German health minister expects virus surge around New Year's

AP , Thursday 23 Dec 2021

Germany's health minister said Thursday that he expects a surge in coronavirus cases around New Year's, and people will likely need a fourth vaccine shot to maintain the best immune response against COVID-19.

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach
German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach wears a face mask as he arrives to address a press conference on the situation of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in Germany, in Berlin on December 22, 2021. AFP

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach told public radio network WDR 2 that Germany hasn't yet seen a big, rapid wave of new infections from the omicron variant like some other European countries.

"That will change around New Year and in the first week of January,'' Lauterbach said.

The government is urging Germans to limit their contacts over the holiday period and to get vaccinated, including with booster shots if they've already had their initial vaccines. .

Official figures show 70.7% of the population have received a full course of vaccine, while 35% have had boosters.

Demonstrations against new pandemic restrictions and a planned vaccine mandate have flared up in Germany over the past weeks.

Police said about 5,000 protesters gathered in the center of Munich late Wednesday, with some participants attacking officers. Eleven people were detained.

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