German disease control head warns of ‘terrible Christmas’

Published November 19, 2021
MUNICH: People queue near a vaccination bus parked in a village near Munich, southern Germany, on Thursday.—AFP
MUNICH: People queue near a vaccination bus parked in a village near Munich, southern Germany, on Thursday.—AFP

BERLIN: The head of Germany’s disease control agency has warned that the country faces a really terrible Christmas unless steps are taken to counter the sharp rise in coronavirus infections.

German lawmakers are debating measures on Thursday that would replace the nationwide epidemic rules, which will expire at the end of the month.

The Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s disease control agency, said that 65,371 newly confirmed cases had been reported in a single day, continuing the upward trend that experts have been warning about for weeks.

"We are currently heading toward a serious emergency," the agency’s director, Lothar Wieler, said. "We are going to have a really terrible Christmas if we don’t take countermeasures now."

Wieler said Germany needs to increase its vaccination rates to significantly above 75pc, from 67.7pc at present. Some regions in Germany have vaccination rates as low as 57.6pc.

He also called for the closure of clubs and bars, an end to large-scale events and access to many parts of public life to be limited to those with vaccine or recovery certificates.

Wieler warned that hospitals across Germany are struggling to find beds for Covid-19 patients and those with other illnesses.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2021

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