Germany announces lockdown for unvaccinated people amid new Omicron variant

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that people who aren’t vaccinated will be excluded from nonessential stores, as well as cultural and recreational venues.

Angela Merkel and her successor, Olaf Scholz also backed proposals for mandatory vaccinations, which if voted through the parliament could take effect from February at the earliest.  Those who have recently recovered from COVID are not affected by the ban.

“We have understood that the situation is very serious and that we want to take further measures in addition to those already taken,” Merkel told reporters at Thursday’s news conference. “The fourth wave must be broken and this has not yet been achieved,” she added.

If this measure is approved, it would mirror Austria’s plan. Austria also plans to make inoculations for eligible adults compulsory from February.

Greece announced that vaccines would be mandatory for people aged over 60 from mid-January. Those refusing to do so would face 100 euros (US $113) fines for each passing month, the government said Tuesday.

European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it was time to “potentially think about mandatory vaccination” within the bloc. “Two or three years ago, I would never have thought to witness what we see right now, that we have this horrible pandemic, we have the vaccines, the life-saving vaccines, but they are not being used adequately everywhere,” von der Leyen told a press briefing Wednesday.

“How we can encourage and potentially think about mandatory vaccination within the European Union, this needs discussion. This needs a common approach but it is a discussion that I think has to be led,” she added. At the time of writing, 68.4% of German citizens are fully vaccinated.

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