UPDATED: Bavaria cancels Christmas markets, Germany can’t rule out lockdown, even for the vaccinated

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Bavaria announced on Friday that it’s canceling all Christmas markets in the state because of soaring coronavirus infections.

The state government has also imposed a lockdown on all districts that have a seven-day COVID incidence rate of over 1,000 per 100,000 people.

In those places, bars, clubs and restaurants, as well as cultural and sport venues will be closed, said state Premier Markus Söder after a meeting of his Cabinet in Munich.

Schools and kindergartens, however, will continue to remain open. 

At present, eight districts in Bavaria have incidence rates of over 1,000.

Germany’s coronavirus situation is so grave that a lockdown, including people who have been vaccinated, cannot be ruled out, the health minister said on Friday, as Austria said it would go back into full lockdown from Monday.

“We are now in a situation – even if this produces a news alert – where we can’t rule anything out,” acting health minister Jens Spahn told a news conference.

Markets reeled on the prospect of a possible German lockdown, with bond yields turning negative, and the euro and stock markets falling sharply.

Austria will become the first country in western Europe to reimpose a full lockdown this autumn to tackle a new wave of infections, and will require its whole population to be vaccinated as of February.

Germany reported 52,970 new coronavirus cases and 201 deaths on Friday, bringing total deaths to 98,739.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that, in areas where hospitals are becoming dangerously full of COVID-19 patients, large parts of public life would be restricted to those who have either been vaccinated or have recovered from the illness.

Germany’s upper house of parliament is expected to pass the new coronavirus measures on Friday.

Spahn also said the health ministry was in talks with Pfizer and other companies to order medicines to treat COVID-19. 

Photo – A road sign showing a pictogram of a mask wearing person is pictured in front of the Quadriga statue of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany. EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN

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