• Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

Covid: 100,000 dead in Germany, the future government under pressure

Byeditorial

Nov 25, 2021
People wait outside a Covid-19 testing center on November 24, 2021 in Berlin (John MACDOUGALL / AFP)

Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday urged the government-in-training to quickly tighten measures to combat the surge in Covid-19 infections as the country crosses the 100,000 virus-related death mark.

“It is a very sad day,” said the departing leader at a press conference in Berlin.

The health authority (RKI) announced earlier that 100,119 people had succumbed to Covid-19 in Germany since the start of the pandemic, after having recorded 351 deaths in the last 24 hours.

“Every day counts,” warned Merkel, who wants an additional turn of the screw and let her successor, the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz know.

“I made it clear to her that we could manage this together, during this transition phase, and that we would look at all the necessary measures,” she explained.

In an intensive care unit at the hospital in Freising, southern Germany, April 12, 2021
In an intensive care unit at Freising hospital in southern Germany on April 12, 2021 (LENNART PREISS / AFP / Archives)

In one day, the RKI also identified 75,961 new contaminations, a new high, at a time when the largest European economy fears a saturation of hospitals.

The seven-day incidence also reached a record high at 419.7. In Saxony, in the former GDR, it exceeded the threshold of 1,000.

– Difficult beginnings

The situation weakens the new government coalition associating Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals which will take the head of the country in December.

“We are starting this government with undoubtedly the most serious health crisis that Germany has known”, judged the co-president of the Greens Robert Habeck during a congress Thursday, the day after the presentation of a coalition agreement government which will be put to the vote of the militants.

At this point, the German regions are in control and most of them reinstated strict restrictions after a crisis meeting last week with Angela Merkel.

In most of the country, the unvaccinated can no longer access, even with a negative test, shows, restaurants, gyms, or even hairdressers.

Covid-19: 100,000 deaths in Germany
Covid-19: 100,000 deaths in Germany (/ AFP)

Some districts have resolved to close clubs, bars and cultural establishments for a few weeks.

Almost 69% of the German population is fully vaccinated, less than in other European countries, such as France, where the rate reaches 75%.

Olaf Scholz has promised to “do everything” in the face of the pandemic. So far the new coalition has sought to avoid nationwide lockdown, and is attracting criticism for its alleged inaction.

Olaf Scholz, future Social Democratic head of government, at a press conference on November 24, 2021 in Berlin
Olaf Scholz, future Social Democratic leader of the government, at a press conference on November 24, 2021 in Berlin (Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP)

For Habeck, the catalog of current measures can still stem the fourth wave of the virus. Otherwise, “we will have to talk in the coming days of other measures,” he warned.

The head of government of Bavaria Markus Söder has already called for the next crisis meeting between state and regions, scheduled for December 9, to be brought forward.

– Saturated hospitals

The healthcare sector in Germany has sounded the alarm over the saturation of some hospitals in the worst-affected regions of the south and east, as the country faces a shortage of caregivers which is reducing the number beds available in intensive care.

Covid-19 patients in the intensive care unit at Freising hospital in southern Germany on April 12, 2021
Covid-19 patients in the intensive care unit at Freising hospital in southern Germany on April 12, 2021 (LENNART PREISS / AFP / Archives)

Some establishments are facing “an acute overload” which has necessitated the transfer of patients abroad, also indicated Gernot Marx, who heads the German association of intensive care medicine.

The president of the teaching staff Heinz-Peter Meidinger for his part warned against an explosion of infections in schools, under 12 years old who do not yet have access to the vaccine in the country.

“The loss of control is already there, while some schools have to close because of outbreaks of infections,” he lamented, in an interview with Passauer neue Presse.

The health crisis has provoked a debate on the relevance of introducing compulsory vaccination for all, as Austria has just decided.

The national leaders had agreed with the heads of regions, responsible for health matters, to study this option, already valid for the soldiers of the Bundeswehr and, soon, for the personnel of the care establishments.

But the calls to go further are multiplying.

The infection of Bayern star Joshua Kimmich, who had expressed his reservations against the vaccine, is highly symbolic, Judge Der Spiegel: “Anyone who does not get vaccinated will end up catching the Covid”.

One thought on “Covid: 100,000 dead in Germany, the future government under pressure”
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