Percorso:ANSA > Nuova Europa > Analysis > Germany's next coalition struggles as Covid resurges

Germany's next coalition struggles as Covid resurges

Hospitals will reach capacity in the first two weeks of December

17 November, 09:37
Olaf Scholz Meets With Climate Activists At Friedrich Ebert Foundation Olaf Scholz Meets With Climate Activists At Friedrich Ebert Foundation

(ANSA-AFP) - BERLIN, NOV 17 - A ferocious fourth wave of coronavirus presents the first major test for Germany's coalition-in-waiting, caught off guard and scrambling to agree on a response before it even takes office. On Tuesday, the weekly incidence rate of the virus hit another high one day after surpassing 300 out of every 100,000 people, the first time it had crossed the threshold, fuelled in part by sluggish vaccination rates. In Bavaria, and the east German states of Thuringia and Saxony, the situation is reaching a critical point amid warnings that hospitals across the country will hit capacity in the first two weeks of December. The incoming government is recommending that people need to be vaccinated or prove a negative Covid test to use public transport and wants to re-impose working from home rules where there is no "compelling business reason". The prospective coalition partners will formally present their coronavirus proposals to the lower house of German parliament for approval on Thursday. A crisis meeting between the government and the heads of Germany's 16 states is also scheduled for Thursday, with the aim of better coordinating the country's coronavirus response. But the vacuum created by a government in transition has sown confusion. On Monday, a leading Green parliamentarian announced a vaccination requirement for health professionals, before being forced to row back. The suggestion is still on the drawing board in talks between her party, the Social Democrats and the liberal Free Democrats, who said Tuesday they plan to lay out a draft coalition contract next week.

Would-be chancellor Olaf Scholz from the centre-left Social Democrats, who has been accused of staying in the background as the Covid crisis rages, said it was "right to start a debate" about vaccine mandates for certain professions. His vagueness drew immediate criticism from Der Spiegel weekly, which accused him of copying Merkel in staying on the fence until the last minute. "Merkel herself couldn't have said it better, or less precise," it wrote. The growing wave in a country that has recorded over five million infections during the pandemic is the first test for the incoming coalition before it has even put pen to paper on a deal. "We have difficult weeks ahead of us," outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday. "With the number of cases we have at the moment, hospitals across the country will reach capacity in the first two weeks of December," Social Democrat health expert Karl Lauterbach said. As such, access to public transport including "to school and taxis" will be limited to people who have been vaccinated, recovered or tested negative, according to a draft text seen by AFP.


© Copyright ANSA - All rights reserved