Germany’s new leader, Olaf Scholz, has announced that his government will take all necessary measures to control the spread of the new Omicron strain of Covid, declaring no step to be too great in that fight.
Directing his first major address in parliament to Germans across the country, the chancellor urged everyone to get vaccinated, saying it was the only way out of the pandemic. His statement that there would be “no red lines” in the government’s battle to contain Covid comes amid concerns about a fourth wave of infections in Germany, fueled by unvaccinated citizens.
“Yes, it will get better. Yes, we will win the fight against this pandemic with the biggest determination. And, yes, … we will overcome the crisis,” he said, striking an optimistic tone amid the warnings about the virus.
On Sunday, Scholz expressed his personal support for vaccine mandates across Germany, stating that he would “vote for compulsory vaccination, because it is legally permissible and morally right.” Germany’s parliament recently mandated that, from next spring, all medical and care staff must be inoculated for Covid.
Omicron first emerged in southern Africa in November and quickly spread to some 60 countries worldwide. Germany reported its first confirmed cases of the new strain in Bavaria that month, followed by another outbreak days later in Baden-Württemberg.
Since the start of the pandemic, Germany has recorded 6.56 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 106,277 deaths from the virus, according to data provided to the World Health Organization. In the country of more than 80 million people, 127,820,557 doses of a Covid vaccine have so far been administered.