Germany is barring all unvaccinated people from moving around and going inside shops and bars. The de-facto lockdown for the unvaccinated was announced by the government on Thursday.
While the measure may be extreme, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reasoned that it was necessary given the recent surge in new COVID-19 cases across the nation. New infections recently topped 70,000 cases over the last 24 hours in Germany.
Merkel said the COVID-19 situation in Germany is now "serious," and she is calling on all Germans to do their part. Merkel called the de-facto lockdown a necessary measure to encourage an "act of national solidarity."
The number of cases in Germany is still shattering records, especially in the eastern regions. On Wednesday, the country had its biggest daily death toll in nine months, with 446 Covid-19-related deaths.
Many hospitals are straining to keep up with the rising number of patients requiring acute care. Regardless of any actions taken by Germany's politicians, some 6,000 Covid-19 patients might be in critical care by Christmas, according to the country's Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency.
To combat the further spread of the coronavirus, Merkel and her successor, Olaf Scholz, said Thursday that unvaccinated persons will be barred from entering all but the most critical businesses, such as supermarkets and pharmacies. The prohibition does not apply to those who have recently recovered from Covid-19.
Unvaccinated persons are only allowed to meet two people from another home under the new rules. In places where the infection rates exceed 350 cases per 100,000 persons per week, bars and nightclubs are being ordered to close down. In addition, the government would restrict the number of people who may attend big events such as soccer matches.
Apart from the restrictions imposed on the unvaccinated, Germany is also looking into enforcing a general vaccination mandate, which is expected to be implemented as early as February if lawmakers approve the measure.
If passed, Germany's vaccine mandate would follow Austria's footsteps, which aims to make inoculations for eligible people mandatory beginning in February.
Greece already declared that beginning in mid-January, vaccines would be required for individuals over the age of 60. Those who refuse to comply will be fined 100 euros ($113) every month.
Mask mandates for schools are currently in force throughout Germany, and there are still limits to private gatherings, even for those who are already fully vaccinated. Government data shows that about 68% of the German population are now fully vaccinated, still well below the minimum 75% officials were aiming for before the year ends.