Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister

·28-min read
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - MATTHIAS RIETSCHEL /REUTERS
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - MATTHIAS RIETSCHEL /REUTERS

Germany's acting health minister Jens Spahn has issued his strongest warning yet to the country's vaccine reluctant as Europe's largest economy desperately tries to avoid another lockdown.

"Probably by the end of this winter, as is sometimes cynically said, pretty much everyone in Germany will be vaccinated, cured or dead," Mr Spahn said, blaming "the very contagious delta variant".

"That is why we so urgently recommend vaccination," he added.

His warning comes as outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that the country's current Covid curbs are "not enough" to rein in a fourth wave currently crashing over the country.

"We have a highly dramatic situation - the current rules are not enough," Mrs Merkel told a meeting of leaders of her conservative CDU party, participants said, as new infections "double every 12 days".

04:56 PM

Austrians allowed to ski despite lockdown

A new national coronavirus lockdown in Austria does not apply to the ski slopes, reports Justin Huggler from Berlin.

Austrians are barred from restaurants, pubs, gyms, cinemas and all non-essential shops, and have been ordered to stay at home as much as possible.

But they are still free to leave their four walls to get exercise and fresh air — and skiing counts, after a last minute reprieve from the government.

Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - amriphoto/E+ 
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - amriphoto/E+

Ski lifts and cable cars will continue to operate as an “essential service”, but will only be open to those with proof of vaccination or recovery from the virus.

The Austrian authorities said it was a question of safety to provide cable cars to prevent people getting stuck on the mountains.

You can read Justin's report in full here.

04:37 PM

Slovakia "intensively" looking at Covid lockdown possibility, PM says

Slovakia's Prime Minister Eduard Heger is intensively considering a possible three-week lockdown, like that imposed in Austria, amid a jump in Covid-19 cases, his office has said.

The idea has been put forward by the Health Ministry, and Mr Heger said expert opinion would be key in any decision.

Slovakia would be the second nation in Europe to return to a full lockdown, after Austria entered one today.

The Eastern European nation began a lockdown of the unvaccinated today, much as Austria did one week prior to introducing full national restrictions.

04:18 PM

Covid around the world, in pictures

Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - Pavel Golovkin /AP
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - Pavel Golovkin /AP
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - CHRISTIAN BRUNA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock 
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - CHRISTIAN BRUNA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - DIVYAKANT SOLANKI/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock 
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - DIVYAKANT SOLANKI/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - MORRIS MAC MATZEN /AFP
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - MORRIS MAC MATZEN /AFP

04:02 PM

Covid surge a 'wake-up call' for rich countries

The Covid-19 surge in Europe could be a "wake-up call" for high-income countries that had previously believed they were over the worst of the pandemic, according to an independent body tasked with reforming global health, reports our Global Health Security correspondent Jennifer Rigby.

Co-chair of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR), former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark, said: "Perhaps this wave that's going through Europe now will be a wake-up call because I think high income countries rested on their laurels [because of the numbers vaccinated], thinking maybe this will be the end of it. No way. We are nowhere near through this."

Ms Clark was speaking as the IPPPR, which called Covid-19 a "Chernobyl" moment for global health, released a report criticising the lack of action so far on major change to fight this pandemic and prevent the next one.

You can read more on this here.

03:41 PM

'The chaos in Europe proves England was right to end restrictions in the summer

Critics said it would turn Britain into a 'plague island', but reopening in July has proved to be a masterstroke, says Christopher Snowdon, the Head of Lifestyle Economics at the IEA.

With cases of Covid-19 soaring across Europe, the people who were calling Britain a "plague island" a few weeks ago no longer look so clever. When Eastern Europe saw a surge in infections in October, it was easy to blame low rates of vaccination. But Ireland, Belgium, Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands have since overtaken the UK. Germany and Switzerland are close behind, while exponential growth in France and Italy suggests that it is only a matter of time before most of Western Europe is in serious trouble.

This is not a good place to be with winter approaching, and it explains why England dropped all restrictions in July.

You can read Christopher's views in full here.

03:18 PM

Russia's coronavirus deaths still hover near all-time highs

Russia's coronavirus death toll was still hovering near all-time highs today, but the number of new infections continued to decline.

The state coronavirus task force reported 1,241 Covid-19 deaths, down from the pandemic's record of 1,254 recorded last week.

The task force also reported 35,681 new confirmed cases, reflecting a steady downward trend since early November when the daily numbers topped 41,000, the highest level since the start of the pandemic.

The surge in deaths comes amid low vaccination rates and lax public attitudes in Russia toward taking precautions. About 40 per cent of Russia's nearly 146 million people have been fully vaccinated, even though the country approved a domestically developed Covid-19 vaccine - Sputnik V - months before most of the world.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that on Sunday he got a booster shot of Sputnik Light, a single-dose version of Sputnik V that he received in the spring. Putin said he was feeling fine and felt no side effects.

The Kremlin has delegated the power to introduce restrictions to regional authorities depending on the local situation, and many provinces across Russia have tightened restrictions, allowing access to public places only to those who are immunized or test negative for the virus.

Kazan, the central city of the Russian province of Tatarstan, today became the first in Russia to start demanding QR codes proving vaccination, past illness or a negative coronavirus test on public transport.

About 500 people were denied access to public transport in the city of 1.2 million, and a conflict between a passenger and controllers led to a brief suspension of service on one of the city's tram lines.

02:57 PM

Government to review Covid-19 travel rules in January

England's rules for international travel will be reviewed in January, the aviation minister said.

Robert Courts said he wants the aviation sector to "bounce back" from the Covid-19 pandemic as he confirmed the regulations for people arriving in the country will be reassessed.

Despite an easing of the regulations last month, even fully vaccinated travellers continue to be required to pay for a test when they enter the UK.

There are also complaints that the passenger locator form all arrivals must submit is too complicated.

Speaking at the Airlines 2021 conference in Westminster, Mr Courts said: "We all want to see aviation bounce back.

"We all want to reduce not just testing but all the restrictive measures."

He went on: "We're going to review the policy in January. We'll be looking to see what we can do at that stage."

The minister refused to be drawn on what aspects of the travel rules could be amended.

02:45 PM

Spain’s move toward Covid-19 passport use halted by judges

The Basque Country in northern Spain has seen its plan to introduce the use of Covid-19 passports at nightlife venues blocked by the region’s top court, reports James Badcock from Madrid.

The court ruled that the measures were an unjustified limitation on the basic liberties of gathering and free movement.

Faced by rising levels of infection, the Basque government had moved to emulate similar measures requiring a Covid pass to access clubs and large social events already in force in the regions of Galicia, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. Other regional administrations are also preparing similar plans.

The Basque Country reported on Monday a seven-day cumulative case rate of 184 per 100,000 inhabitants, one of the highest in Spain, where the average remains under 100.

The plan was to demand that anyone attending a nightclub or music venue would need a QR code showing they have either been vaccinated, tested negative or can prove having had Covid-19. The Basque government could appeal the decision to Spain’s Supreme Court.

Fewer than 10 per cent of Spanish people over the minimum age of 12 have not been vaccinated, but there is still concern that pressure could build on the healthcare system as winter arrives.

02:33 PM

'More action, less talk' to prevent next pandemic now

The Covid-19 surge in Europe could be a "wake-up call" for high-income countries that had previously believed they were over the worst of the pandemic, according to an independent body tasked with reforming global health.

Co-chair of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR), former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark, said:

"Perhaps this wave that's going through Europe now will be a wake-up call because I think high income countries rested on their laurels [because of the numbers vaccinated], thinking maybe this will be the end of it. No way. We are nowhere near through this."

Ms Clark was speaking as the IPPPR, which called Covid-19 a "Chernobyl" moment for global health, released a report criticising the lack of action so far on major change to fight this pandemic and prevent the next one.

Read more here.

02:20 PM

EU starts J&J Covid-19 vaccine booster evaluation

The EU's drug watchdog on Monday said it was evaluating an application by Johnson & Johnson for its Covid-19 vaccine booster shot to be used on people aged 18 and over in the bloc.

If approved, the booster will be the third in the 27-nation European Union for adults and will be given at least two months after a first single-shot dose.

"EMA's human medicines committee (CHMP) will carry out an accelerated assessment of data submitted by the company that markets the vaccine," the European Medicines Agency said, adding an outcome was "expected within weeks."

The data assessed by the Amsterdam-based EMA will include results from more than 14,000 adults who have received a second dose of the Covid-19 Vaccine Janssen or a placebo, the agency said.

Two other booster shots with vaccines made by Pfizer/Biontech and Moderna have already been approved for use in the EU.

The regulator has also currently approved four vaccines for use: Pfizer and Moderna, which use messenger RNA technology, and AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, which use viral vector technology.

02:00 PM

Travel restrictions will do more harm than good, says tourism board

European travel and tourism associations have told the EU reintroducing travel restrictions would do nothing to reduce coronavirus infections and just harm crisis-hit economies, reports our Europe editor James Crisp.

They warned up to 900,000 jobs could be lost, if restrictions were re-imposed this winter.

They also urged the EU to agree common coronavirus rules rather than rely on a patchwork of different national measures to help revive the crisis-hiot sector.

Austria, a major skiing destination, has banned tourists ahead of the Christmas season as it reenters lockdown.

"The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has stated that in the current epidemiological situation travel restrictions are ineffective in reducing virus transmission, hospitalisations, or deaths," the associations said.

"In these circumstances, considering that the EU adult population is now 76.6 per cent vaccinated and with community transmission already high in most EU Member States, measures aimed at limiting border crossing would indeed not carry any public health benefit, but would negatively impact local economies."

01:42 PM

Cases spike across Europe

Cases across Europe are skyrocketing, leaving governments in a mad dash to reintroduce restrictions and roll out booster campaigns...

However, there is hope, as evidence from the UK shows that booster jabs provide significant relief when it comes to breaking a rising tide of infections...

01:25 PM

ICU doctors urge all Italians to get vaccinated

Italian doctors working in intensive care units have appealed to the non-vaccinated to get jabbed amid a worrying rise in infections, repots Nick Squires from Rome.

They said the country's ICUs risk being overwhelmed in the next few weeks, as the number of new daily cases reaches around 10,000.

"After being admitted to intensive care, Covid-19 patients have a risk of death of between 30 per cent and 75 per cent," said Antonino Giarratano, the president of the Italian Society of Anesthesia, Analgesic Resuscitation and Intensive Care doctors.

"We ask all Italians to get vaccinated and those who got vaccinated over six months ago to have the third dose, to use facemasks and wash their hands."

People aged over 40 are being encouraged to have their booster shots, six months after their second shot.

So far, around 84 per cent of Italians aged over 12 have been double jabbed.

That still leaves several million Italians who are refusing to have the vaccine.

01:07 PM

Germany's current Covid curbs 'not enough': Angela Merkel

Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that existing measures are insufficient to tame a vicious fourth wave of the pandemic.

"We have a highly dramatic situation - the current rules are not enough," Mrs Merkel told a meeting of leaders of her conservative CDU party, participants said, as new infections "double every 12 days".

However, despite Mrs Merkel's comments, Germany does not appear to be heading for lockdown -- at least for now, according to our Germany correspondent Justin Huggler.

Mrs Merkel is currently only a caretaker chancellor. She is set to stand down in two weeks and the incoming government has made clear it opposes a lockdown.

The emergency law under which Germany can impose national lockdown expires on Thursday and the incoming government does not want to renew it.

Instead it has passed a new set of measures which stop short of lockdowns or curfews.

Mrs Merkel has made it clear on several occasions she is not happy with the new approach, but she no longer commands a majority in parliament.

12:50 PM

Belgian PM slams 'unacceptable' Covid protest violence

Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander de Croo has denounced an "absolutely unacceptable" outbreak of violence during a 35,000-strong Brussels street protest against tougher anti-Covid measures.

Three police officers were hurt on Sunday when opponents of tougher vaccine pass rules, imposed to head off a new wave of coronavirus infections, threw stones and set fires in the city centre.

Last week, the government announced the reimposition of tougher vaccine rules, including mandatory home working for some and mandatory mask-wearing.

"We live in a free country, we can protest, but the way in which some demonstrators behaved had nothing to do with freedom," Mr De Croo complained.

"It had nothing to do with whether vaccination was a good thing or not, this was criminal behaviour."

Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - KENZO TRIBOUILLARD /AFP
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - KENZO TRIBOUILLARD /AFP
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - Anadolu Agency /Anadolu 
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - Anadolu Agency /Anadolu
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - Anadolu Agency /Anadolu 
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - Anadolu Agency /Anadolu
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - STEPHANIE LECOCQ/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock 
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - STEPHANIE LECOCQ/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock

12:34 PM

Kenya to seek proof of Covid vaccination

Kenyans will have to prove they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to gain access to government services and public places such as national parks, bars and restaurants under new health regulations.

The move comes despite Kenya recording a declining number of coronavirus infections in recent weeks, but against a backdrop of heightened restrictions in some European countries that are battling soaring cases.

Kenya will require people to show vaccination certificates from Dec 21, and is planning a 10-day mass inoculation campaign from Nov 26, Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said in a statement issued late Sunday.

Visitors from Europe will also have to provide proof of full vaccination, he added.

Kenya, Kagwe said, has seen a "marked decrease" in the number of severe cases and deaths, with a positivity rate over the last 14 days ranging from 0.8 per cent to 2.6 per cent.

Since the start of the pandemic, the East African powerhouse has recorded a total of 254,629 cases and 5,325 deaths.

12:17 PM

European Commission appeals for calm

The European Commission has appealed for calm after the protests against coronavirus restrictions across Europe, reports our Europe editor James Crisp.

'We understand that on a personal level people can be tired of restrictions, but it's important from a community level to stick together and to follow them because that's the way out of the pandemic,' a spokesperson said.

The continent has been rocked by a weekend of violent protests, particularly in Belgium and the Netherlands.

12:00 PM

Austria enters full lockdown, pin pictures

Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - Vadim Ghirda /AP
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - Vadim Ghirda /AP
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - LUKAS BARTH /REUTERS
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - LUKAS BARTH /REUTERS
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - BARBARA GINDL /AFP
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - BARBARA GINDL /AFP
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - Anadolu Agency /Anadolu  
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - Anadolu Agency /Anadolu

11:43 AM

Czechs, Slovaks target unvaccinated people in step behind Austria

The Czech Republic and Slovakia banned unvaccinated people from pubs and services from Monday after a surge in Covid-19 cases filled hospitals' intensive care wards, with most of the seriously patients not inoculated.

The central European neighbours both adopted the new measures last week, a step behind Austria which first set restrictions on unvaccinated people but went for a full lockdown on Monday as the region experienced the world's latest hotspot.

The Czech government has dispatched soldiers to help at strained hospitals - which together had over 700 people in intensive care units. Later on Monday the government was due to discuss calling a state of emergency to give it extra powers to order medical students to help.

Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - MILAN KAMMERMAYER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock 
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - MILAN KAMMERMAYER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock

The new Czech measures will only allow people who have been vaccinated or who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months to visit restaurants, hotels, services or public events like sports games.

Doctors' representatives said the action was too little, too late. "As the Medical Chamber we are calling for the immediate introduction of measures that have come to be known as lockdown," the chamber's chief Milan Kubek said on Czech Television.

"We are calling for the quick introduction of compulsory vaccination of healthcare workers, workers in social services and we recommend it for education as well."

In large parts of Slovakia, the government ordered restaurants to close to all inhouse meals and serve-take out meals only, as well as restricting access to services for the unvaccinated.

Slovakia has the EU's third-lowest rate of people receiving one dose at 46.8 per cent, according to European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), while 60 per cent of the Czech population has at least one dose of the vaccine.

11:27 AM

Protests erupt across Europe against new lockdown rules and mandatory vaccines

It was a violent weekend across some parts of Europe, as the reintroduction of coronavirus restrictions sparked backlash.

Protests were particularly strong in Belgium and the Netherlands, with fires lit and protesters smashing police vehicles.

You can read our full report on the weekend's happenings here and watch our video on events below.

11:09 AM

EU European Affairs ministers to discuss new travel restrictions

EU European Affairs ministers will discuss climbing Covid infection rates across Europe at a meeting in Brussels to prepare for next month's European Council summit, reports our Europe Editor James Crisp.

While Austria has already reintroduced a tourism ban during its return to lockdown, European Commission work on updating travel recommendations for its member states remain at a very early stage. It is possible that the idea of including booster shots on the EU coronavirus vaccine passport will be discussed but not final decision will be made on Tuesday.

In any case EU recommendations are just that and national governments retain responsibility for health and border policy in most cases, meaning any decision on new travel restrictions will be made by national leaders.

The December EU summit in Brussels will see heads of state and government discuss coordination of response to the Covid pandemic and measures underway to boost the bloc's resilience to further crises.

10:51 AM

Dutch anti-Covid unrest 'pure violence' by 'idiots': PM Mark Rutte

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has labelled a nationwide weekend of unrest "pure violence" committed by "idiots".

After the reintroduction of restrictions, which include the closure of restaurants and bars by 8pm, cities across the country were embroiled in violent protests.

Riots in several cities around the country since Friday "is pure violence under the guise of protest," the premier said. He added he would always defend the right to protest, but "I will never accept that idiots use pure violence," he told Dutch media.

Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - CORNE SPARIDAENS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock 
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - CORNE SPARIDAENS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - DANNY KEMP /AFP
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end, warns health minister - DANNY KEMP /AFP

10:31 AM

Fears over current Covid wave 'gone too far': Eric Zemmour

Eric Zemmour, the hard-Right French political commentator and probable presidential candidate played down fears over a new Covid wave sweeping Europe as overblown, reports our France correspondent Henry Samuel.

"We need to put this epidemic back in the right proportion. We have played a lot on people's fears. We have gone too far, and we've been going too far since the beginning," the TV pundit and polemist told France Info radio.

Mr Zemmour's stance contrasts with the position of governments across Europe, which are reintroducing restrictions on movement to curb a fifth wave of the pandemic, with Austria on Monday going into a full lockdown.

"During the first lockdown, it was as if we were going through the blitz, as if we were bombarded by the German army in London every day and it helped the (Macron) government," he claimed.

Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end - Hollie Adams /Bloomberg
Covid latest news: Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter's end - Hollie Adams /Bloomberg

French opinion polls see Mr Zemmour as challenging and even beating rival far-right politician Marine Le Pen, from the Rassemblement National party, for a ticket to the second runoff in next year's election. Incumbent Emmanuel Macron remains the clear favourite and likely second-round winner.

Mr Zemmour, known for his hardline position on issues such as immigration, Islam and national identity, said he would roll out a third, Covid vaccine booster shot only for those aged over 65. The third jab will be available to the other 50s starting Dec 5 in France, where regulators also recommend making it available to those aged over 40.

He also said he would aim eventually to scrap the Covid-19 health pass currently used in France, used to show proof vaccination status to enter bars, restaurants, museums and sports venues.

He said the pass was "not a priority issue" but was part of the government's "tactical craftiness" to avoid talking about the "major issue", which he believes is immigration.

The French government has admitted that the rise in new cases has become "meteoric". While mainland France has not seen the same unrest linked to pressure to get vaccinated as in the Netherlands, say, its overseas departement of Guadeloupe has experienced riots and roadblocks in recent days. The interior ministry has sent special forces to quell the unrest and 38 people were arrested over the weekend with 30 people facing fast-track trials on Monday.

Mr Zemmour spent last weekend in London, courting the city's large expatriate French population. He is expected to confirm his presidential candidacy on December.

This weekend, Mr Zemmour spoke exclusively with the Telegraph. You can read the full interview here.

10:13 AM

Situation in Guadeloupe 'very explosive': Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday called the situation on the the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe "very explosive" and said public order must be maintained in the overseas territory.

Violence erupted last week after walkouts organised by the territory's labour unions to challenge local Covid-19 restrictions, such as the mandatory vaccination of health workers, degenerated into civil unrest.

Local police have arrested at least 38 people and dozens of stores have been looted. French media reported on Sunday that rioters had broken into an arms depot in the coastal city of Pointe-a-Pitre and taken rifles.

Speaking to journalists on Monday, Macron said that Guadeloupe must pursue its vaccination campaign.

Over the weekend, the French Interior Ministry dispatched elite police and counter-terrorism officers to the island to help local law enforcement restore order.

Covid latest news: Austria plunged into lockdown as violent protests erupt across Europe - Elodie Soupama /AP
Covid latest news: Austria plunged into lockdown as violent protests erupt across Europe - Elodie Soupama /AP
Covid latest news: Austria plunged into lockdown as violent protests erupt across Europe - Elodie Soupama /AP
Covid latest news: Austria plunged into lockdown as violent protests erupt across Europe - Elodie Soupama /AP

09:55 AM

Germans will be 'vaccinated, cured or dead' by winter end

Germany's acting health minister Jens Spahn has this morning renewed calls for all Germans to get vaccinated, saying all citizens will be "vaccinated, cured or dead" by the end of winter.

"Probably by the end of this winter, as is sometimes cynically said, pretty much everyone in Germany will be vaccinated, cured or dead," Mr Spahn said, blaming "the very contagious delta variant".

"That is why we so urgently recommend vaccination," he added.

Speaking at a news conference this morning amidst an increasingly devastating wave of infections, Mr Spahn said that only "social distancing and political resolve" can break the fourth wave.

He assured the German public that the country has more than enough supply of both the BioNTech and Moderna jabs and that it is up to the public to make meet this demand.

Germany is facing the reintroduction of coronavirus restrictions as cases begin to rise steeply. Germany's vaccination uptake remains relatively low, with just 68 per cent of the population fully inoculated.

There have been calls to make vaccination mandatory while a lockdown has also been threatened.

09:35 AM

In pictures: fresh protests and violence

A fresh wave of protests broke out in several European cities and in some French overseas territories Sunday, as protesters reacted, sometimes violently, to moves to reintroduce coronavirus restrictions.

Police and protesters clashed in the Belgian capital Brussels, in several Dutch cities and there were fresh demonstrations in Austria, where the government is imposing a new lockdown and Covid-19 vaccine mandate.

Belgian firefighters work to put out a fire during a demonstration  - KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP
Belgian firefighters work to put out a fire during a demonstration - KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP
Demonstrators burn flares during a demonstration in Brussels - KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP
Demonstrators burn flares during a demonstration in Brussels - KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP
People gather for a protest against the health pass - Shutterstock
People gather for a protest against the health pass - Shutterstock
Protesters face riot place clash during an anti-coronavirus measures protest - STEPHANIE LECOCQ/Shutterstock
Protesters face riot place clash during an anti-coronavirus measures protest - STEPHANIE LECOCQ/Shutterstock

09:16 AM

New Zealand to scrap lockdowns early next month

New Zealand will end a three-and-a-half-month lockdown in the country's largest city Auckland early next month as it adopts a new coronavirus control strategy, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday.

Ms Ardern said that from 11.59pm on Dec 2, New Zealand would adopt a new Covid-19 response - first flagged last month - that aims to contain the highly contagious delta variant, rather than attempting to eliminate it completely.

"The hard truth is that delta is here and not going away," she told reporters.

"While no country has been able to eliminate delta completely, New Zealand is better positioned than most to tackle it."

Ms Ardern's coronavirus response until now has strived for "Covid Zero" elimination, with strict lockdowns, rigorous contact tracing and tight border controls.

While it has resulted in just 40 deaths in a population of five million, pressure had been building to end a lockdown in Auckland imposed in mid-August when delta was first detected.

09:00 AM

French possible presidential candidate Zemmour: Covid fears are overblown

Eric Zemmour, the hard-right French political commentator and possible presidential candidate, said on Monday that he felt fears over the Covid-19 virus had been overblown.

"We have gone too far, and we have gone too far since the beginning," Mr Zemmour told France Info radio.

But support has fallen for Mr Zemmour, according to a new poll that came amid reports of tensions in his campaign team.

The poll by the OpinionWay survey group measuring voter intentions for the first round of next year's election showed support for him down by a point compared with October, to 12 per cent.

The results mirrored trends seen in two other surveys published last week by the Odoxa and Elabe groups, which also indicated that support for the ultra-nationalist had slipped.

All three show him falling behind the veteran far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, whom Mr Zemmour briefly eclipsed in surveys during October after a media blitz.

08:45 AM

Booster jabs vital for Christmas

Booster jabs are vital for ensuring the UK remains open as we head towards Christmas, Stephen Powis, national medical director for England has, told BBC Radio 4.

"Recent analysis here in the UK has shown that the third dose gives you over 90 per cent protection against symptomatic disease, so these are highly effective vaccines.

"The first two doses have given substantial immunity within the population, but the third dose gives you that extra level of protection that will protect you, it of course protects your loved ones because you are less likely to catch the disease and pass it on.

"It helps society remain open as we head towards Christmas."

08:30 AM

Australia to reopen to foreign visa holders

Australia will allow foreign visa holders to enter the country from December, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, the latest step to restart international travel and support its economy.

The rules were relaxed in recent weeks to allow foreign family members of citizens to enter, and Mr Morrison said this will be scaled up from Dec 1 to allow vaccinated students, business visa holders and refugees to arrive.

The relaxation of the border rules is expected to ease labour shortages, which threaten to stymie an economic rebound.

08:12 AM

Vaccine passports would allow infections to be missed

Vaccine passports that exempt vaccinated people from regular Covid-19 testing would allow many infections to be missed, Israeli data suggest.

Researchers analysed infection rates in citizens returning to Israel through Ben-Gurion airport, for whom PCR tests upon arrival are required regardless of vaccination status.

In August 2021, the rate of positive tests among vaccinated travellers was more than double the rate among the unvaccinated, said Retsef Levi of the MIT Sloan School of Management, coauthor of a report posted on the SSRN server ahead of peer review.

The data suggested that limiting frequent Covid-19 testing to unvaccinated people would "pose potential risks by reinforcing the misrepresentation that vaccinated individuals are protected from infections."

07:52 AM

Good morning

Good morning and welcome to The Telegraph's Covid-19 liveblog. Here's a snapshot of the latest news from around the world:

  • Austria powered down public life on Monday as its fourth national Covid-19 lockdown began, making it the first western European country to reimpose the drastic and unpopular measure this autumn.

  • Australia will allow foreign visa holders to enter the country from December, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, the latest step to restart international travel and support its economy.

  • New Zealand will end a three-and-a-half-month lockdown in the country's largest city Auckland early next month as it adopts a new coronavirus control strategy, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday.

  • US regulators expanded eligibility for booster shots of Covid-19 vaccines to all adults on Friday, allowing millions more Americans to get additional protection against the virus amid a recent rise in infections.

  • Singapore's government is easing some of the tight social curbs it imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19, after infections stabilised in the city-state over the past month.

  • Vaccine passports that exempt vaccinated people from regular Covid-19 testing would allow many infections to be missed, Israeli data suggest.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting