It’s from Tom nuttall, head of the Berlin office of The Economist.
South German state of Bavaria canceled all Christmas markets and imposed a lockdown on all districts that have a seven-day Covid incidence rate of more than 1,000 per 100,000 population, Deutsche Welle reports.
In these places, bars, clubs and restaurants, as well as cultural and sporting venues will be closed, the state prime minister said. Markus Söder after a meeting of his cabinet in the state capital, Munich. Schools and kindergartens, however, will remain open.
Bavaria grapples with one of the highest infection rates in the country amid a fierce fourth wave of the pandemic.
The state had a weekly incidence rate of 625.3 recorded infections per 100,000 people as of Friday, according to the Robert Koch Institute center of infectious diseases, well above the national figure of 340.7 – a historic high for the country.
“The situation is very, very serious and difficult,” Söder said. “We have a clear goal: to fight the coronavirus, to protect people and to protect the health system. “
The PM said there would be a “de facto lockdown” for unvaccinated people by implementing the “2G” rule statewide – referring to the shortcut in Germany for a rule that allows freedoms like access to restaurants and hotels only to those who are either vaccinated or cured of the Covid.
About 90% of patients hospitalized with Covid are not vaccinated, Söder pointed out. “Not being vaccinated is a real risk,” he said, noting that the vaccination rate in the south of the country is historically lower than in the north.
Under the new rules, the unvaccinated will lose access even to places like hairdressers, universities or adult education centers.
There will also be contact restrictions for unvaccinated people, Söder said, noting that they will be allowed to meet a maximum of five people from two households.
He called for compulsory vaccination against Covid from next year, arguing that otherwise it would become a “never-ending cycle”.
Currently, eight districts in Bavaria have incidence rates above 1,000. Even in areas with incidence rates below 1,000, there will be restrictions.
For sporting and cultural events, the number of spectators will be limited to 25% of the total capacity of the site. Additionally, the ‘2G +’ rule will apply – meaning that even those vaccinated and recovered will have to produce an additional negative Covid test result.
Retail stores will remain open but with a limit on the number of customers allowed inside: one customer per 10 square meters (108 square feet). All outlets and restaurants will also have to close at 10 p.m.
The state legislature is expected to approve the new measures on Tuesday and they will likely be in effect until December 15.
Munich became the first major German city on Tuesday to cancel its world-famous Christmas market, which usually draws three million visitors, blaming the “dramatic” resurgence of the coronavirus.
The mayor Dieter Reiter called the cancellation of its market “bitter news” for residents and traders in the city, but said it would be irresponsible for the event to take place.
The chancellor Angela Merkel and leaders of Germany’s 16 states agreed on Thursday to shut down unvaccinated restaurants, sporting events and cultural performances after the new cases hit a daily high of more than 65,000.
However, the director of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, told reporters on Friday that with the exponential rise in infection levels, the curbs would be insufficient to contain the latest wave [see 10.36am.].