Germans will be ‘vaccinated, cured or killed’ by Covid by the end of winter, says minister

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Germans will be ‘vaccinated, cured or killed’ by Covid by the end of winter, says minister

Amidst the explosion of new cases of Covid-19 in Germany, concern grew in the country with the approach of winter in the northern hemisphere, when the occurrence of respiratory diseases traditionally rises.

In an appeal for the population to be vaccinated against the disease, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Monday (22) that “probably by the end of winter, as is sometimes said with cynicism, almost everyone will be vaccinated, cured or dead.”

The speech referred to the rule that restricts the presence in closed public spaces to people who have been vaccinated, cured or tested negative — the minister replaced the last term with “dead”. In Germany, 70.4% of the population took the first dose of the vaccine, and 67.9% the two doses, but the numbers have been stagnant for weeks.

With new daily records of infection by the disease, Prime Minister Angela Merkel warned of a “dramatic situation” and said that the country will need to adopt stricter measures of restriction — in statements that resonated badly on European stock exchanges.

“We are in a highly dramatic situation. What is in place now is not enough,” Merkel told leaders of the German CDU (Christian Democratic Union) party, of which she is a member, at a meeting on Monday, according to two participants .

The tightening of restrictions in neighboring Holland sparked a series of violent protests last weekend, which were rebuffed by Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Monday.

“This was pure violence disguised as protest,” the politician said. “There’s been a lot of unrest in society because we’ve been dealing with Covid-19’s problems for so long. But I’ll never accept idiots using pure violence just because they’re unhappy.”

More than 100 people were arrested over the weekend after protests in different cities, demonstrating against the requirement of vaccination to attend public facilities. Groups of young people set objects on fire and threw stones at the police, who even opened fire on protesters in Rotterdam. In The Hague, protesters hit an ambulance taking a patient to hospital.

The Dutch association of health professionals, V&VN, warned that the country is heading for a worst-case scenario, with a shortage of ICU beds. This Monday, authorities counted 23 thousand new infections in 24 hours, the second highest number since the beginning of the pandemic.

​Police and protesters clashed also in the streets of Brussels on Sunday, with police firing water and tear gas cannons at protesters, who hurled stones and smoke bombs.

In Vienna, 40,000 people took to the streets against the restrictions imposed by Austria, which took effect from this Monday, with the closing of non-essential cafes, restaurants, bars, theaters and shops for 10 days and limitation of the reasons why the population can leave home during this period. It was the first lockdown between countries in the European Union since the vaccination campaign began.

The Austrian government has also announced that it will make vaccination mandatory from Feb. 1, amidst the distrust of some of the population towards immunization agents, a view encouraged by the far-right Freedom Party, the third-largest in parliament.

“It’s like a luxury prison. Freedom is definitely limited and for me it’s not very good psychologically,” said Sascha Iamkovyi, 43, an entrepreneur working in the food industry, describing his return to confinement. “People were promised that if they got vaccinated, they could lead a normal life, but now that’s not true.”

About a third of Austrians have not been vaccinated, one of the highest rates in Western Europe. Austria’s Conservative government had imposed a lockdown on the unvaccinated last week, but daily infections continued to rise even above their previous peak, and a full lockdown was enacted for this week.

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