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Germany locks unvaccinated out of public life; mandate looms

Unvaccinated people across Germany will soon be excluded from nonessential stores, restaurants and sports and cultural venues, Chancellor Angela Merkel announces, and parliament will consider a general vaccine mandate as part of efforts to curb coronavirus infections.

Merkel announces the measures after a meeting with federal and state leaders, as the nation again tops 70,000 newly confirmed cases in a 24-hour period. She says the steps are necessary to address concerns that hospitals could become overloaded with patients suffering from COVID-19 infections, which are much more likely to be serious in people who have not been vaccinated.

“The situation in our country is serious,” Merkel tells reporters in Berlin, calling the measures an “act of national solidarity.”

She says officials also agreed on a nationwide requirement to wear masks, new limits on private meetings and a goal of 30 million vaccinations by the end of the year — an effort that will be boosted by allowing dentists and pharmacists to administer the shots.

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