Germans need to take the “malicious” coronavirus more seriously and get vaccinated, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday, in the farewell edition of her weekly podcast.
“We are in a very serious situation in the midst of this fourth pandemic wave. In some parts of our country, it can only be described as dramatic,” Merkel said, referring to “overcrowded” intensive care units and patients having to be flown around the country to get treatment.
Germany has seen a surge of COVID-19 infections since mid-October, currently recording a seven-day average of 687 cases and 4 deaths per million people.
“Day after day, a terribly high number of people have their lives claimed by the virus … This is so bitter because it could be avoided,” said Merkel, who is due to step down next week. “With effective and safe vaccines, we hold the key.”
Merkel warned that the Omicron variant “seems to be even more contagious than the previous ones.”
“I urge you once again, take this malicious virus seriously,” she said. “Get vaccinated. No matter whether it is the first shot or a booster. Every vaccination helps.”
About 68 percent of the German population is fully vaccinated. On Thursday, the government imposed a lockdown on people who have not had their jabs.