Germany's acting health minister Jens Spahn attends a news conference on Germany's coronavirus disease situation in Berlin, Germany, on November 22 2021. Picture: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN MANG
Germany's acting health minister Jens Spahn attends a news conference on Germany's coronavirus disease situation in Berlin, Germany, on November 22 2021. Picture: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN MANG

Berlin — Health minister Jens Spahn on Tuesday called for further restrictions as Germany’s rate of coronavirus infections hit a record high and more politicians backed compulsory vaccinations.

The seven-day incidence rate jumped to 399.8 per 100,000 people on Tuesday, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed, the 16th straight day it has hit a record level.

As the number of Covid-19 deaths in Germany nears 100,000, the US advised on Monday against travel there.

Spahn said more public spaces should be restricted to those who were vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid-19 and also had a negative test.

“We are having to move patients around as intensive care units are full and that doesn't just affect Covid-19 patients,” he told Deutschlandfunk radio.

On Monday, Spahn said that by the end of the winter almost everyone in Germany would be “vaccinated, recovered or dead”.

Neighbouring Austria has reimposed a full lockdown in response to to surging caseloads. Spahn has not ruled out similar steps in Germany, though he said on Tuesday that would be decided region by region.

Jens Spahn reiterates a warning that the government can’t exclude any measures, including another lockdown, as it tries to check the latest wave of Covid-19 infections.

Many Christmas markets have been cancelled, especially in the hard-hit regions of Bavaria and Saxony. The eastern state of Brandenburg decided that children no longer have to go to school and is starting its Christmas holidays three days early.

The force of the pandemic’s fourth wave has prompted more politicians to back compulsory vaccinations, a divisive topic that is likely to face Germany’s new government. Only 68% of the population are fully vaccinated.

About 7.3% of citizens have had a booster and while long queues have formed in many places for a third shot, Spahn has tried to allay concerns about supply.

“Compulsory vaccination is not a violation of civil liberties, but the prerequisite for us to regain our freedom,” the premiers of the southern states of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg wrote in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily.

The ALM association of medical laboratories said capacity for PCR testing was reaching its limits with nationwide utilisation at 86%, up from 75% in the previous week, while the number of positive PCR tests had jumped by 31%.

Reuters

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