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Merkel warns that the fourth wave of Covid will hit Germany “at full speed”

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Chancellor Angela Merkel takes off her face mask when she arrives at the National Integration Summit at the Chancellery in Berlin on October 19, 2020.

FABRIZIO BENSCH | AFP | Getty Images

Germany’s Angela Merkel has described the Covid 19 situation in her country as “dramatic” as the outgoing Chancellor is considering how to deal with an infection rate that has reached a record.

“The fourth wave hits our country with full force,” said Merkel, according to a translation by Deutsche Welle and several other media at an event for the German Association of Cities.

“The number of new infections every day is higher than ever … and the daily death toll is also terrifying,” she said, adding that it is not too late to take a Covid vaccine for everyone who is haven’t done this yet.

Merkel’s comments come after the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s health authority, reported a further 52,826 new cases and a further 294 deaths on Wednesday. According to the Johns Hopkins University, Germany has so far recorded 5.1 million cases and almost 100,000 deaths from Covid-19.

Merkel’s heads of state and government are due to meet this week to discuss possible new nationwide restrictions.

Several states and cities have already imposed additional Covid measures and urged the public to show Covid passports that show a person’s vaccination status or have just recovered from the virus (also known as “2G rules” as they relate to it) whether people are vaccinated – “vaccinated” – or recovered, “recovered”) in order to gain access to bars, restaurants and other public facilities such as cinemas or museums.

Germany’s famous Christmas markets are another annual tradition where the Covid rules are tightened. Hamburg is one of the cities that apply 2G rules to everyone who wants to visit their main market, Reuters reported, while the Munich Christmas market was canceled.

Last week, leading German virologist Christian Drosten called for urgent government action, warning the country could see up to 100,000 more deaths from the virus if nothing is done to contain the spread.

Read more: Germany was once praised for its Covid response. Now it sees 50,000 cases a day, resulting in a dramatic warning

While new infections in the unvaccinated, especially younger children, have skyrocketed, vaccination against Covid in adults has helped keep serious infections, hospital admissions, and deaths far lower than in previous waves.

Germany is not alone with an increase in new Covid cases, Ireland, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Austria are also seeing an increase.

The Netherlands and Austria have reintroduced partial closures, whereby unvaccinated people are not allowed to leave their homes in Austria unless they buy groceries or go to work. Ireland has also rolled out new Covid rules, including early bars, restaurants and clubs closings – less than a month after returning to normal.

Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin also said people should work from home unless absolutely necessary. Proof of vaccination is required for cinemas and theaters.

In the meantime, given a “critical” situation in the country’s hospitals, Slovakia is expected to restrict movements of the unvaccinated. Legislators will vote on the three-week proposal on Thursday.

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