Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff said on Sunday he fears the number of new coronavirus cases in Germany could soar to 100,000 a day in about two months unless many more people get vaccinated and those who refuse may face restrictions.
His suggestion quickly hit resistance from several senior politicians including Armin Laschet, conservative candidate to succeed Merkel as chancellor in a Sept. 26 election.
After more than two months of steady decline, Covid-19 cases have been rising in Europe’s biggest economy since early July, due mainly to the spread of the more infectious Delta variant.
Merkel’s chief of staff, Helge Braun, told Bild am Sonntag newspaper that cases were increasing by 60 per cent per week even though nearly half the population is fully vaccinated.
That equates to about 100,000 new infections a day, he said, adding that would lead to many people having to quarantine and chaos in the economy.
Urging Germans to get vaccinated, Braun said those who refused might have to face some restrictions.
“This could mean some things such as restaurant, cinema and stadium visits would not be possible for tested unvaccinated people because the residual risk is too high,” he said.
“I don’t think much of compulsory vaccinations or indirectly putting pressure on people,” Laschet told ZDF television. “We have had a rule that you must be tested, vaccinated or recovered and I think that is a good principle,” he said.
The Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said the number of cases had risen by 1,387 in the last day to 3.76 million. The seven-day incidence rate inched up to 13.8 per 100,000 people. Some 91,524 people have died of Covid-19 related causes in Germany.