Germany limits NYE gatherings to 10 people – ‘We cannot close our eyes to next wave’

Olaf Scholz is sworn in as Germany's new chancellor

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In a similar move to Nicola Sturgeon’s decision to cancel all big Hogmanay parties in Scotland, the new German chancellor has decided to limit all NYE gatherings to 10 vaccinated people maximum. Olaf Scholz, Angela Merkel’s successor, said it was only a matter of weeks before Omicron reached Germany.

The variant was already dominant in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Denmark as of Tuesday.

After agreeing with the country’s 16 federal leaders, Mr Scholz said during a press conference: “Before Christmas, I would have liked to break better news to you.

“Even those who have been vaccinated twice and those who have recovered [from COVID-19] run a high risk of contracting this variant.”

He added: “We are calling on all our critical infrastructure organisations — above all the fire brigade, police, rescue services and hospitals — to activate their pandemic plans so that they can keep their core services running.

“We cannot and must not close our eyes to the next wave.

“Vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate remains our goal.

“The coronavirus won’t take a Christmas break.”

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has warned that Germany faces “a massive fifth wave” of infections because of Omicron, which he says can’t really be prevented.

On top of accelerating the booster jab campaign, the German Government will close all clubs and discos from 28 December.

Major sporting events will be held in empty stadiums and private gatherings will be limited to 10 vaccinated people.

Authorities remain dissatisfied that only 70.4% of Germany’s population has been fully vaccinated, and 32.6% have received boosters.

The new restrictions follow a recent warning from the World Health Organisation that concluded: “we can see another storm coming.

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“Omicron will dominate in more countries of the region, pushing already stretched health systems further to the brink.”

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