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Coronavirus digest: Germany considers partial mandatory vaccinations

German lawmakers are mulling new measures to curb the surge in infections. Meanwhile, Israel has greenlit vaccinations for children between five and 11. DW has the latest.

People line up in front of a vaccination bus of a mobile corona vaccination team, waiting to get their Covid-19 vaccination on the Marienplatz in Stuttgart, southern Germany

Germany's fourth wave is being fuelled by the spread of the Delta variant, falling temperatures and a vaccination rate lower than 70%

The German Social Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats — currently involved in ongoing talks to form a government — have agreed on new possible coronavirus measures, including mandatory vaccinations for certain jobs, such as in nursing homes, an official from the Greens said.

Lawmakers are in a rush to bring down the record high number of infections in the country.

The parties are also planning to only allow people onto trains and buses if they have been vaccinated, have recovered or have tested negative.

Watch video 02:06

Germany battles massive fourth COVID-19 wave

They want to keep hold of the right to restrict the number of people who can meet in public and private spaces.

The full scale of the new rules that the parties were in agreement on was not yet clear but they will be discussed in the German parliament on Thursday.

The new measures amount to a "lockdown for the unvaccinated," the head of the SPD in the Bundestag Dirk Wiese said.

Watch video 12:44

COVID-19 Special: What went wrong, Germany?

Here are the latest major developments on coronavirus from around the world:

Europe

Germany reported 23,607 new cases and 43 deaths on Monday, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the country's public health body. The total number of cases now stands at 5,045,076, and deaths at 97,715. 

Germany also logged a record seven-day high incidence rate — indicating the number of new COVID infections per 100,000 people — of 303 on Monday. It is the first time the rate has passed 300 since the pandemic began.

Watch video 26:05

EU COVID-19 response: Too little, too late?

Prominent United Kingdom epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, a member of the group of scientists who advise the Boris Johnson administration on COVID-19, told the BBC that booster jabs for younger age groups "make quite a big difference to driving transmission down to low levels." 

Currently, boosters are available to those aged 50 years old or over, to frontline health and social care workers, and people above 16 years old with certain health conditions. The UK had administered 12 million top-up jabs to those eligible, as of Sunday.

In Austria, a lockdown for unvaccinated people went into force on Monday. Those who break rules risk a €500 fine ($570) and those who refuse to show proof of vaccination could face fines three times higher.

Watch video 02:22

Austria: Lockdown for the unvaccinated takes effect

Asia

Israeli children between five and 11 are now eligible for COVID vaccines, the country's Health Ministry announced on Sunday. 

The decision came after the country's expert panel on vaccination approved the plan last week. 

In Israel, around 6 million people have been fully vaccinated and around 4 million have received their booster jabs, approved in August.

Israelis get a COVID-19 vaccine at Clalit Health Services, in a gymnasium in the central Israeli city of Hod Hasharon, on February 4, 2021.

Israeli authorities have already begun vaccinating minors aged 12 to 17.

India reopened its borders to vaccinated tourists from 99 countries after nearly two years on Monday. The country's Health Ministry said travelers would have to follow certain COVID protocols based on India's agreeements with those countries, which means some people would have to take COVID tests on arrival and others would not.

Japan's economy — the world's third-largest — declined for the first time in two quarters, as consumer spending took a hit because of resurgent COVID infections over summer. Its economy contracted at an annualized rate of 3.0% in July-September from the previous quarter, government data showed Monday.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida outlined a plan last week to increase hospital beds for a possible resurgence of COVID-19 infections this winter. 

Japan's COVID-19 surge over the summer, and its inability to cope with it, was among factors forcing former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to step down.

China is battling the spread of its biggest COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the delta variant. Residents from the northeastern city of Dalian, which has the highest rate of infection in all of China, will have to go into a strict lockdown when visiting other parts of the country.

Chinese authorities said they registered 32 new domestically transmitted infections — most of them in Dalian — on Sunday. Beijing is pursuing a tough, zero-infections policy.

Watch video 01:51

Japan's PM: Olympics have not caused COVID-19 spike

Americas

Brazil reported its lowest COVID-19 mortality rate in more than a year on Sunday, with 61 deaths, according to data from the Ministry of Health. It reported 4,129 new cases of COVID, bringing the total to 21,957,967 cases.

Pfizer Inc said on Tuesday that it would allow manufacturers to supply generic versions of its experimental antiviral COVID-19 pill to 95 low to middle-income countries. The move would be done through a licensing agreement with Medicines Patent Pool (MPP). Under the agreement sub-licenses would be granted to generic drug producers to make their own versions.

ab,rm/rt (Reuters, AP)

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