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Germany may join Austria in announcing nationwide lockdown due to rise in COVID-19 cases

Germany agrees tougher curbs on unvaccinated to curb Covid surge
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (2nd L). The Chancellor met with the regional leaders to discuss the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. - Copyright AFP/File Arif ALI
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (2nd L). The Chancellor met with the regional leaders to discuss the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. - Copyright AFP/File Arif ALI

The coronavirus situation in Germany is now so grave that a lockdown, including people who have been vaccinated, cannot be ruled out, the health minister has said today.

The move comes as Austria said it would go back into full lockdown from Monday, reports The Guardian. Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the situation “dramatic”, saying the fourth wave was “hitting our country with full force.”

In Austria, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said Austria’s lockdown would last a maximum of 20 days and there would be a legal requirement to get vaccinated from 1 February 2022.

“We are now in a situation – even if this produces a news alert – where we can’t rule anything out,” Jens Spahn told a news conference. He said Germany was now in a “national emergency.”

Stocks, euro retreat on Austria Covid lockdown
Austria is going under lockdown and plans to make Covid vaccination mandatory from February. – Copyright AFP MANDEL NGAN

German leaders have already agreed to introduce restrictions for unvaccinated people in areas with high hospital admissions, according to The BBC. And parliament has backed requirements for people to show Covid passes on buses and trains, and in workplaces.

Germany reported a further 52,970 coronavirus cases and 201 deaths on Friday, bringing total deaths to 98,739.

In the United Kingdom, a further 44,242 Covid cases and 157 deaths within 28 days of a positive test have been recorded, according to the latest data from the government’s coronavirus dashboard. That compares to 46,807 infections and 199 fatalities in the 24 hours prior.

But COVID cases are surging in many other European countries, including Croatia, Hungary, and Slovakia, where new infections are at record-breaking levels.

The New York Times is reporting that Europe’s difficulties reflect the “painful reality” that high levels of vaccination “have not been enough to prevent a surge of infections as winter sets in and more people remain indoors.”

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We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend Karen Graham, who served as Editor-at-Large at Digital Journal. She was 78 years old. Karen's view of what is happening in our world was colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in humankind's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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