German Health Minister Won’t Rule Out New Lockdown

As Austria prepares to go into a national lockdown next week, the health minister in neighboring Germany suggested on Friday that a similar measure remained an option for his far larger country as coronavirus cases there continue to reach record levels.

“We are in a position where nothing should be ruled out,” the minister, Jens Spahn, told a news conference in response to a reporter’s question about a lockdown for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

His remarks came one day after lawmakers in Parliament voted to force unvaccinated people going to work or using public transit to provide daily test results. The country’s vaccination rate among adults is about 79 percent.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and state governors also agreed on Thursday night to require proof of vaccination or recovery from coronavirus infection for people entering restaurants, bars and hair salons or attending events in states where hospital beds are becoming scarce.

On Friday, the governor of Saxony, Germany’s hardest-hit state in the latest virus outbreak, announced new restrictions starting on Monday, including a ban on some events and larger gatherings regardless of the inoculation status of those attending. The governor, Michael Kretschmer, said that state lawmakers would approve the measures Friday afternoon.

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