Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn warned that people will either be “vaccinated, cured or dead” from the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) within the next few months.
Spahn’s warning comes as the country struggles with a shocking increase in recorded COVID-19 infections. According to data, Germany reported 49,206 cases on Sunday, Nov. 21, the highest number of new cases in the country since the pandemic began. (Related: Highly vaccinated Germany experiencing another post-vaccine COVID-19 outbreak.)
Germany is currently dealing with its fourth wave of coronavirus infections. Cases have skyrocketed rapidly and many hospitals are now full. The country has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe, with only 68 percent of its population fully vaccinated.
Health experts have warned that the fourth COVID-19 wave “could be the worst yet.”
The country enforced tighter restrictions for unvaccinated citizens, once again showing the discrimination people face when they decide to practice their right to choose. The restrictions exclude the unvaccinated from certain venues, and some of Germany’s famed Christmas markets are now canceled.
Restrictions for unvaccinated people are also set to be introduced in areas where hospital admissions exceed a set threshold, as agreed upon by Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of Germany’s 16 states. According to the rules, the unvaccinated will be excluded from certain venues.
Merkel said the COVID-19 situation in Germany was “dramatic,” and that the government must “quickly put a brake on the exponential rise” in cases and intensive care unit (ICU) occupancy.
As agreed upon during a crisis meeting, the new rules state that in areas with a hospitalization rate of over three coronavirus patients per 100,000 people over the past seven days, only vaccinated people and those who have recovered from COVID-19 can access public spaces like cultural shows, sporting events and restaurants. The majority of German states currently exceed this threshold.
Spahn said he was against making coronavirus vaccines mandatory, but that it was a “moral obligation” to sign up for the vaccine as the decision not to do so affects other people.
“Freedom means taking responsibility, and there is a duty to society to get vaccinated,” said Spahn. He added that the very contagious delta variant is driving the latest wave.
Citizens who are unvaccinated “will, over the next few months, become infected and lack protection,” said Spahn.
Recently, Austrians were placed under a nationwide lockdown, a move that triggered a fierce backlash. Tens of thousands of citizens charged the streets of Vienna at a weekend to protest against the measures.
At least 50,000 people attended the protest against Vienna’s fourth COVID-19 lockdown and a national vaccine mandate that will be enforced starting February 2022. In Vienna alone, an estimated 40,000 demonstrators gathered for the rally organized by the far-right Freedom Party.
The authorities said that the lockdown was enforced as Austria’s seven-day incidence rate of COVID-19 infections increased to 1,085 per 100,000 inhabitants per week. Only two-thirds of eligible Austrians are fully vaccinated, a number much lower compared to other Western European nations.
Because of the new lockdown, only stores selling essential items are allowed to open. Cultural activities were canceled while museums and movie theaters were ordered to close.
Citizens are only allowed to leave their homes with a valid reason, such as buying groceries or exercising. Schools remain open, but the government is encouraging parents to keep their kids at home if possible.
Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said the lockdown will end by Dec. 13, but it remains unclear if anyone still unvaccinated after that date would be facing restrictions. As of writing, there is a looming vaccination mandate in Austria.
Other European countries also engaged in demonstrations to protest against COVID-19 mandates. Protests broke out in Belgium, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland and Switzerland over draconian COVID-19 restrictions.
Got to Pandemic.news to learn how other countries are forcing citizens to get vaccinated for “the greater good.”