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German health minister says everyone will soon be ‘vaccinated, cured, or dead’

In the midst of Germany’s worst ever spike in COVID-19 infections, Americans have been warned not to travel to the country. Germany’s health minister predicted that due to the uptick in cases, everyone will be “vaccinated, cured or dead” by winter.

On Monday, the U.S. State Department issued a Level 4 travel advisory with a “do not travel” warning for Germany and its European neighbor Denmark as the countries have “a very high level of COVID-19” at this time. German Health Minister Jens Spahn made remarks on the same day: “Probably by the end of this winter … pretty much everyone in Germany will be vaccinated, cured or dead.”

Spahn attributed the record increase in cases to the Delta variant. “It’s true. With the highly contagious Delta variant this is very, very likely, and that’s why we are recommending vaccination so urgently,” Spahn told reporters in Berlin.

According to official figures released on Monday, there were more than 30,000 newly confirmed cases in Germany over the last 24 hours, which represents an increase of 50 percent compared to the week prior. The country is expected this week to surpass 100,000 coronavirus related deaths since the onset of the pandemic nearly two years ago. Currently, about 68 percent of the population is considered fully vaccinated. 

Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to her party at a meeting and said, “We are in a highly dramatic situation. What is in place now is not sufficient.”

Hospitals have warned that ICU capacities are close to exhausted, and some patients have been transferred to clinics in other parts of Germany. Due to the lack of ICU space, the worst-hit regions of the country have imposed new restrictions, mirroring those in neighboring Austria. Restrictions have included closed shops, restaurants, and festive markets. 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: POLITICO

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