Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s 16 state governors are set to meet Tuesday to decide on how to handle measures against the coronavirus pandemic amidst a discussion about whether people who have been fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 should have greater freedoms than those who aren’t vaccinated.
While Germany has relatively low numbers of virus cases compared to other European countries, cases are rising again and authorities are fearing that especially young people who are not vaccinated yet may contract and spread the virus in the coming weeks and months.
On Monday, the country’s disease control agency registered 2,480 new cases, about 700 more than a week ago. Some 45.6 million people, or almost 55% of the population, are fully vaccinated.
After a sluggish start of the vaccination campaign that only really gained traction from March onward, the rate of vaccination has dropped again in recent weeks, and officials worry they may not reach the target set by the country’s disease control agency, of immunizing at least 85% of people between ages 12 and 59 and 90% of those over 60.
In response to the drop in vaccinations, officials have begun pushing for more vaccinations at megastores and in city centers, or offering other incentives to get people to show up to get vaccinated.
The chancellor and the state governors are also expected to decide whether free antigen tests that are available everywhere for those who are not vaccinated and can be used to access restaurants or cultural venues should be paid for again.