Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged all citizens to get vaccinated, as concern over Germany’s “worrying” coronavirus situation grows, with the leader saying increased inoculation was the only means of exiting the pandemic.

During a federal press conference on Thursday, Merkel relayed her fears over the latest developments of coronavirus, following a spike in cases, calling the situation “worrying.” The chancellor made an appeal to the public to opt to be inoculated, making the claim that “the only key to overcoming the pandemic is vaccination.”

She expressed her desire to return to pre-pandemic life, but insisted this would only be possible if vaccination protection was significantly increased, stating that “every single vaccination is a small step back to normal.”

Merkel’s address comes amid predictions that, in under a fortnight, cases could snowball, doubling every two weeks. Germany’s Robert Koch Institute found that the incidence rate was 12.2 infections per 100,000 as of Thursday. This figure is almost double from that of July 8, which was 5.2 per 100,000. While the figure currently appears low, Health Minister Jens Spahn declared that, by October, there could be as many as 800 cases per 100,000 people a day should the present trajectory continue.

Unlike neighboring France, Germany has advocated that vaccination is voluntary. Instead, Merkel’s government has placed value on citizens protecting their fellow members of society, with vaccination being positioned as a collective effort.

As of July 22, 60.4% of citizens have received at least one coronavirus jab, while 48% are fully vaccinated. Spahn implored more Germans to get vaccinated, stating via Twitter that two doses of a coronavirus jab were a must, as “double vaccination protects against Delta” – a reference to the highly transmissible variant that now makes up almost three-quarters of Germany’s cases.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Germany has recorded 3.76 million cases, with almost 91,500 citizens having lost their lives to the coronavirus.

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