On the eve of a crisis conference with regional leaders, Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed Germany is in the throes of a “dramatic” fourth Covid wave.
On Wednesday, daily infections in Germany reached a new high of 52,826 as European governments responded to a spike throughout most of the continent.
“It’s not too late to obtain a first immunization,” Mrs Merkel said, advocating for a more aggressive booster vaccination campaign.
The Netherlands, which is now under partial lockdown, has also recorded a high number of cases.
On Monday, Austria ordered a lockdown on an estimated two million unvaccinated individuals, and other European countries are considering similar measures.
Sweden is implementing a Covid vaccination permit for concerts and other indoor events involving more than 100 people for the first time on December 1st. “You who are unvaccinated cannot just go about your business as usual; your most essential contribution is to be vaccinated,” said Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren, who acknowledged that the policy was harsh but insisted that Sweden was not isolated from the rest of the world.
Anyone who has not been vaccinated (or who can demonstrate they have recovered from Covid-19) will be barred from attending public events or services, according to Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis. Negative tests would no longer be sufficient as of Monday.
Workplaces and non-essential stores will be accessible only to vaccinated workers or persons who can prove they have recovered, according to Prime Minister Eduard Heger of neighboring Slovakia, which recorded a record 8,342 cases on Wednesday.
Vaccination rates differ from country to country. The Slovak rate of adoption is among the lowest in the EU, at 44 percent, compared to 58 percent in the Czech Republic, 65 percent in Austria, and 68 percent in Germany.
Both Germany and Austria have reported long lines at vaccination centers, yet their immunization rates are among the lowest in Western Europe.
Austria similarly has a far higher incidence rate than Germany, with 971.5 instances per 100,000 people.
In addition to the vaccination ban, some Austrian politicians are advocating for further restrictions, such as a possible nighttime curfew.
Despite the fact that Germany’s total death toll is significantly lower than the UK’s, 294 people have died in the last 24 hours, prompting Mrs Merkel to declare an emergency, with critical care beds at a premium in hospitals. On Wednesday, the UK announced another 201 fatalities and 38,263 infections within 28 days after testing positive for Covid.
Most businesses, including pubs, cafés, hairdressers, and gyms, are now restricted to vaccinated persons in several German districts.
The political scenario is compounded by the fact that the departing Merkel administration will be replaced by a coalition of Social Democrats, Greens, and pro-business liberals, who want to bring planned Covid legislation to parliament on Thursday.
According to government spokesman Gabriel Attal, France is being hit by a sixth wave of Covid. However, there are no intentions beyond the present Covid passport since “due to the immunizations and the health pass, we are coping better than we were previously.”
He said that France was light years ahead of where it was a year ago, and that anyone aged 50 to 64 could now schedule a third Covid inoculation.