Starting next week, those not fully vaccinated will be banned from some Berlin nightlife spots, the city’s senate announced Wednesday, as it expanded so-called “2G” rules that bar people without two shots.
Outdoor events with more than 2,000 attendees will also be banned for unvaccinated adults, officials said.
The move comes amid an escalation of rhetoric against unvaccinated people by national ministers in Germany, where vaccination rollouts have fallen behind several European neighbors to the west.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a video message on the country’s government website on Wednesday that “in Germany, unfortunately, I have to say that our vaccination rate is not high enough to prevent the rapid spread of the virus”, and urged swift action. national level to stimulate the roll-out.
Germany has fully vaccinated 66.7% of the population, leaving one in three people unprotected.
Infections have skyrocketed in recent days; the country’s seven-day incidence rose to 249.1 cases per 100,000 people on Thursday, up from 154.5 cases a week ago.
Hospital admissions and deaths remain at much lower levels than in previous peaks, but there is growing concern about gaps in the country’s vaccination coverage as it approaches the winter months.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said the country was facing a “massive” pandemic of unvaccinated people, an early signal that the government is directly targeting unprotected people to join the vaccine program.
Merkel also called on Wednesday for a meeting between the country’s 16 federal prime ministers “as soon as possible” to ensure “harmonious” measures at the national level. Germany’s federal state prime ministers are primarily responsible for imposing and lifting restrictions, but the country’s new parliament is debating on Thursday whether to transform coronavirus measures from the national level into regional leaders.
In a hurdle to its efforts to expand the rollout, the German Vaccine Commission recommended that people under 30 only be vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 injection, after it saw higher rates of heart inflammation in younger people who got Moderna instead of Pfizer.
In a press release on Wednesday, STIKO said its recommendation applied to both the initial vaccination and any booster shots. “Even if another vaccine has been used before, further vaccinations should be given with Comirnaty [Pfizer/BioNTech],” it said.
CNN’s Martin Goillandeau contributed to reporting.