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Half of Europeans now fully vaccinated as Merkel urges more Germans to get jabbed

“The more people are vaccinated, the freer we will be,” Angela Merkel said.

Angela Merkel at a press conference today.
Angela Merkel at a press conference today.
Image: DPA/PA Images

MORE THAN HALF of all European adults are now fully vaccinated, the EU said today.

In Ireland, the figure stands at around 66% fully vaccinated and 80% having received at least one dose. 

The EU said today that 200 million Europeans had been fully vaccinated, more than half of the adult population but still short of a 70% target set for the summer.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said cases in her country were rising “exponentially”.

Merkel urged more Germans to get vaccinated, sounding the alarm over a fresh spike of cases in Germany.

“We are seeing exponential growth,” she told a news conference in Berlin, adding that “every vaccination… is a small step towards a return to normality”.

The more people are vaccinated, the freer we will be – not only as individuals, but also as a community.

Germany began easing pandemic restrictions in May and has now reopened restaurants, shops, pools and museums, as well as easing limits on public and private gatherings.

As of today, 60.4% of Germans had received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose, with 48% of people fully vaccinated.

Germany has seen an incidence rate of 12.2 new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days – more than double rates in early July.

“With a rising incidence rate, it could be that we need to introduce additional measures,” Merkel said.

European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde warned of growing economic uncertainty caused by the Delta variant, as the bank kept its vast stimulus for the eurozone firmly in place following a meeting of its 25-member governing council.

“The euro area economy is rebounding strongly,” Lagarde said, but the Delta variant could damp the post-lockdown recovery “in services, especially in tourism and hospitality”, she said.

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France this week rolled out new rules requiring a so-called health pass for all events or places with more than 50 people before being extended to restaurants, cafes and shopping centres in August.

People need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to gain access, after the country reported a new surge with 21,000 new cases yesterday, the highest level since early May.

Italy has also said a health pass would be mandatory for people wishing to access bars, restaurants, swimming pools, sports facilities, museums and theatres from August 6.

It will also be necessary for people wanting to attend sports events, concerts and seminars.

Countries in Asia are seeing some of their worst outbreaks to date, with Indonesia becoming a new global hotspot as Vietnam and Thailand face new rules.

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