After a ferocious debate, German MPs voted in favour of a new set of measures to fight the pandemic.
These would include access to public transport or the workplace only for people who received full vaccination.
Already in many regions, unvaccinated people can’t use indoor leisure facilities, such as cafes, bars, gyms or hairdressers. The aim is to encourage even more people to get the vaccine.
At the moment, just under 70% of the population is fully vaccinated – below the EU average.
But the measures can’t yet come into force. The regional governments in Germany’s upper house should approve them. And some conservative politicians have threatened to block the bill.
The World Heath Organisation (WHO) has earlier warned that Europe could see ‘another half million Covid-19 deaths’ by February.
The rising number of cases of Covid-19 in Europe is of “grave concern” and the region could see another half a million deaths by early next year, the WHO said in a statement issued on Thursday.
With 78 million cases in the WHO’s European region—which spans 53 countries and territories and includes several nations in Central Asia—the cumulative toll now exceeded that of South East Asia, the Eastern Mediterranean region, the Western Pacific, and Africa combined, the organisation said.
“We are, once again, at the epicentre,” WHO Europe director Hans Kluge told a press conference.
Kluge noted that the “current pace of transmission across the 53 countries of the European Region is of grave concern”.
According to “one reliable projection” the current trajectory would mean “another half a million Covid-19 deaths” by February, Kluge added.
Kluge blamed the soaring caseload on “insufficient vaccination coverage” and “the relaxation of public health and social measures”.