Germany on Thursday followed the example of Greece, announced a nationwide lockdown for the unvaccinated, as its leaders backed plans for mandatory vaccinations in the coming months.
Unvaccinated people will be banned from accessing all but the most essential businesses, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, to curb the spread of the coronavirus, outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel and her successor, Olaf Scholz, announced Thursday, following crisis talks with regional leaders.
Moreover, private gatherings that include unvaccinated people or people who haven’t recently recovered from COVID-19 can no longer exceed one household and a maximum of two individuals from a different household.
The pair also backed proposals for mandatory vaccinations, which if voted through the parliament, could take effect beginning in February at the earliest.
The stricter measures are to come as Germany continues to grapple with its fourth wave of coronavirus, which has already overwhelmed hospital intensive care units in some regions and forced patients to be transferred out for treatment. On Wednesday, health authorities reported 67,186 new infections and 446 deaths associated with COVID-19.
Germany follows Greece’s precedent on the unvaccinated
In Greece, the government announced on Tuesday that vaccination for people over 60 will be made mandatory.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis defended the government’s decision to make vaccinations compulsory for all over 60-year-olds across the nation in an interview with Reuters.
“I am certain that we are following an effective policy,” Mitsotakis said, adding that the measure was “proportionate” given the lag in vaccination rates and the fact that the government had previously “tried every available means of persuasion to boost their number.”
Appointments for initial coronavirus vaccinations in Greece jumped sharply in the first 24 hours after the government announcement.
According to government sources, in the last 24 hours, a total of 17,500 appointments were made for the first installment of the vaccine series in the age group of 60 and over. This number comes close to 2,600 per day, meaning there was a sevenfold rise in appointments.