Lockdown returns for unvaccinated people across Germany

People who haven’t been vaccinated in Germany are going to be banned from going into certain shops, bars and attending events as part of tough new Covid rules.

The country’s leaders are also going to debate whether to force people to get the vaccine from early next year, after neighbours Austria enacted a similar policy.

Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that people who aren’t vaccinated will be excluded from non-essential stores as well as cultural and recreational venues.

It effectively means a return to lockdown for who haven’t had their jabs as much of daily life will be off limits.

It comes as Germany’s new daily coronavirus infections again topped 70,000 cases in the latest 24-hour period.

‘The situation is our country is serious,’ Merkel told reporters in Berlin, calling the measures an ‘act of national solidarity.’

New limits on private meetings, compulsory mask-wearing in schools and a target of 30 million vaccinations by the end of the year have also been agreed by officials.

Countries across Europe are reintroducing restrictions in part because of the spread of the Omicron variant, which could be more resistant to vaccines.

But Covid cases were soaring anyway across the continent in the weeks before the new strain was detected.

Scientists in Germany have been warning in recent weeks that medical services across the country could become overstretched unless drastic action is taken.

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

About 68.7% of the population in Germany is fully vaccinated, far below the Government’s minimum of 75%.

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