Germany: Expert suggests lockdown as Covid cases surge
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The head of Germany’s disease control agency has warned the country is heading for a “very bad Christmas season” if strict measures are not introduced. On Thursday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recorded around 65,000 new infections.
Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and the heads of Germany’s 16 states agreed to introduce a vaccine mandate for workers in hospitals and care homes.
The rise in cases is due to low vaccinations of less than 68 percent, a slow booster jab campaign, as well as the Delta variant of the virus.
Ms Merkel, the outgoing chancellor, said the situation was “dramatic” earlier in the week.
However, in comparison the UK has vaccinated 80 percent of over 12’s.
Germany’s daily rate of new COVID-19 cases per million was 639 – only marginally higher than the UK’s 544.
Professor Neil Ferguson, a Government Covid advisor, said the UK’s vaccination rate meant restrictions would likely not be needed over the winter months.
He explained: “We’re in a very different situation from other European countries at the moment. “It’s unlikely we’ll get anything close to last year’s catastrophic winter wave at this point.”
In Austria on Monday, its government introduced new measures for its sizable unvaccinated population.
Two million unvaccinated people are banned from leaving their homes unless they are getting food or going to work.
Thomas Stelzer, Upper Austria’s conservative governor, said a lockdown of “several weeks” will take place, according to Die Presse.
The Salzburg region has also agreed to join these measures, announcing in a statement that they were needed “in view of the continuing sharp rise in new corona infections”.
The news emerged as Austria recorded more than 15,000 new cases on Thursday.
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It has a seven-day incidence of 989 per 100,000 inhabitants — nearly three times as high as the UK’s.
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