Senior doctor Thomas Marx puts on his personal protective gear (PPE) before he enters the room of a patient infected with the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in an intensive care unit (ICU) at the hospital in Freising, southern Germany.
LENNART PREISS | AFP | Getty Images
Germany is set to decide on tougher Covid-19 restrictions and could even opt for a full lockdown amid record daily infections and mounting pressure on hospitals.
Olaf Scholz,, said Wednesday that the Covid situation was serious and that the country would massively push its vaccination campaign, noting that “vaccination is the way out of this pandemic.”
Scholz said Germany “should make vaccination compulsory for certain groups,” without stating which groups, while new Finance Minister Christian Lindner stated that Germans should avoid all unnecessary contact this winter “to preserve all of our health in this pandemic.”
That Scholz chose to address the Covid crisis as he and his new government colleagues announced a draft coalition deal on Wednesday shows where the officials’ immediate priorities lie.
Austria has already announced it will make Covid vaccines compulsory from Feb.1 next year (it has also just introduced a full lockdown) and a number of countries (such as Italy and France) have made Covid vaccines mandatory for frontline health workers. The U.K. will follow suit in spring 2022.
German states have called for mandatory vaccinations for medical workers and health care staff, and the idea is being considered by the federal government, which had previously ruled out compulsory vaccination.
That some lawmakers are now calling for compulsory vaccination shows the current level of concern in Germany at the Covid crisis.
“We’ve reached a point at which we must clearly say that we need de facto compulsory vaccination and a lockdown for the unvaccinated,” Tilman Kuban, head of the youth wing of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union,, noting that 90% of coronavirus patients in German intensive care beds are unvaccinated.
The unvaccinated, Kuban said, were bringing Germany “to the brink of desperation” adding that “it cannot be that the entire population is locked away every winter.”