Germany is experiencing a ‘massive’ unvaccinated pandemic, says health minister

“The number of infections is increasing, as well as the number of deaths from Covid and especially the number of patients in intensive care units in some regions of Germany, regions where vaccination rates are not as high as in other regions,” he said Spahn on Wednesday. , adding that the speed of administration of the booster doses “is not sufficient”.

So far, only 66.8% of the population is fully vaccinated in the country. Vaccination has been slower in the eastern states of Saxony and Thuringia, where vaccination rates are 59% and 62.2% respectively, according to figures from the Ministry of Health.

“The truth is that there would be far fewer Covid-19 patients in [intensive care] if everyone who could get vaccinated, “Spahn said.

He also asked to strengthen controls in public places where only those with proof of vaccination or a certificate of recovery from Covid-19 will be allowed to enter.

“This has nothing to do with harassment to vaccinate, it is mainly about avoiding overloading the health system, as we see in Saxony and Thuringia,” he said.

Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the German federal government agency for disease control and prevention, said at the same press conference: “If we do not act now, this fourth wave will bring many” Many people will get sick seriously and they will die, and the health care system will be severely affected. ”

Pressure on hospitals

The German Hospital Association (DKG) also warned on Wednesday of a shortage of Covid-19 releated staff.

According to a DKG survey, 72% of hospitals said they had fewer staff available in intensive care than at the end of 2020. And 86% of those hospitals said they cannot fully operate their intensive care rooms due to shortages. of personal.

The reasons for this shortage are, according to the DKG, staff resignations and reduced working hours due to the pressures of the pandemic.

On Wednesday, the state of Baden-Wurttemberg imposed new Covid-10 restrictions after more than 250 intensive care beds were filled for two consecutive days. Residents will now need to submit a negative Covid-19 test that has no more than 48 hours to enter restaurants and cinemas.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is “very concerned” about declining hospital capacity, according to German government spokesman Steffen Seibert at another press conference on Wednesday.

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“What worries him so much is that we still have more than 16 million unvaccinated adults in Germany, more than 3 million unvaccinated over 60 years,” he said.

“The pandemic is not subsiding, as some may have imagined in the summer, but it is challenging us now and will do so enormously in the coming weeks,” Seibert added.

Despite the wide availability of vaccines this winter compared to the previous one, Europe is the just a part of the world reporting an increase in new cases of Covid-19 globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) said last week.

The suffering has been acute in Eastern Europe and Russia, which are battling rising deaths and cases fueled by vaccinations in vaccines that have seen coverage rates drop by as much as 24%, according to data from the European Center for Prevention. and Disease Control (ECDC).

Different vaccination rates have placed eastern and western Europe on two separate paths, but they share rising case rates driven by loosening of pandemic restrictions as economies open up, cold weather leads to people indoors and the highly transmissible Delta variant, experts say.

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