Covid cases are soaring across Europe, with Germany’s Health Minister warning levels are becoming dangerous. The latest data shows 46,558 infections are reported in the country each day, with a rate of 392 infections per 100,000.
Concerns are mounting about the impact a lockdown would have on the economy, especially with neighbouring Austria reinstating lockdown as of Monday, November 22.
Health Minister for Germany Jens Spahn has declared the situation a national emergency and has warned vaccinations alone won’t cut case numbers.
On Friday, Germany reported 52,970 new coronavirus cases and 201 deaths.
This brought total deaths to 98,739, and Chancellor Angela Merkel warned hospitals were becoming dangerously full.
Tighter restrictions are poised to be imposed on unvaccinated Germans, however.
Vaccination rates currently stand at 67.7 percent of the population, a figure experts are hoping will rise to above 75 percent.
In some areas, vaccination rates are lower still, at 57.6 percent.
Across Germany, many areas will restrict access to public areas like restaurants and concert halls.
On Thursday the Bundestag voted in favour of new restrictions to try and tackle the rise in Covid cases.
Lothar Wieler, director of the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s disease control agency said: “We are currently heading toward a serious emergency.
“We are going to have a really terrible Christmas if we don’t take countermeasures now.”
In Bavaria, the world-renowned Christmas markets have been cancelled, and bars and nightclubs closed. Schools will remain open.
State leader Markus Söder said those in Bavaria unvaccinated will face a “de facto lockdown”.
This means only those who are vaccinated can go to cinemas, restaurants and sports events.
Mr Söder told a press conference: “The situation is very, very serious and difficult.
“We have a clear goal: fighting corona, protecting people and protecting the health care system.”
The state Premier added: “Being unvaccinated is a real risk” and said unfortunately vaccination rates in the south of the country are historically lower than the north.