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‘Everyone will probably be vaccinated, recovered or dead by end of winter,’ warns German minister

 

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: Michael Kappeler/Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: Michael Kappeler/Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: Michael Kappeler/Reuters

Angela Merkel called for a new coronavirus lockdown in Germany yesterday in what may be her last significant act as chancellor.

We face a highly dramatic situation. The rules we have are not enough,” Ms Merkel said. “We face a situation that will surpass everything we have seen before.”

Infections are soaring and hospitals across Germany warn they are running out of space in intensive care units.

“By the end of winter, pretty much everyone in Germany will probably be vaccinated, recovered or dead,” said Jens Spahn, the health minister, in a hard-hitting press
conference.

But Ms Merkel’s chances of securing a new lockdown look slim in the face of opposition from the incoming government. A new coalition under Olaf Scholz has made clear it does not want any more lockdowns. It will not renew an emergency law empowering national and regional authorities to order lockdowns when it expires on Thursday.

Ms Merkel will step down when the new government is sworn in – expected to be in two weeks. She appears determined to press for a new lockdown in her final act as chancellor. But as a caretaker without a majority in parliament her ability to impose one is limited.

Yesterday she reportedly urged regional leaders to rush through lockdown measures before the emergency law expires. She told senior party figures at a meeting of her Christian Democrat party that infections are doubling every 12 days and people had not grasped the seriousness of the situation.

Mr Scholz, who is still locked in final coalition negotiations, has said little so far in public but has promised to review the government’s policy on December 9. New rules drawn up by his incoming government come into force this week. They include giving regional governments the power to restrict large areas of life to the vaccinated, and requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test on public transport and at work.

Two of Germany’s most influential regional leaders yesterday called for the jab to be made mandatory in a joint op-ed piece for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.  

A new opinion poll for Spiegel magazine found 70pc of Germans now support mandatory vaccination. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2021)

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Telegraph Media Group Limited [2021]


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