUGALL | AFP | Getty Images
Several states and cities have already taken further measures, urging the public to present Covid passports that show a person’s vaccination status or have just recovered from the virus (aka “2G rules” as they relate to whether People are vaccinated – “vaccinated” in German – or recovered, “recovered”) in order to gain access to bars, restaurants and other public facilities such as cinemas or museums.
If more than 3 out of 100,000 residents in a region are hospitalized with the disease, according to Deutsche Welle, the 2G rule applies to all public leisure events in a certain federal state. All federal states except Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Saarland are above this, according to Deutsche Welle.
Germany broke a record on Thursday, reporting more than 65,000 new cases, with health officials warning the true number of cases could be two or three times that.
Merkel described the situation as “dramatic”.
“The fourth wave hits our country with full force,” said Merkel, according to a translation on Wednesday at an event for the German Association of Cities.
“The number of new infections every day is higher than ever … and the daily death toll is also terrifying,” she said, adding that it is not too late to take a Covid vaccine for everyone who is haven’t done this yet.
– CNBC’s Holly Ellyatt contributed to this article.