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Olaf Scholz speaks in the Bundestag
Scholz has called for a wider vaccination campaign, both for first jabs and booster shotsImage: Markus Schreiber/AP/picture alliance

Scholz calls to 'winterproof' Germany against COVID

November 11, 2021

German Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz has called for heavier prevention measures amid a record rise in cases. State premiers are also set to meet next week to discuss next steps in tackling the fourth wave of the virus.


German Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday said that the country will have to "winterproof" itself with new measures against the coronavirus, following multiple record daily increases in cases.

"We have to make our country winterproof, so to speak," said Scholz, who is also finance minister and Chancellor Angela Merkel's probable successor. "What we need now is for the country to pull together in one direction, so that we can get through this winter."

Germany reported more than 50,000 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, marking a new daily record. One week ago, that figure stood at just over 33,000.

"The virus is still among us and threatens the health of its citizens," said Scholz, adding that officials should continue to enforce measures such as mandatory masks and hygiene rules.

'We must continue to be cautious'

"Not enough citizens have made use of the vaccination oppportunity so far, so we must continue to be cautious," he added.

He made the comments at a Bundestag debate over proposed amendments to the Infection Protection Act, which allows officials to implement measures such as lockdowns and closures.

Scholz also called for a wider campaign for vaccinations. "Everything must be done to ensure that millions of citizens receive booster vaccinations, that is the task for the coming weeks and months," he said.

Vaccination centers should also reopen, "financed by federal funds," for the purpose of offering both first and booster vaccinations.

He added that "3G" requirements, which stipulate that people should be vaccinated, recovered, or have negative tests, should be implemented across all workplaces.  He also called for stricter testing rules in nursing homes and the return of free coronavirus tests. A current proposal would bring free weekly testing back next week.

When visiting restaurants, theaters or cinemas, the "2G" (vaccination or recovery) requirements should apply if possible, Scholz said.

State premiers to meet next week

Germany's state premiers will also gather next week to discuss the coronavirus situation and corresponding measures, following a long break between meetings.

"There will be a discussion with state premiers next week," said Scholz. 

Merkel, who remains in office in a limited caretaker capacity, had been calling for talks among the 16 state premiers and the federal government.

Germany has reported over 4.9 million infections and more than 97,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

lc/aw (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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