BERLIN (NWN) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her potential successor met with state governors on Thursday to consider tougher rules to curb the coronavirus. Infections which again topped 70,000 new confirmed cases in a 24-hour period.
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, who is expected to be elected chancellor by a centre-left coalition next week, said on Tuesday he supports a common vaccine mandate, but favors allowing MPs to vote according to their individual discretion rather than across party lines on the matter.
With the rise in COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks and the arrival of the new Omron version, scientists and doctors have warned that medical services in the country could be overstretched in the coming weeks unless drastic action is taken. Some hospitals in the south and east of the country have already moved patients to other parts of Germany due to a lack of intensive care beds.
Germany’s political structure – with 16 states responsible for many regulations – and the ongoing transition at the federal level is complicated to agree on what measures to take.
Offers on the table include:
1. Restricting access to non-essential shops to people who have either been vaccinated or recovered.
2. Closing clubs in areas with high infection rates.
3. Limiting the number of people attending large events such as soccer matches.
4. Reintroducing limits on how many non-vaccinated people can be found in private settings.
5. A requirement for people working in hospitals and nursing homes to get the COVID-19 shot, with the prospect of a general vaccination mandate likely next year.
About 68.7% of the population in Germany is fully vaccinated, well short of the government’s target of 75%.
Germany’s disease control agency reported 73,209 new confirmed cases on Thursday. The Robert Koch Institute also reported 388 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the total to 102,178 since the start of the pandemic.
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