Germany to introduce tougher restrictions on unvaccinated amid COVID surge

Robert Koch Institute reports 73,209 new infections, 388 deaths over past 24 hours.

Germany to introduce tougher restrictions on unvaccinated amid COVID surge

Germany’s federal and state governments are discussing tougher coronavirus restrictions on Thursday, as the country battles a severe fourth wave of the pandemic.

Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel and her likely successor Olaf Scholz are holding a videoconference meeting with premiers of federal states to agree on new measures, which include stricter rules against unvaccinated people.

According to public broadcaster ARD, the government’s draft foresees the nationwide application of the “2G rule”, allowing only vaccinated and recovered people to have access to shops, restaurants, cinemas, and cultural or sports events.

For some cultural and sports events, the “2G plus” rule will apply, meaning that organizers will ask for a negative test from all, including customers who were vaccinated or recovered.

The draft also includes tougher measures to reduce physical and social contact to contain the spread of the virus.

People from the same household will be able to meet with a maximum of two people from another household if any one of them is not vaccinated, according to the proposed measures.

Germany saw a rapid increase in coronavirus infections in recent weeks, as people spend more time indoors during the colder months and a large part of the population remains unvaccinated.

The Robert Koch Institute, the country's disease control agency, confirmed 73,209 new infections on Thursday, and 388 coronavirus-related fatalities in the last 24 hours.

According to the institute, more than 895,000 individuals are still sick due to COVID-19, an alarming figure not seen in the previous three waves of the pandemic.

The German government’s goal has been to vaccinate at least 75% of the population to prevent an exponential rise in new infections during the colder winter months.

But as of Thursday, 57.1 million people, or 68.7% of the population, have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Germany's overall vaccination rate lags behind many other EU members, including Portugal, Spain, Denmark, and Malta.

Hüseyin Demir