Merkel calls on everyone to get an injection to avoid the bad winter virus
Berlin – German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday called on all unvaccinated Germans to get vaccinated as soon as possible as the country’s coronavirus infection rate reached the latest in a series of new highs and death tolls rising.
“If we stand together, if we think about protecting ourselves and taking care of others, we can greatly save our country this winter,” Merkel said on her weekly podcast.
However, the chancellor warned that “these are very difficult weeks ahead.”
Germany’s CDC said the country’s infection rate rose to 277.4 new cases per 100,000 residents over seven days, up from 263.7 the previous day.
The Robert Koch Institute reported 45,081 new infections, two days after the daily total crossed 50,000 for the first time.
Another 228 deaths from COVID-19 brought Germany’s total in the pandemic so far to 97,617.
While the infection rate is not yet as high as in some other European countries, its continued rise in Germany has set off alarm bells. Outgoing Chancellor Merkel plans to meet with the country’s 16 state governors to coordinate actions nationwide next week, and parliament is considering legislation that would provide a new legal framework for the restrictions during the winter.
German magazine Der Spiegel reports that the military wants to mobilize up to 12,000 soldiers until Christmas to help overcrowded hospitals, support vaccination and testing efforts in nursing homes, and help health offices with contact tracing to contain the virus.
Merkel expressed concern about the high number of intensive care patients and the high death toll – especially in regions with low vaccination rates.
“Think about it again,” Merkel told those who still hadn’t jabed. “We just need to grab it, grab it fast.”
“I ask you: join us, and try to impress relatives and friends as well,” she added.
The chancellor also called on those who have already been vaccinated to get a booster dose against COVID-19.
Merkel said the booster vaccines are “a real opportunity to break the severe autumn-winter wave of the epidemic.”
Germany has struggled to add new impetus to its vaccination campaign recently, with just over two-thirds of the population vaccinated. I have so far refused to request vaccine mandates for any professional group.
Children under the age of 12, who cannot get the vaccine in Germany, are among the hardest hit.
The head of the German teachers’ union warned on Saturday that local health offices were struggling to maintain control amid outbreaks of the disease in schools across the country.
“The reality is that we are already on the verge of losing control in some of the hot spots,” Heinz-Peter Medinger told the weekly Welt am Sonntag. “We no longer know how to contain outbreaks of infection in schools.”
Also on Saturday, the government started offering free rapid COVID-19 tests again. It was canceled a month ago in an effort to persuade more people to get vaccinated.
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