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Germany cracks down on unjabbed to tackle Covid surge

2021-12-02 HKT 23:24
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  • Health Minister Jens Spahn says Germany needs "a lockdown, so to speak, for the unvaccinated". Photo: AFP
    Health Minister Jens Spahn says Germany needs "a lockdown, so to speak, for the unvaccinated". Photo: AFP
Germany will impose sweeping curbs on people not vaccinated against Covid-19 to combat the latest surge in cases, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday after meeting regional leaders.

"Culture and leisure nationwide will be open only to those who have been vaccinated or recovered," Merkel said, adding that the same rule would also apply to non-essential shops.

The outgoing chancellor also spoke out in favour of compulsory vaccinations, which parliament is due to vote on soon.

"Given the situation, I think it is appropriate to adopt compulsory vaccination," she said.

Merkel, her designated successor Olaf Scholz and the leaders of 16 states tightened Covid restrictions just two weeks ago, but met again on Thursday to discuss tougher measures.

The plans include a blanket ban on entering venues including bars, restaurants and cinemas for anyone who has not been vaccinated or recovered from Covid, according to a document signed off by the leaders.

The unimmunised will also be banned from Christmas markets, as well as being hit by contact restrictions limiting the number of people they can socialise with.

The agreement also includes new restrictions on large gatherings, which would affect events such as Bundesliga football matches, and the closure of nightclubs in areas with a weekly incidence rate above 350 infections per 100,000 people.

Fireworks will be banned on New Year's Eve to stop large crowds from gathering, according to North Rhine-Westphalia state premier Hendrik Wuest.

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".

"You can see from the decisions that we have understood the situation is very serious," Merkel said, adding that the measures should be seen as "minimum standards" and different regions could also impose their own tougher curbs. (AFP)