Another vaccine stock image

Germany could be following in the footsteps of Austria after outgoing chancellor, Angela Merkel, announced that vaccines could become mandatory in Germany from February, should the country’s Parliament, the Bundestag, approve the motion.

In addition, the country has introduced tough new restrictions on the unvaccinated, leading German media to dub the move as a “lockdown for the unvaccinated”.

Ms Merkel described the situation as “very serious”, and that an “act of national solidarity” was required to break the so-called fourth wave.

She said the Bundestag must vote on the proposed vaccine mandate, while the country’s ethics council will be issuing formal guidance by the end of the year. If the rule passes, it will come into force from February.

This also follows in Austria’s footsteps, which announced mandatory vaccines from February. Slightly further away, Greeze has also announced mandatory jabs for 60+ residents, with unvaccinated people facing fines if they fail to comply.

Germany’s new daily infections have broken records in recent weeks. Local media reports hospitals operating at capacity. Authorities registered 73,209 new COVID cases in the past 24 hours.

Health experts have laid blame at Germany’s relatively low vaccination rate for the harsh spike in cases, with around 68 per cent of the country having taken the jab. For comparison, Malta has around 94.4 per cent of its population fully vaccinated, while Spain and Portugal are hovering at around 79 and 86 per cent, respectively.

Lockdown for the unvaccinated

Unvaccinated people will be barred from non-essential shops and events, according to the new rules, unless they have recently recovered from COVID.

“Culture and leisure nationwide will be open only to those who have been vaccinated or recovered,” Outgoing chancellor Merkel said.

Discos and clubs will also be forced shut if case numbers reach above a pre-defined threshold.

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