Visitors at the Christmas market in Dortmund, west Germany, November 22, 2021. Several federal states in Germany have canceled their Christmas markets due to the Covid crisis.
INA FASSBENDER | AFP | Getty Images
Germany’s health minister issued a sharp warning to the country’s population, telling citizens that vaccination is the key to their survival.
“Some will say that this is cynical, but probably by the end of this winter almost everyone in Germany will be vaccinated, recovered or die … This is the reality,” Jens Spahn said at a press conference in Berlin on Monday.
Blaming the “highly contagious delta variant” for the rapid rise in infections in the country, which is seen as the fourth wave of the pandemic, Spahn said, “This is why we recommend vaccination so strongly.”
Germany is considering whether to introduce stricter Covid-19 measures and even partial isolation, like its neighbor, the Netherlands, as the number of cases rises. More than 30,000 new cases were reported Monday, according to the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases.
Meanwhile, Germany has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe: 68% of the adult population is fully vaccinated, but only 7% received revaccination. Boosters are essential because we know that the immunity offered by vaccines wanes after about six months.
Spahn advised the Germans not to be picky about the vaccine, saying that “some vaccineers say BioNTech is Mercedes of vaccines and Moderna is Rolls-Royce,” Deutsche Welle reported.
“The vaccine is sufficient for all upcoming vaccinations,” Spahn said. “And both vaccines work.”
In Germany, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is used (BioNTech is a German company and Germans generally prefer this vaccine), as well as the Moderna vaccine, the AstraZeneca-University of Oxford vaccine, and the Janssen vaccine (Johnson & Johnson).
Jens Spahn, Federal Minister of Health, on his way to the presentation of the National Health Reserve at a federal press conference on July 21, 2021 in Berlin, Germany.
Andreas Gora | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Covid vaccines significantly reduce the risk of severe infection, hospitalization and death, but some countries in Europe are more hesitant about vaccination than others. And now there is an increase in segregation when it comes to access to public spaces for vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel also issued her own warning to the country on Monday, saying current Covid rules are “not enough” to stop the fourth wave and that more drastic action is needed.
“We have a very dramatic situation – the current rules are not enough,” Merkel said at a meeting of leaders of her conservative party, the Christian Democratic Union. Reported by Reuters.
Meeting with the leaders of Germany’s 16 federal states, who have largely determined their own responses to Covid during the pandemic, Merkel urged state prime ministers to decide on tougher restrictions on the environment.
Germany has already introduced stricter Covid rules in recent days. Last Thursday, Merkel and the country’s 16 government prime ministers agreed on a new package of measures to combat the virus, with restrictions imposed on unvaccinated people in areas of the country where hospitalizations exceed a certain threshold.
Merkel then noted that “many of the measures we are announcing would not have been required if more people were vaccinated.” She said the country is also considering introducing mandatory vaccinations for hospital staff and resuming free testing for Covid.
Several states and cities have already put in place stricter rules requiring the public to show Covid passes that have human vaccination status or if they have just recovered from the virus (also commonly known as “2G rules” as they refer to being vaccinated whether people. – “geimpft” in German – or reconstituted, “genesen”) for access to bars, restaurants and other public places such as cinemas or museums.
The last wave of Europe
Germany is not alone in witnessing a rapid increase in Covid cases with the onset of winter, when infections are on the rise in Europe as a whole, prompting many countries to tighten regulations.
Austria has reintroduced total isolation, in which citizens are asked to work from home, and nonessential shops are closed, while partial isolation in the Netherlands calls for bars and restaurants to close at 20:00 (among other rules) and will last until early December. although it could be extended.
Many countries are increasingly relying on Covid passes to keep leisure and business open, although critics say they divide societies along the line of vaccinations.
In recent weeks, Europe has been rocked by protests against the new restrictions. Demonstrations erupted in Brussels, Vienna, Rome and Amsterdam over the weekend.
The Covid crisis in the region has not gone unnoticed by the US, which only recently lifted an international travel ban that prohibited travel from 33 countries, including the UK and much of Europe. On Monday, the US State Department warned Americans not to travel to Germany because of the “very high level of Covid-19 in the country.”
The recommendation comes after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement that “avoid traveling to Germany. If you must travel to Germany, make sure you are fully vaccinated before traveling. “
“Due to the current situation in Germany, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19 variants,” the CDC warned. The same level of travel alerts applies in the UK, Austria, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Denmark and Norway among other European countries.