Germany pushes for vaccine mandate – will the UK follow Angela Merkel’s lockdown plan?

Germany: Expert suggests lockdown as Covid cases surge

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Germany is currently in the midst of one of the highest surges in Covid cases seen anywhere across the world. Today, the country has announced a raft of new restrictions which will specifically target those who have yet to take up the offer of a vaccine. Here, takes a look at exactly what Germany has announced and whether the UK would employ a similar strategy?

Earlier today Germany announced a new set of Covid restrictions for people who are not yet fully vaccinated against Covid.

Under the new rules unvaccinated people will not be able to enter non-essential shops, restaurants or places of culture or leisure.

The measures were agreed after a meeting between outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, her successor Olaf Scholz and the leaders of the country’s 16 regions.

A draft law on mandatory vaccination has also been agreed to be submitted to the German parliament for entry into force in February or March.

Around 68.7 percent of the German population is fully vaccinated, which is significantly below the 75 percent minimum target that ministers are aiming for.

Ms Merkel told reporters in Berlin that the measures are an “act of national solidarity”.

She said that “the situation in our country is serious”, adding that she was “depressed” by the strength of the fourth wave of infections that Germany is facing.

In addition, to the restrictions aimed at the unvaccinated, masks will be required to be worn in schools and new limits will be imposed on private meetings.

In the last 24-hour period, Germany recorded more than 70,000 new cases, whilst the Robert Koch Institute – Germany’s public health body – reported a further 388 deaths.

Germany has now recorded 102,178 deaths linked to Covid since the pandemic began – the fifth highest in Europe.

Ms Merkel is likely to have left her position as Chancellor by February, and thus the topic of mandatory jabs will need to be debated in the Bundestag, following guidance from Germany’s Ethics Council.

She has said she will vote for the mandate if she is still in Parliament at that point.

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Mr Scholz, Germany’s Finance Minister, is expected to be appointed as Ms Merkel’s successor next week and has already said that he will support the idea.

He said: “If we had a higher vaccination rate, we wouldn’t be discussing this now.”

Ms Merkel has been German Chancellor for the past 16 years, but is poised to be replaced by Mr Scholz and his centre-left coalition government.

Will the UK introduce similar measures?

Although Germany has decided to impose these measures, it is highly unlikely that the UK will follow suit.

Currently, the UK has far higher levels of fully vaccinated civilians in comparison with Germany.

According to government figures, the UK currently has vaccine uptakes of 88.7 percent for the first jab and 80.7 percent for the second dose.

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