German federal and regional authorities are considering the reintroduction of severe restrictions for the unvaccinated population, as the number of infections and deaths due to coronavirus disease has reached a level unseen since last spring.
The number of new infections reported on Tuesday, at 32,048, was up 47% compared with a month ago, while the number of deaths increased by 265, the steepest jump since May.
Lawmakers are preparing legislation to require tests or proof of vaccination to go to work or use public transportation. “That is in reality a lockdown for the unvaccinated that is on the way,” a social-democrat leader in Parliament said Tuesday.
Hendrik Wüst, the premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, asked this week that tough restrictions be imposed nationwide, ahead of a meeting he will chair Thursday of the country’s 16 regional leaders.
Decision at the national level is however hindered by the fact that Germany for now has a caretaker government, while political parties are still negotiating the terms of a future coalition.
But several German regions, notably the capital Berlin, have already banned access to places such as cinemas, hairdressers, restaurants, and gyms for unvaccinated people.
Germany has the lowest vaccination uptake in Europe, along with the U.K., with only 67% of the population now fully vaccinated—behind Spain, Italy, and France.