The Irish Times

The Irish Times online. Latest news including sport, analysis, business, weather and more from the definitive brand of quality news in Ireland.

https://www.irishtimes.com/

Germany considers mandatory Covid vaccinations as new curbs announced.

German chancellor Angela Merkel has said that people who are not vaccinated will be excluded from non-essential shops, cultural and recreational venues, and that parliament will consider a general vaccine mandate, as part of efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus.

She made the announcement as more than 70,000 newly confirmed infections were reported in the country in a 24-hour period.

Speaking after a meeting with federal and state leaders, Dr Merkel said the measures were necessary in light of concerns that hospitals in Germany could become overloaded with people suffering Covid-19 infections, which were more likely to be serious in those who had not been vaccinated.

“The situation in our country is serious,” Dr Merkel told reporters in Berlin, calling the measure an “act of national solidarity”.

She said officials had also agreed to require masks in schools, impose new limits on private meetings and aim for 30 million vaccinations by the end of the year.

Dr Merkel also said that parliament would debate the possibility of imposing a general vaccine mandate that would come into force as early as February.

About 68.7 per cent of the population in Germany is fully vaccinated, below the minimum of 75 per cent the government is aiming for.

Finance minister Olaf Scholz, who is expected to be elected chancellor by a centre-left coalition next week, said on Tuesday that he backed a general vaccine mandate, but favoured letting politicians vote according to their personal conscience rather than along party lines on the matter.

The rise in Covid-19 cases over the past several weeks and the arrival of the new Omicron variant have prompted warnings from scientists and doctors that medical services in the country could become overstretched in the coming weeks unless drastic action is taken.

Some hospitals in the south and east of the country have already transferred patients to other parts of Germany because of a shortage of intensive care beds.

Agreeing what measures to take has been complicated by Germany’s political structure – with the 16 states responsible for many of the regulations — and the ongoing transition at the federal level.

Germany’s disease control agency reported 73,209 newly confirmed cases on Thursday.

The Robert Koch Institute also reported 388 new deaths from Covid-19, taking the total since the start of the pandemic to 102,178. – AP

White House avoids questions on soft-on-crime policies.

White House avoids questions on soft-on-crime policies.

'The Five' panelists weigh in on the White House's refusal to weigh in on radical district attorneys. #FoxNews #TheFive Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompas...

Demand for Peloton bikes, treadmills fall

Demand for Peloton bikes, treadmills fall

The CEO of Peloton denied a report that the company was idling factories.

1 31

Ukraine crisis: UK says Russia has 'not learnt lesson' as UK warns against conflict.

Ukraine crisis: UK says Russia has 'not learnt lesson' as UK warns against conflict.

RUSSIA is set to encircle Europe with massive war games alongside China and Iran as fears grow over a possible invasion of Ukraine. Putin plans to hold naval drills in the Atlantic, Arctic, Mediterranean and the Pacific this month, Moscow's Minist...

Growing Cities Struggle To Keep Up With Housing Shortage.

Growing Cities Struggle To Keep Up With Housing Shortage.

Home prices have skyrocketed during the pandemic while supply chains and labor issues have crippled contractors, leading to a nationwide housing shortage. NBC News’ Guad Venegas reports from Reno, Nevada, a booming town struggling to keep up with ...

Meat Loaf, ‘Bat Out of Hell’ singer, has died at 74.

Meat Loaf, ‘Bat Out of Hell’ singer, has died at 74.

Meat Loaf, the larger-than-life singer whose 1977 record "Bat Out of Hell" is one of the best-selling albums of all time, has died at age 74, according to a statement on his verified Facebook page. #CNN #News

How are kids holding up in the coronavirus pandemic? - COVID-19 Special.

How are kids holding up in the coronavirus pandemic? - COVID-19 Special.

The closure of daycare centers and schools during coronavirus lockdowns has led to many children experiencing psychological issues and falling behind. A new study indicates there is no need to close daycare centers, but opening schools remains con...