German citizens could potentially face tighter coronavirus restrictions as the country struggles to contain a fierce fourth wave of the pandemic.
Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel and her likely successor Olaf Scholz held crisis talks with regional leaders on Thursday to chart a way forward, a statement from the Chancellor’s office said on Tuesday.
Stricter restrictions will likely be agreed – many of which are aimed at targeting unvaccinated people. The goal is to lower infection rates and ease the pressure on filling intensive care beds quickly.
Among the range of measures being considered are the closure of bars and clubs and the restriction of large events. Some hard-hit areas in Germany have already canceled Christmas markets and barred unvaccinated people from accessing public spaces like restaurants, gyms and recreation facilities.
German leaders are also expected to discuss mandatory vaccinations. Earlier this week, Scholz signaled his support for compulsory Covid-19 firing. The introduction of compulsory vaccines should be approved by Parliament.
Critical care warning: Germany recorded 446 deaths linked to Covid-19 on Wednesday – its highest number of daily deaths in nine months. Many hospitals are struggling to cope with the growing number of intensive care patients, and German doctors have warned that intensive care bed occupancy may soon exceed that seen during last winter’s peak.
The German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergencies (Divi) warned in a statement on Wednesday that there could be around 6,000 Covid-19 patients in intensive care by Christmas, regardless of the measures implemented by German leaders.
Germany has reported 73,209 new cases in the past 24 hours, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the country’s center for disease control.
More than 102,000 people have died from coronavirus in Germany, the RKI said. The country reported 388 new deaths linked to Covid-19 from Wednesday to Thursday.
Just under 70% of the German population is fully vaccinated, according to the RKI.