| 2 February 2023, Thursday |

Merkel urges unvaccinated to reconsider as 7-day COVID incidence rate hits record

In a video message on Saturday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged unvaccinated people to reconsider their decision, as the country’s seven-day coronavirus incidence rate reached its highest level since the pandemic began.

“We have difficult weeks ahead of us, and you can see that I am quite concerned,” Merkel said in her weekly video podcast. “I implore everyone who has not yet been immunized to reconsider.”

Germany’s seven-day incidence rate – the number of people infected per 100,000 in the previous week – increased to 277.4 on Saturday, according to figures from the Robert Koch Institute. In the third wave of the pandemic last December, the record was 197.6.

The federal government and the leaders of Germany’s 16 states are scheduled to meet next week to discuss tightening restrictions, while the three parties seeking to form a new government have agreed to allow the state of emergency in effect since the outbreak’s inception expire on Nov. 25 as planned.

“It has always aided us when states and the central government collaborated and agreed to consistent rules,” Merkel remarked.

Europe has become the epicenter of the pandemic again, prompting some governments to consider re-imposing unpopular lockdowns in the run-up to Christmas and stirring debate over whether vaccines alone are enough to tame COVID-19.

  • Reuters