All Germans must get themselves vaccinated: Merkel

Published November 14, 2021
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a debate about the measures to battle Covid-19 at the parliament Bundestag in Berlin on Nov 11. — AP
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a debate about the measures to battle Covid-19 at the parliament Bundestag in Berlin on Nov 11. — AP

BERLIN: Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday called on all unvaccinated Germans to get their shots as quickly as possible as the country’s coronavirus infection rate hit the latest in a string of new highs and death numbers were growing.

“If we stand together, if we think about protecting ourselves and caring for others, we can save our country a lot this winter,” Merkel said in her weekly podcast.

Still, the chancellor warned that “these are very difficult weeks ahead of us”.

Germany’s disease control centre said that the country’s infection rate climbed 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 topped 50,000 for the first time.

Another 228 Covid-19 deaths brought Germany’s total in the pandemic so far to 97,617.

While the infection rate isn’t yet as high as in some other European countries, its relentless rise in Germany has set off alarm bells.

Outgoing Chancellor Merkel plans to meet with the country’s 16 state governors to coordinate nationwide measures next week, and parliament is mulling legislation that would provide a new legal framework for restrictions over the winter.

German magazine Der Spiegel reported that the army wants to mobilise up to 12,000 soldiers until Christmas to help out in overwhelmed hospitals, support vaccination and testing efforts in nursing homes, and aid health offices with contact tracing of infected people to contain the virus.

More than 10,000 soldiers of Germany’s Bundeswehr army have helped out in previous waves of the coronavirus pandemic, but the mobilisation underlines that the authorities expect the pandemic situation to get worse in coming weeks.

Already, several hospitals in the hard-hit eastern states of Saxony and Thuringia, as well as in Bavaria, have started transferring intensive care patients to other regions of the country because they are full, German news agency dpa reported. Planned surgeries have been postponed as well so medical staff can focus on Covid-19 patients again.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2021

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