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Germany to impose restrictions on unvaccinated to break Covid surge.

Germany is expected to impose restrictions on the unvaccinated on Thursday as it seeks to break a dramatic surge in daily coronavirus infections exacerbated by the discovery of the Omicron strain.

Outgoing German chancellor Angela Merkel and her successor, Olaf Scholz, will discuss with leaders of Germany’s 16 states restricting the unvaccinated from access to all but the most essential businesses, such as grocery stores, pharmacies and bakeries.

Eager to avoid lockdowns that could derail a fragile recovery of Europe’s biggest economy, they are expected to keep businesses open to the almost 69 per cent of the population that is fully vaccinated as well as those who have recovered from coronavirus.

Virologists have blamed the fourth wave, which risks overwhelming intensive care units and on Thursday resulted in more than 73,000 new infections and 388 deaths in Germany, on resistance to vaccination by a large section of society. They have also criticised politicians for acting too late.

Germany’s vaccination rate at just less than 70 per cent is around the European Union average but lower than countries such as Ireland and Portugal.

Making vaccination compulsory and restricting the number of people at large events such as soccer matches are among the measures to be discussed.

There have been signs the curve is starting to flatten. The seven-day incidence among 100,000 residents fell for the third consecutive day to 439.2.

Taming the virus will be a top priority for Mr Scholz, whose Social Democrats will govern with the progressive Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats.

Mr Scholz has said he wants the Bundestag lower house to vote on making vaccination compulsory and that he would vote for the proposal.

Ms Merkel will bow out after 16 years with a military tattoo at the chancellery on Thursday and will officially hand over to Mr Scholz next week. – Reuters

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