Merkel ushers in restrictions, says fourth virus wave ‘must be broken’ Dec 03, 2021 0 0 12345 dpaBerlinNew measures putting restrictions on the unvaccinated and limiting gatherings are aimed at breaking the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Germany and easing the pressure on intensive care units, said Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday.“The fourth wave must be broken,” Merkel said after consultations between the federal and state governments. She said the infection situation was stabilizing, but at far too high a level.When the virus broke out nearly two years ago, Germany was considered a model for other nations, keeping case counts relatively low thanks to a system of contact tracing and quarantine. But numbers have hit national records in recent weeks, prompting officials to say that tougher measures are needed.With regard to the current situation, Merkel said that with the workload in hospitals reaching its limits and patients being transferred to other parts of the country, an “act of national solidarity” was needed.While Thursday’s actions do not equal a vaccine requirement, Merkel also said that would vote for the requirement if she were still a member of the Bundestag when such a measure came up for a vote.Merkel’s likely successor, Olaf Scholz, also called for people to get vaccinated. He had already announced that a general vaccination requirement would be voted on in the Bundestag, and the vote would not be conducted along party lines.Among the other measures decided at the summit were plans to allow pharmacists and dentists to vaccinate against the coronavirus in future, taking some strain off existing providers.The number of participants for sports, cultural and comparable major events in Germany will be significantly restricted to a maximum of 30-50 per cent of the seating capacity. A maximum of 15,000 spectators will be allowed in Bundesliga football stadiums on the coming match days.In sports halls, a maximum of 5,000 spectators will be allowed. In regions with very high infection rates, large events could even to be cancelled or, for sporting events, played behind closed doors. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Peace calls amid tensions in Ukraine-Russia feud Dec 03, 2021 0 0 MEPS push for EU action on rule of law in Poland and Hungary Dec 03, 2021 0 0 Argentina’s ex-president Macri indicted for spying on others Dec 03, 2021 0 0 Suspected IS member from Tunisia arrested near Venice Rome Special investigators of the Italian police have arrested a Tunisian national suspected of terrorism near Venice. Tunisian authorities had issued an international arrest warrant for the 25-year-old, Italian .. Pope Francis welcomed in Cyprus by politicians, clergy and children Rome Pope Francis has embarked on a five-day trip to Cyprus and Greece, landing at Larnaca Airport in Cyprus on Thursday after a three-hour flight. He was welcomed by politicians, clergy and a group of children. “Pope .. EU adopts fifth sanctions package against Belarus over border crisis dpa Brussels EU ministers have adopted a fifth package of sanctions on Belarus at a council meeting on Thursday, according to diplomatic sources. The retaliatory measures target 17 individuals and 11 entities deemed ..