Germany Requires Vaccines for Store and Restaurant Customers – The New York Times

Austria, the only European country to order mandatory vaccinations, has almost twice as many cases per capita as Germany. But Austria’s caseload, still among the world’s highest, has started to decline, while Germany’s has not.

The Coronavirus Pandemic: Key Things to Know

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The Omicron variant. The latest Covid-19 variant was identified on Nov. 25 by scientists in South Africa and has since been detected in more than 20 countries, including the U.S., which reported its first case on Dec. 1. Should you be concerned? Here are answers to common questions about this variant.

The Omicron variant. The latest Covid-19 variant was identified on Nov. 25 by scientists in South Africa and has since been detected in more than 20 countries, including the U.S., which reported its first case on Dec. 1. Should you be concerned? Here are answers to common questions about this variant.

Biden’s winter Covid plan. As Omicron reaches the U.S., President Biden announced a new pandemic strategy that includes hundreds of family-centered vaccination sites, booster shots for all adults, new testing requirements for international travelers and insurance reimbursement for at-home tests.

New travel restrictions and lockdowns. Germany has announced tough restrictions on unvaccinated people, barring them from many aspects of public life. Japan, Israel and Morocco have stopped all foreign travelers, and Australia delayed reopening its borders. Here’s where U.S. citizens can travel right now and what to know about travel restrictions.

Shifting views on boosters among experts. For months, many public health experts have opposed plans to roll out Covid booster shots to all adults. But as Omicron gains ground, researchers are changing their minds, and now believe that the shots may offer the best defense against the new variant.

Christian Lindner, the head of the Free Democrats, the junior coalition partner in the incoming German government, has long criticized Ms. Merkel’s government over coronavirus restrictions. Yet he signaled on Thursday that he would also be open to mandatory vaccinations, given the current rate of infection.

Opposition to the rules announced Thursday is expected from parts of eastern Germany, where tougher restrictions are already in place to deal with regional outbreaks, and where there have been regular protests against government measures. On Monday, 2,700 people protested in 20 different locations, the police said.

Under the new measures, bars and nightclubs in virus hot spots — districts where more than 350 infections in a week are registered per 100,000 people — would be forced to close and indoor gatherings would be limited to 50 participants.

In other districts, large gatherings at events like soccer games and cultural shows would face caps, depending on the size of venues, even for fully vaccinated spectators.

And, as was the case last year, selling firecrackers will be prohibited at the end of December, in an attempt to dissuade crowded New Year’s parties.

This content was originally published here.

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