Germany’s health minister has warned that everyone in the country will either be “vaccinated, recovered or dead,” from COVID-19 by the end of winter.
Speaking at a press conference in Berlin on Monday, Jens Spahn’s stark assessment was aimed at “urgently recommending” as many people as possible get vaccinated. Germany has seen a considerable rise in the number of COVID cases across the country over the past few weeks, with around 30,000 new cases reported over the weekend, almost double the number from the previous week.
Spahn's warning comes as multiple countries across Western Europe have moved to implement new measures to combat rising cases. Starting today, Austria has reintroduced a full national lockdown, coming one week after all unvaccinated people were ordered to stay at home.
Police take security measures around the site as demonstrators gather around Nord Train Station to protest against mandatory Covid-19 vaccine, in Brussels. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Further restrictions have also been implemented in the Netherlands and Belgium, where tens of thousands of anti-lockdown protesters took to the streets of major cities in both countries over the weekend.
Water cannons were used in The Hague on Friday and Saturday nights as riots broke out after a day of demonstrations, leading to dozens of arrests and multiple injuries to police officers and protesters.
Anti-riot forces clear the streets of The Hague as riots erupt amid new COVID-19 restrictions. Photo: Pierre Crom/Getty Images
In Brussels on Sunday, an estimated 35,000 protesters took to the streets to demonstrate against the potential introduction of a vaccine mandate. Some chanted anti-fascist songs, while a more violent minority set fire to rubbish bins and vandalised cars.
Much smaller anti-lockdown protests were seen in Croatia, Italy, Austria and Switzerland as European countries brace for a fourth wave of the pandemic.