Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany’s 16 state premiers were expected on Tuesday to step up the pressure on the nation’s unvaccinated to help avoid another lockdown ahead of next month’s national election, news wires reported.
The online meeting was also expected to reward the about 55% of the population who are fully vaccinated and the about 3.7 million who have recovered from the virus by easing coronavirus restrictions for them in the coming months. But certain exceptions such as wearing masks in public transport or in retail stores are likely to remain in force as the governments attempt to head off the threat of a continuing rise in new cases, deaths and hospitalisations.
Bavarian PM Markus Soeder warned ahead of the meeting that the nation was facing a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” saying the top priority was to prevent another lockdown. “Anyone who is vaccinated does not pose a danger, so it is constitutionally imperative to give them back their basic rights,” Soeder told Bavarian public radio. As a result, the chancellor and the premiers are likely to issue an appeal to the unvaccinated to help in the fight against the pandemic, which has been given fresh momentum in recent months by the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant.
Tuesday’s meeting is also likely to mandate that testing is required for all indoor catering and eating as well as accommodation adding to the pressure on the non-vaccinated to seek out immunization rather than face the need for endless testing. The vaccinated and those who have recovered will only to have to provide proof of their status, which is currently the case in most parts of Germany.
The German government’s agency for disease control and prevention, the Berlin-based Robert Koch Institute (RKI), released data in the run-up to Tuesday’s meeting showing 2,480 new cases being reported in the last 24 hours across the nation.