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German Health Minister Won’t Rule Out New Lockdown


As Austria prepares to go into a national lockdown next week, the health minister in neighboring Germany suggested on Friday that a similar measure remained an option for his far larger country as coronavirus cases there continue to reach record levels.

“We are in a position where nothing should be ruled out,” the minister, Jens Spahn, told a news conference in response to a reporter’s question about a lockdown for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

His remarks came one day after lawmakers in Parliament voted to force unvaccinated people going to work or using public transit to provide daily test results. The country’s vaccination rate among adults is about 79 percent.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and state governors also agreed on Thursday night to require proof of vaccination or recovery from coronavirus infection for people entering restaurants, bars and hair salons or attending events in states where hospital beds are becoming scarce.

But some German states are going it alone.

On Friday, the governor of Bavaria, which has some of the country’s worst hot spots, announced measures including the cancellation of all Christmas markets and the closing of bars, clubs and nightclubs until at least Dec. 15. The celebrated Christmas market in the state’s capital, Munich, was canceled earlier this week.

Theaters, cinemas, operas and spectator sports will be allowed to remain open at 25 percent capacity for people who are vaccinated or who have recovered from the virus and show a negative test result. Restaurants will close at 10 p.m.

Districts with high infection rates will close down completely, leaving only essential shops, day cares and schools open.

“We are facing a corona drama,” the state’s governor, Markus Söder, said. “The numbers are exploding in the shortest time span and the beds are full,” he added, referring to overwhelmed hospitals. Some patients there are being moved to less crowded hospitals in northern Germany.

The governor of Saxony also announced new restrictions on Friday. Starting on Monday, a ban will be introduced on some events and larger gatherings regardless of the inoculation status of those attending.



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