The Berlin Spectator
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Germany: Federal Government and States Want New Corona Restrictions

Germany’s acting and future governments and the federal states seem to be in agreement on putting in place tighter measures designed to slow down the fourth Coronavirus wave. They intend to clarify the details on Thursday.

December 1st, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — Acting Chancellor Angela Merkel, future Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the First ministers from the capitals of Germany’s sixteen states are working on what they reportedly call an “act of solidarity”. Strict anti-Corona measures hide behind those nice words. Both the departing government and the incoming ‘traffic light coalition’ intend to break the wave and bring as much relief as possible to the German health system.

New ‘Vaccination Offensive’

Christmas Eve is only three and a half weeks away. Even before the Christian holiday commences, a new “vaccination offensive” is supposed to be jump-started. Germany’s vaccination rate is still below 70 percent. On top of first immunizations and second ones, tens of millions of booster shots need to be administered. All in all, 30 million additional doses of vaccine are supposed to be injected into people’s veins before Christmas. Just like last year, Biontech, Pfizer and Moderna are more important than Santa Clause.

A crisis management team headed by Carsten Breuer is responsible for making it happen. The prominent General in the Bundeswehr, Germany’s armed forces, and his team are on a mission and on a clock. Things are supposed to be sped up and run smoothly at the same time. Possible issues need to be resolved and someone has to organize the logistics. General Breuer’s involvement was confirmed by Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert.

Mandatory Vaccinations are Option

Everything is on the table. Olaf Scholz is already talking about the possibility of making Corona vaccinations mandatory in spring. For now, uniform rules in all of Germany are being discussed. At this moment, each state has its own rules. It is not the first time in this crisis. ‘2G’ rules in most shops and malls could be announced, which means that unvaccinated persons will only have access to supermarkets, pharmacies and drugstores, now matter how many times they get tested. The same group of people will likely have to limit its contacts. In areas with extremely high infection numbers, clubs and similar establishments will probably be shut down. Some states are already following these or similar rules, in areas with extremely high Incidences.

On Wednesday, Germany’s Seven Day Incidence decreased a little for the first time in many days. According to the Robert Koch Institute, its level is 442.9 today. On Tuesday, it was 452.2. But the number of new Coronavirus infections since yesterday is 67,186, the third-highest of all time. Saxony still is Germany’s Corona hotspot, with an Incidence of 1,209.4. Thuringia still has a three-digit Incidence level, but it is alarming nonetheless. This morning, it stood at 962.5. The number of Corona patients in Germany’s ICUs increased to 4,636. Gernot Marx, the President of the Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care Medicine, believes this number will increase to 6,000 by Christmas. This is what he told ZDF television. In the past 24 hours, there were 446 Corona-related deaths in Germany. It is the highest number in months.

Scholz Rejects Criticism

In the meantime, the future Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Olaf Scholz, dismissed criticism according to which the government reacted to the strong fourth Corona wave too late. “There is leadership”, he said in an interview with the ARD radio and TV network. He mentioned the crisis management team which had been set up even though the new government was not even in office yet. Scholz is supposed to be elected Chancellor by the Berlin Bundestag next week.

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