German nationals could potentially face tougher coronavirus restrictions as the country struggles to curb a violent fourth wave of the pandemic.
Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel and her likely successor, Olaf Scholz, are holding crisis talks with regional leaders on Thursday to map out a way forward, a statement from the chancellor’s office said on Tuesday.
Stricter restrictions are likely to be agreed – many of which are aimed at unvaccinated people. The goal is to reduce the rate of infection and ease the pressure to quickly fill intensive care beds.
Among the range of measures being considered are the closure of bars and clubs and the restriction of major events. Some hard-hit regions of Germany have already canceled Christmas markets and excluded unvaccinated people from public spaces such as restaurants, fitness centers and leisure facilities.
Germany’s leaders must also discuss mandatory vaccinations. Earlier this week, Scholz signaled his support for mandatory Covid-19 shots. The introduction of compulsory vaccines must be approved by Parliament.
Intensive care warning: On Wednesday, Germany recorded 446 Covid-19-related deaths – the 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 the occupancy of intensive care beds may soon exceed what was 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 before Christmas – regardless of any measures implemented by German leaders.
Germany reported 73,209 new cases within the last 24 hours, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the country’s disease control center.
More than 102,000 people have died from coronavirus in Germany, RKI said. The country reported 388 new deaths related to Covid-19 from Wednesday to Thursday.
Almost 70% of Germany’s population is fully vaccinated according to RKI.