In the deadly fourth Covid wave sweeping Germany, Bavaria and Saxony are among the hardest affected regions.
As the country struggles to prevent rising coronavirus infections, the German states of Bavaria and Saxony cancelled all of their Christmas markets on Friday and announced significant restrictions on public life.
“The situation is very, very serious and tough,” said Markus Soeder, the premier of Bavaria’s southern state, who also declared a ban on nightclubs, pubs, and restaurant service.
Similar measures were announced in the eastern state of Saxony, which went even further by closing all sporting and cultural institutions, prohibiting tourism and public consumption of alcohol, and excluding unvaccinated people from non-essential shops and hairdressers.
Many of the restrictions would affect the unvaccinated as well, according to Saxony Premier Michael Kretschmer, whose state has Germany’s lowest vaccination rate at just under 60% of the population.
He did, however, say that tough action was required to prevent hospitals from being overburdened, and he appealed for “solidarity” among all citizens. “In this pandemic, we need more ‘we’ and less ‘I,'” he told reporters.
In the devastating fourth Covid wave sweeping Germany, Bavaria and Saxony are among the hardest afflicted regions.
According to the Robert Koch Institute health agency, Germany had a weekly incidence rate of 340.7 documented infections per 100,000 persons on Friday, although Saxony (593.6) and Bavaria had much higher rates (625.3).
– ‘Of course, health’ –
Munich, the Bavarian state capital, was the first major German city to cancel its Christmas market for the second year in a row on Tuesday. The cancellations in Saxony have resulted in the cancellation of the famous Dresden Christmas fair.
Every year, some 2,500 Christmas markets are held in Germany, attracting tourists who come to sample mulled wine and roasted chestnuts while shopping for seasonal items among clusters of wooden chalets.
According to the BSM stallkeepers’ business group, they drew roughly 160 million domestic and international visitors yearly in pre-pandemic times, bringing in revenues of three to five billion euros ($3.4 billion to $5.6 billion).
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