This Thursday, Germany decided to impose drastic measures for people not vaccinated against COVID-19, to try to contain a virulent fourth wave of infections, as consensus on mandatory vaccination grows.
Future Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that “the situation is very, very complicated”, after a meeting with the leader of the outgoing government, Angela Merkel, and the leaders of the 16 regions of the country.
While the numbers have stabilized in recent days, they remain alarming, with tens of thousands of new cases every day and many hospitals on the brink of saturation.
To deal with the infections, the authorities decided to apply harsh restrictions to unvaccinated people, who they represent about a third of the population.
No fireworks, for those not vaccinated against COVID-19
“We are going to organize cultural and leisure activities throughout Germany, but only for people vaccinated or recovered” from COVID-19, said Angela Merkel, who leaves power on December 8 after 16 years in command of the country.
This rule called “2G”, in reference to vaccinated or recovered people, “It will also be extended to retail trade, with the exception of basic product stores,” said the chancellor.
These drastic restrictions on access to social life for the unvaccinated have been described by various political leaders as a “confinement” for those who have not been inoculated against COVID-19.
Unvaccinated people have already been subjected to several weeks restrictions on your access to public roads, but the rules vary and do not cover all the regions that make up the country.
To avoid crowds during the end of the year holidays, the government and the regions also firecrackers and fireworks were banned, very popular with Germans.
Nightclubs, clubs and bars must close if the barrier of 350 cases is broken, a level that has already been exceeded in most regions.
Now, using mask will be mandatory again in the schools of the country.
These measures seek to improve the situation in the coming weeks, before a vote on the mandatory nature of vaccines.
This measure has already been adopted by neighboring Austria, where it could enter into force in February, after the Ethics Council pronounces, and the Parliament votes.
Public opinion evolved significantly on this issue. Last summer, two-thirds of Germans were against mandatory vaccines, now 64% are in favor, according to a poll by RTL and ntv.
On the streets of Berlin, the mandatory vaccination has a rather favorable reception.
“At first, I always think that forcing is delicate. But I think that we are already so sunk in the pandemic that there is no other way “ to do so, Clara explained to AFPTV.
“From the beginning it would have been a good idea,” agreed Alicia Münch.
“Threatening and serious”, obligation of vaccine against COVID-19
The measure convinces the two coalition partners of the Social Democrats (the Greens and the Liberals who are habitually averse to cutting freedoms), but also Angela Merkel’s conservatives, currently in opposition.
Only the far-right AfD party is opposed and has launched a campaign with the slogan “Compulsory vaccination? No thanks!”
The context is complicated by the current transition period in Germany, between the departure of Angela Merkel who will give a farewell speech on Thursday and the entry of Scholz, whose parliamentary election will not be given until next week.
The restrictions promoted by the new coalition must show, according to the future chancellor, that “There is no power vacuum, as some believe at the moment.”
Meanwhile, the Bundesliga must impose a limit to the number of spectators in the stadiums, thus avoiding returning to the matches played with closed venues.
“From the point of view of intensive and emergency medicine, the situation of the pandemic was never as threatening and serious as it is now,” the German Association of Intensive Care Medicine was alarmed, which calls for a partial confinement of the population.
The German authorities are also criticized by the bottlenecks in access to vaccination and problems getting medical appointments. Pharmacies will be mobilized to expand distribution.