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25 Jul, 2021 22:42

‘More freedom’ for the vaccinated? Merkel aide warns of restrictions for unvaxxed Germans if Covid-19 cases continue to rise

‘More freedom’ for the vaccinated? Merkel aide warns of restrictions for unvaxxed Germans if Covid-19 cases continue to rise

Unvaccinated Germans could be barred from entering restaurants and cinemas if Germany is hit with a new Covid-19 wave, a top aide to Chancellor Angela Merkel said, adding that those vaccinated will “definitely have more freedom.”

Germany might be in for yet another wave of Covid-19 cases, Helge Braun, Merkel’s chief of staff, told Bild on Sunday. “The number of new infections is increasing even faster than in the previous waves. That worries me very much,” Braun, who is also a doctor, warned.

The official said Germany could reach 100,000 daily infections in just nine weeks, and this would likely prompt the government to take drastic measures.

“If we have a high rate of infection despite our testing procedures then the unvaccinated will have to reduce their contacts,” Braun said. This would mean that unvaccinated people would not be allowed to go to restaurants, cinemas, or stadiums, even if they were tested, simply because “the risk to everyone else is too high.”

Those who have been vaccinated will definitely have more freedom than those who have not been vaccinated.

Also on rt.com ‘Every vaccination counts’: Merkel urges Germans to get inoculated amid ‘worrying’ coronavirus rise

The head of the chancellery also warned that a fourth Covid-19 wave would put tremendous pressure on the economy, with sick leaves potentially reaching historic highs, since many unvaccinated people would have to be quarantined anyway if they come into contact with an infected person.

Braun also said vaccination is the best remedy against a potential fourth wave. He encouraged municipalities to offer people easier ways to be vaccinated, and urged employers to promote vaccination for their own sake.

“Vaccination protects me [to] 90% from a serious corona disease,” Braun said, adding that anyone who receives the shot and does not fall ill when the disease strikes “would be urgently needed at their workplace.”

Merkel’s chief of staff also blamed pretty much all seasonal epidemics on those unwilling to be vaccinated. Germany does not have high infection rates from vaccinated people, even if some laboratory tests detect the virus in their bodies, he said. High infection rates are a result of “serious infections in the unvaccinated population if the vaccination rate is not high enough,” he added.

Also on rt.com Over 3,800 Germans got sick with Covid-19 following full vaccination, hundreds were hospitalized – health watchdog

When asked whether slapping a certain part of the population with targeted restrictions is legally permissible, Braun said that the state “has a duty to protect the health of its citizens.” He also claimed that Germany might avoid another total lockdown if the vaccination rate is high enough.

Some politicians, however, believe that Berlin would overstep its boundaries if it introduces such restrictions.

The deputy head of the Free Democratic Party, Wolfgang Kubicki, blasted the proposed measures as de facto “introduction of compulsory vaccination through the back door.”

Such a categorization of fundamental rights into a first and second class is clearly unconstitutional. 

Merkel earlier limited herself to saying that “the more who are vaccinated, the freer we will be again.” She did not mention any of the measures proposed by Braun.

Also on rt.com Germany will not make Covid jabs mandatory, Merkel confirms, with voluntary vaccination held up as way forward

Armin Laschet, Merkel’s potential successor and her party’s candidate for chancellor in the September general election, also distanced himself from what he called compulsory vaccination, and attempts to “indirectly put pressure on people to get vaccinated.” 

In a free country, there are civil liberties not only for certain groups. 

Just over 49% of Germans were fully vaccinated as of July 23, according to the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s government agency responsible for disease control and prevention. More than 60% of Germans have received at least one vaccine dose. However, German media reports that vaccination rates have been gradually declining.

If Germany does introduce restrictions for unvaccinated people, it would not be the first European country to do so. In neighboring France, President Emmanuel Macron’s government has already introduced ‘health passes’, which are required for people to enter certain public venues. People who have recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months or have a recent negative PCR test can also receive the passes.

The measure, which was introduced along with a vaccination mandate for healthcare workers, has sparked massive public uproar and prompted tens of thousands of people to take to the streets for two weekends in a row to voice their discontent.

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