Angela Merkel urges Germans to follow coronavirus guidelines
Covid-19 cases have surged in Germany, leading to a full-scale lockdown due to last until at least January 10. The German Chancellor is under pressure after nations such as the UK fast-tracked a vaccine – and has faced fierce questioning about measures taken to tackle the latest spike.
The country’s death toll jumped to 952 on Wednesday, the highest daily increase on record, as shops, schools and nurseries shutting for the emergency Christmas lockdown.
Der Spiegel magazine has described her strategy as “The winter failure” and suggests the country has “squandered the gains it made this spring” in dealing with the virus.
The nation’s best selling newspaper, Bild, wrote of the second lockdown: “The bitter truth is that Germany has to close not solely because of corona but also because of the political handling of corona.”
Bild noted the delayed vaccine rollout in Germany despite the fact BioNTech is based in Mainz.
It said in a separate editorial: “It’s just beyond belief.
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“The world is celebrating the Biontech vaccine developed in Germany. Yet Britain, Canada and the USA have started vaccinating — and we are standing and gawping.”
On Wednesday, The Robert Koch Institute reported 27,728 new infections – a 33 percent rise compared to a week prior.
In total, Germany has experienced 1.42million cases of coronavirus.
There have been 1.06million recoveries and 24,723 deaths.
Like the UK, families will be allowed to gather as rules are relaxed for consecutive days over Christmas, albeit a shorter term.
From December 24 to 26, households can be visited by four family members above the age of 14.
Ms Merkel has called for a sensible approach over the festive period, warning people it will be their “last Christmas with the grandparents” if they are not careful.
Reuters reveals a poll by the Forsa Institute for Social Research and Statistical Analysis which shows 81 percent of Germans wish measures to stop the recent surge had been taken earlier.
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The EU ruling on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, approved by the UK on December 2, has been scheduled for December 21, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced.
The EMA evaluates drugs and vaccines for the 27 EU nations.
It was originally due on December 29 but the date was brought forward after fierce criticism from the German public.
The German Hospital Association was among organisations demanding the EU shorten its lengthy approval process.
Thousands of people in Britain, Canada and the United States, have received the vaccine so far.
Brit Margaret Keenan, now 91, became the first person in the world to receive the jab as a part of a mass immunisation programme.
“Our goal is an approval before Christmas,” Mr Spahn told Associated Press reporters in Berlin on Tuesday.
“We want to start vaccinating this year.”
The Netherlands has also entered a five-week lockdown, meaning non-essential shops, theatres and gyms have all closed.
Restaurants, hotels and indoor sports venues in the Czech Republic close from Friday – a fortnight after reopening.
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