Sat | Oct 23, 2021

Germany considers restrictions for unvaccinated

Published:Monday | July 26, 2021 | 12:08 AM
German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

BERLIN:

German politicians were deeply divided on Sunday over a warning by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff that restrictions for unvaccinated people may be necessary if COVID-19 infection numbers reach new heights in the coming months.

Chief of Staff Helge Braun told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag that he doesn’t expect another coronavirus-related lockdown in Germany. But Braun said that unvaccinated people may be barred from entering venues like restaurants, movie theatres or sports stadiums “because the residual risk is too high”.

Braun said getting vaccinated is important to protect against severe disease and because “vaccinated people will definitely have more freedoms than unvaccinated people”. He said such policies would be legal because “the state has the responsibility to protect the health of its citizens”.

His comments fuelled a debate in German politics about potential vaccination requirements. The issue has proven divisive, even within Merkel’s own Christian Democrats party. Its candidate to replace Merkel as Germany’s leader, Armin Laschet, said he opposes any formal or informal vaccine requirements for the time being.