Germany set to go back into lockdown as vaccinations lag
DW, 20 Mar 2021
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says her country could again go into full lockdown if coronavirus case numbers continue to rise. A decision could come as soon as Monday. She was speaking after a virtual summit on the country's troubled vaccination program. National and regional leaders agreed to measures to speed things up. But anger is growing.
Berlin's Tempelhof Airport was used to bring in food to the city's west during the Cold War. After closure, it housed refugees during the 2015 crisis. And now, it's being used as a massive vaccination center. Those who're here to get a shot have to show proof they're eligible:
Until now, relatively few Germans have been vaccinated. The country has been facing vaccine shortages since it launched its program in December. So far, only priority groups - such as the elderly - have received a jab.
But the government says it's expecting vaccine supplies to increase from April. Allowing mass vaccination to begin.
Under the plans, family doctors will be sent vaccine doses. And allowed to decide which of their patients are most in need of protection against COVID-19. And areas along the country's borders with France and the Czech Republic will receive more doses. Case rates there have been especially high, because of the infection numbers in Germany's neighbors.
But even as the German chancellor promised relief to come, she warned that the situation in the country's COVID wards is worsening. Since German leaders decided to partially relax lockdown measures in early March, infections have been rising sharply. Experts are warning tougher measures are inevitable. Merkel agrees:
In recent weeks, some German high streets have reopened due to that relaxed lockdown. Soon, they could again be forced to close. And - with widespread vaccination still a government promise - it's uncertain when the country will be back to normal.
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