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Germany lockdown: country introduces nationwide restrictions for unvaccinated citizens as Covid cases soar

Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel said vaccines will be mandatory for everyone from February 2022

<p>Outgoing German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and her likely replacement Olaf Scholz have announced a new nationwide lockdown for all unvaccinated German citizens. (Credit: Getty)</p>

Outgoing German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and her likely replacement Olaf Scholz have announced a new nationwide lockdown for all unvaccinated German citizens. (Credit: Getty)

Germany has imposed a nationwide lockdown for unvaccinated residents, Angela Merkel announced on 2 December.

The country will be put into partial lockdown amid fears of rapidly rising Covid-19 cases and the new Omicron variant.

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Alongside the announcement of the lockdown, the German Government also warned that vaccines may become mandatory for all citizens going forward.

At a glance: 5 key points

  • Germany has announced that a lockdown is now in force for all unvaccinated citizens
  • Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Olaf Scholz, who is expected to take over the post, made the decision after crisis talks with regional leaders 
  • Those unvaccinated by choice will be banned from accessing non-essential businesses, such as retail shops, bars and restaurants
  • Unvaccinated people will only be able to access essential shops such as supermarkets and pharmacies
  • Merkel and Scholz also gave their backing for plans to make vaccinations mandatory for the German public

What are the new rules in Germany?

Announced on Thursday (2 December), all unvaccinated residents will be under a strict lockdown.

They will not be able to visit businesses such as clothes stores, bars, pubs and restaurants.

They will only be able to visit essential businesses such as supermarkets and chemists.

Unvaccinated people will also only be able to meet with two other people outside their household.

The number of people allowed at large-scale events such as football matches will be capped at 15,000, and bars and nightclubs in areas with a case incidence rate above 350 per 100,000.

Vaccinated citizens will be able to visit all businesses as normal.

Why has Germany introduced a lockdown for unvaccinated people?

The new partial lockdown comes amid rising fears over soaring Covid-19 cases.

Germany has seen a huge increase in cases, with 73,000 new Covid-19 cases and 388 deaths on Thursday 2 December alone.

Germany also has a lower vaccination rate than countries such as France or the UK, with 70% of the public vaccinated.

Merkel described the measures as an “act of national solidarity”, which are required to “get the infection rate down and take the pressure off our health system.”

She added: “The number of infections has stabilised but on a far too high level.”

Are vaccines in Germany mandatory?

Vaccines in Germany are currently not mandatory.

However, Merkel and Scholz voiced their backing to make vaccines mandatory, with Germany trailing behind their European counterparts with vaccination rates.

The plans have not been passed in parliament yet, however Merkel has said that a mandate could be imposed in the country from February 2022.

Merkel said: "The fourth wave must be broken and this has not yet been achieved.

"Given the situation, I think it is appropriate to adopt compulsory vaccination."

Can I travel to Germany from the UK?

Those travelling to Germany from the UK can travel for any purpose if they are fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated people may only enter the country if they are a German citizen or are a spouse, partner or child under 18 of a German citizen, or if they reside in Germany or are a spouse, partner or child under 18 of someone who resides in Germany.

They may also enter if they “serve an important role” or have “an urgent need to travel”.

Unvaccinated travellers who arrive in Germany will be expected to follow the new lockdown rules for which have just come into effect.

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