Merkel blocks German isolation as death toll tops 100,000

BERLIN, GERMANY – SEPTEMBER 22: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) talks to Vice Chancellor and Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.

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The Covid-19 crisis in Germany continues to shake the country with gloomy news on Thursday that the total number of deaths has exceeded 100,000.

However, the country’s new coalition government has so far resisted isolation.

Germany reported a huge number of new Covid cases on Thursday. with over 75,000 new infections in the past 24 hours (and up from 66,884 on Wednesday), while the death toll has now reached 100,119 after another 351 people died from the virus the previous day.

Government officials have been following the rise in cases with dismay for weeks now, and the country’s outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly pushed for two weeks of isolation during a meeting on Tuesday with the country’s new coalition government.

According to the Bild newspaper, a new government alliance of left-wing Social Democrats and pro-business Green and Free Democrats has opposed the idea, preferring instead to wait and see if tougher Covid restrictions announced last week work to help reduce infections.

While Merkel proposed to begin isolation on Thursday, causing shops, bars and restaurants to be closed, the new government rejected the idea, saying it would be interpreted by the public as a “bad political trick” by the government. old and new government, Bild reported on Wednesday

Mandatory vaccination

(Left to right) Christian Lindner of the German Free Democrats (FDP), Olaf Scholz of the German Social Democrats (SPD, Annalene Baerbock and Robert Habeck of the Green Party) pose after the presentation of the mutually agreed coalition agreement to the media. November 24, 2021 in Berlin. Germany.

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After the coalition deal and its political ambitions were announced on Wednesday, Scholz made it clear that the Covid crisis is the government’s immediate priority. He began the press conference by announcing the coalition agreement by saying that the virus situation in Germany is serious and that the country will expand its vaccination campaign to include mandatory vaccines for some people.

“Vaccination is the way out of this pandemic. In institutions that care for vulnerable groups, we must make vaccination mandatory, ”Scholz said, without specifying details.

Meanwhile, new finance minister Christian Lindner said the Germans should avoid all unnecessary contact this winter “in order to keep all our health in this pandemic.”

Germany has already tightened Covid rules amid the country’s latest fourth wave of cases.

Many German states have already restricted access to public places such as bars, restaurants, cinemas and museums in accordance with the “2G rules”, restricting access only to those who have been vaccinated (“geimpft” in German – or recovered, “genesen” ). A number of major German Christmas markets that have not been canceled this year have also adopted 2G rules.

New measures went into effect on Wednesday, introducing ‘3G’ rules for public transport and everyone entering the workplace, meaning more public spaces are restricted to vaccinated, recently recovered, or those who have tested negative (‘getestet “). ).

If Germany opts for compulsory vaccination in some countries, it will not be the first country. The UK, France and Italy are among the countries that have adopted (or are introducing) mandatory vaccinations for certain sectors, such as healthcare workers or home workers.

However, compulsory vaccination is a complex issue and has many ethical considerations, and in Germany, as in other countries, resistance to this step can be expected.

More details: Are Covid Vaccine Requirements Ethical? Here’s what medical experts think

Germany has tried to stimulate voluntary Covid vaccination among its population, but it also has one of the lowest Covid vaccination rates in Western Europe, with 68.1% of its population fully vaccinated.

Uncertainty about vaccinations, the approaching winter season and the spread of a highly infectious variant of Delta-Covid, which is far more dangerous than previous strains, this time significantly complicates the containment of the virus for Germany, a country widely recognized for its initial fight against the virus. pandemic.

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