Germany Considers Lockdowns, Mandatory Vaccines As COVID-19 Spreads

Germany is considering implementing full lockdown measures and making vaccines against COVID-19 mandatory amid record daily infections and mounting pressure on hospitals.

Germany’s government has already issued a dire warning this week, saying that by the end of winter "pretty much everyone in Germany will be vaccinated, recovered or dead."

Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on the heads of Germany’s 16 federal states to decide on stricter rules by the end of today (November 24).

Many states in Germany have already restricted access to public spaces such as bars, restaurants, movie theaters and museums. A number of major German Christmas markets are only open to vaccinated people this year.

Last week, Germany’s government and federal states agreed to further nationwide restrictions that would come into force based on the hospitalization rate in the respective federal state.

The increased restrictions come as the number of daily COVID-19 infections hit a new record, with 66,884 new cases reported in a single day, and the seven-day incidence rate passing 400 for the first time since the pandemic began. Nearly 100,000 people in Germany have died from the virus to date.

German officials are also said to be considering compulsory vaccinations, having already implored those not yet vaccinated to take the shot. The country has one of the lowest vaccination rates in western Europe, with 68% of its population fully vaccinated.

Like other European countries, Germany has been desperately trying to boost vaccinations and the deployment of booster shots as winter approaches. But vaccine hesitancy and the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19, which is far more virulent than previous strains, make the task far harder.

Neighbouring Austria has already announced that it will make COVID-19 vaccines compulsory from February 1 next year.