1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Germany needs 15 million more boosters to slow omicron

January 5, 2022

Germany's health minister has said that the country would need 15 million more booster doses to curb the spread of omicron. Meanwhile. Australia's health system is under strain amid a rising caseload. DW has the latest.

A health worker preparing to administer a coronavirus vaccine .
Germany has administered two doses to nearly 59.3 million people and some 32.7 million have also had a boosterImage: Emmanuelle Chaze/DW

Germany needs to inoculate an additional 15 million people with booster shots to put a brake on the rising omicron caseload, the country's health minister said in comments published on Wednesday.

Karl Lauterbach told the RND group of newspapers that modeling by the Robert Koch Institute for public health showed that over 80% of people who had already received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine would need a third.

Germany has administered two doses to nearly 59.3 million people and some 32.7 million have also had a booster.

Lauterbach said that measures restricting contacts, combined with an effort to get a booster dispensation of 80%, would slow down the spread of omicron.

"This will make it difficult for omicron," Lauterbach told RND. "Booster vaccination is the best protection against omicron."

Germany is also considering shortening the length of quarantine for individuals who have had and recovered from COVID-19 from a recommended 10-day isolation period to seven days.

The proposed changed from the Health Ministry and the Robert Koch Institute imply people could leave the recommended quarantine period after receiving a negative PCR test or antigen rapid test after seven days.


Hong Kong on Wednesday announced a ban on flights from eight countries, including Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, Philippines, UK and US. 

"Passenger flights from these countries will not be allowed to land in Hong Kong and individuals who have stayed in those countries are not allowed to board flights to Hong Kong, including transit flights," chief executive Carrie Lam told the media.

Earlier in the day, health officials in Hong Kong began a city-wide hunt for the contact history of a COVID-19 patient and called a Royal Caribbean "cruise to nowhere" ship back to port early.

Wednesday's search was prompted when a hunt was sparked by a patient who danced with some 20 friends in a central park on New Year's Eve.

Hong Kong reported its first case of domestic transmission of the omicron variant on December 31 after a three-month lull.

The authorities have traced and tested hundreds of people who had been in contact with omicron patients since then.

Japan is gearing up to declare a quasi-state of emergency in the Okinawa prefecture amid rising coronavirus infection numbers, the Mainichi newspaper reported on Wednesday, adding that it could be imposed as early as this week.

On September 30, Japan had called off all states of emergency and quasi-emergency that had been in place for a considerable time in 2021.

COVID-19 infections in the country crossed the 1,000 mark on Tuesday for the first time in more than three months.

Okinawa is among the worst-affected parts of the nation.

On Wednesday, new infections in the prefecture rose to 600, Okinawa Television reported, citing the region's government.

India: Millions skipping second COVID jab


In a harsh remark that triggered condemnation from the opposition, French President Emmanuel Macron said that he wanted to make life difficult for the unvaccinated.

"The unvaccinated, I really want to be a pain in their neck. And so, we're going to continue doing so, until the end. That's the strategy," Macron told Le Parisien newspaper in an interview published late Tuesday. However, Macron also said he had no plans for obligatory vaccination and that this was the alternative path he would pursue. 

How could Europe stop omicron?

He said it would entail "limiting as much as possible their access to activities in social life."

Last year, France had implemented a health pass that stopped people without a COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination from accessing restaurants, cafes and other social venues.

The government intends to turn it into a vaccine passport, meaning only the vaccinated can have a health pass.

"I won't send [the unvaccinated] to prison, I won't vaccinate by force. So we need to tell them, from January 15, you won't be able to go to the restaurant anymore, you won't be able to down one, won't be able to have a coffee, go to the theater, the cinema," Macron said.

France's revolt against loneliness

Polish President Andrzej Duda has again tested positive for Covid-19 and is isolating, his chief of staff Pawel Szrot said on Wednesday.

"The president is fine, has no severe symptoms and is under constant medical care," Szrot wrote on Twitter.

In October 2020, Duda said he tested positive for the coronavirus despite not experiencing any symptoms. 


Australia's health system are seeing a new burden on Wednesday as new infections reached a record high for the third consecutive day.

Pressure is building up on hospitals and testing facilities with nearly 53,000 new cases being reported across the country's most populous states of New South Wales and Victoria.

Hospital admissions rose by 10% in the last 24 hours.

"We have got some challenging weeks ahead of us," New South Wales Deputy Health Secretary Susan Pearce told the media.


In Brazil, Rio de Janeiro has canceled its famous Carnival festival for the second consecutive year because of the pandemic.

Mayor Eduardo Paes made the announcement on social media on Tuesday after meeting the representatives of Carnival groups.

He said it was not practical to hold the street carnival while maintaining coronavirus restrictions.

In 2020, an estimated 3 million or more people took part in the festival over four days.

dvv/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)