Germany’s coronavirus crisis is so serious that a lockdown, even those who have been vaccinated, cannot be ruled out, the health minister said on Friday, as Austria announced that it would return to full lockdown on Monday.
“We are currently in a situation where we can’t rule anything out,” acting health minister Jens Spahn said at a news conference.
The threat of a German shutdown sent markets into a tailspin, with bond yields plunging and the euro and stock markets plummeting.
Austria will become the first country in western Europe to reimpose a full lockdown this autumn to tackle a new wave of infections, and will require its whole population to be vaccinated as of February.
Germany reported 52,970 new coronavirus cases and 201 deaths on Friday, bringing total deaths to 98,739.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that, in areas where hospitals are becoming dangerously full of COVID-19 patients, large parts of public life would be restricted to those who have either been vaccinated or have recovered from the illness.
Germany’s upper house of parliament is expected to pass the new coronavirus measures on Friday.
Spahn also said the health ministry was in talks with Pfizer and other companies to order medicines to treat COVID-19.