Stricter Covid rules are needed to curb Germany’s spiraling infection rate, the country’s health minister said as he warned the pandemic had gone from “severe” to “dramatic” in some areas.
As hospitals continued to fill up and the rate of transmission reached 399.8 per 100,000 people on Monday, Jens Spahn called for more rules to restrict access to public places such as bars and restaurants.
With Germany blaming the fourth wave on the “very contagious delta variant”, Mr Spahn suggested that access to such areas should be limited to those who had been vaccinated or had recently recovered from Covid and a There was also a negative test.
Germany’s federal system of government means individual states set their own COVID rules. National lockdowns have been imposed in the past and Mr Spahn did not rule out neighboring Austria joining another shutdown to curb rising cases, although he said it would be decided on a region-by-region basis.
Saxony in East Germany and Bavaria in the southeast have already taken matters into their own hands by canceling events such as Christmas markets.
“The situation is not only dire, in some areas in Germany it is now dramatic,” Spahn told German radio. “We have to move patients around because intensive care units are full and it doesn’t just affect COVID-19 patients.”
His remarks came after the US State Department warned Americans not to travel to Germany due to “very high levels of COVID-19”.
The warning was issued after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement to “avoid travel to Germany.” If you must travel to Germany, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travelling.”
“Due to the current situation in Germany, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk of acquiring and spreading COVID-19 variants,” the CDC warned. The same level of travel warnings applies to other European countries including the UK, Austria, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Denmark and Norway.
Germany is one of several countries across Europe – now considered the epicenter of the pandemic – to experience rising infections.
Austria entered a 10-day lockdown on Monday, while protests against tougher restrictions erupted in the Netherlands and other EU countries.
Germany is also dealing with concerns over the supply of the Biotech/Pfizer vaccine. According to two government sources, the company has brought forward the delivery of one million doses originally planned for December, Mr Spahn told health ministry officials on Monday.
It will be able to deliver 3 million next week instead of 2 million doses as people rush to get booster shots and appointments are booked at vaccine centers.
Whether this will affect the total number of vaccines handed over to Germany for the rest of the year is yet to be decided, the sources said.
Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel also issued her own COVID warning, saying the current rules are “not enough” to deal with the fourth wave.
“We have a highly dramatic situation – the current rules are not enough,” she told a meeting of leaders of her conservative Christian Democratic Union party.
“What exists now is not enough,” Merkel said.
About 79 percent of adults in Germany have received two shots of the Kovid vaccine, but so far only 7.5 percent have received booster shots.
The total number of people who died of corona virus in Germany is approaching one lakh.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /