Unvaccinated Germans are to be excluded from non-essential stores, cultural and recreational venues, Chancellor Angela Merkel had said.
In addition to these new restrictions, parliament is to consider making coronavirus jabs mandatory from February 2022.
The restrictions and mandate questions have been raised due to Germany’s vaccine uptake numbers, which at 68.7% of the population fully vaccinated, are far below the 75% minimum ministers are aiming for.
Germany is widening the effort to convert unvaccinated Germans by making it easier to get a dose, recruiting dentists and pharmacists to the roster of people able to administer the jabs.
Speaking after a meeting with federal and state leaders, Mrs Merkel said the measures were necessary amid concern hospitals could be overwhelmed. Some hospitals in the south and east have transferred patients to other parts of Germany because of a shortage of intensive care beds.
This along with the new Omicron variant are raising health officials’ worries. Mrs Merkel said she was “depressed” by the strength of the fourth wave of infections in the country, adding she had been hoping a voluntary approach to immunisation would be more effective.
The situation regarding COVID in Germany is “very serious”, she added, describing the new measures as an “act of national solidarity”.
“The fourth wave must be broken and this has not yet been achieved,” she said.
More than 73,000 new infections were reported on Thursday 02 December, along with 388 deaths.
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