GERMANY – Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that unvaccinated citizens will be banned from public life in Germany as she laid out new rules set to be imposed soon in response to the Omicron variant.

“It is absolutely time to act.”

Under plans unveiled by Merkel, German regions will introduce restrictions on a tiered system depending on hospital capacity and case numbers. Access to restaurants, bars, gyms, cinemas, and events will be restricted to those who can’t show proof of vaccination or recovery from the virus.

Strict contact measures for the unvaccinated also apply, with no more than two unvaccinated people from other households being allowed to meet in your own home. In a bizarre move that may signal coming unrest, firecrackers have also been banned for New Year’s Eve.

Merkel during today’s press conference

Merkel also said that parliament will debate the possibility of imposing a general vaccine mandate that would come into force as early as February. Around 68.7 percent of Germany’s population of 83.2 million people are fully vaccinated.

Protests against enacting vaccine mandates and other COVID-19 reduction measures have been occurring across the country.

EU President Ursula von der Leyen said earlier this week that a discussion is needed on making vaccines mandatory in Europe.

Ursula von der Leyen

“If you look at the numbers, we have now 77% of the adults in the European Union vaccinated or if you take the whole population, it’s 66%, And this means one-third of the European population is not vaccinated. These are 150 million people.”

The EU head added:

“How we can encourage and potentially think about mandatory vaccination within the European Union, this needs discussion. This needs a common approach, but it is a discussion that I think has to be met.”

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