Germany

Five Bayern Munich Players Hit With Pay Cut For Refusing to Get Vaccinated

Five unvaccinated footballers who play for German club Bayern Munich have had their wages docked by the club as they have had to spend time in quarantine due to being in close proximity to a Covid-positive person. The football club had previously stated that they will not pay the wages of any player forced into self-isolation as a result of their personal choice not to receive the vaccine. Recently, the five footballers have also been banned from staying in the same hotel as the vaccinated players due to Germany tightening its Covid restrictions. MailOnline has the story.

Bayern Munich have docked the wages of their five unvaccinated players who were forced to quarantine due to coming into contact with a Covid-positive person. 

Serge Gnabry, Joshua Kimmich, Jamal Musiala, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Michael Cuisance have all been told by the German club that they will not be paid for every game or day of training they miss when self-isolating after they all refused to get the vaccine.

According to German news outlet Bild, Bayern told the players last week that they would be withholding pay if anyone missed work due to being unvaccinated.

The report comes days after Bayern suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of local rivals Augsburg on Friday, which saw Kimmich, the midfield star for both Bayern and Germany, miss the encounter after he was forced to quarantine.

Gnabry started that match, while Musiala and Choupo-Moting came on as substitutes, while Cuisance was an unused substitute. Those four players were all then placed into quarantine following a new exposure to Covid, hours after the reports about pay cuts emerged in Germany.

Their Bayern team-mates Niklas Sule and Josip Stanisic had tested positive for Covid last week, with the club confirming that those two players were vaccinated.

Tensions are high in Germany with the country in the grip of a fourth wave of cases and many hospitals full. It has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe, with 68% of people fully vaccinated. “By the end of this winter everyone in Germany will either be vaccinated, recovered or dead,” Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Monday.  

The news of withheld wages comes less than a week after the five Bayern players were told that they have been banned from staying in the same hotel as their team-mates ahead of a match and must travel to games separately too due to tightening restrictions in the country, which is experiencing a spike in Covid cases. 

German news publication Kicker are reporting that the five players are irritated that news of their docked wages has been leaked publicly.

The damning report also revealed that there has been a loss of trust from the players, with team morale low as a result.

Worth reading in full.

Lord Sumption Blasts Authoritarian European Regimes

Lord Sumption has written a blistering comment piece for the Telegraph, attacking the draconian measures being rolled out across continental Europe. Here is an extract:

Across Europe, basic norms of civilised society are giving way to panic. The unvaccinated are being excluded from an ever-wider range of basic rights. Austria has criminalised them. Italy has stopped them doing their jobs. The Dutch police have fired on anti-lockdown demonstrators, seriously injuring some of them. We are witnessing the ultimate folly of frightened politicians who cannot accept that they are impotent in the face of some natural phenomena.

If lockdowns, forced closures of businesses and other brutal countermeasures work, then why are these countries on their fifth wave of the pandemic and their third or fourth lockdown? How long must this go on before we recognise that these measures simply push infections into the period after they are lifted?

The logic of persisting with them now is that they can never be lifted. What were once justified as temporary measures to hold the position until vaccines were available are in danger of being forced on people as permanent changes to their way of life. Perhaps the ugliest feature of the crisis is the politicians’ habit of blaming others for the bankruptcy of their own policies.

Worth reading in full.

The Religious Faith of European leaders in Vaccines Will End in the Imprisonment of the Unvaccinated

I’ve written a comment piece for Mail+ about the failure of vaccine passports and other restrictions on the unvaccinated to avert a Winter Covid crisis in Europe. The logic of the policy seems to be based on a wildly inflated estimate of the effectiveness of the vaccines – but instead of abandoning it when it clearly isn’t working, European governments just keep doubling down. Here is an extract:

In spite of the overwhelming evidence that vaccine passports are ineffective, a majority of the public still want the Government to bring them in. In a poll published yesterday, 58% of English adults said they’d support banning people from bars, restaurants and other public venues if they can’t produce evidence they’ve been double-jabbed or recently tested negative.

The reason for this may be because most people still think of the Covid vaccines as being more effective than they really are. When they were first rolled out, we were assured they offered almost complete protection against the virus.

“You’re not going to get Covid if you have these vaccinations,” said Joe Biden.

“Vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick,” said Dr Rochelle Walensky, a Director of the Centres for Disease Control.

“When people are vaccinated, they can feel safe that they are not going to get infected,” said Dr Anthony Fauci.

We now know that isn’t true. Vaccinated people can still catch COVID-19 and pass it on. The evidence suggests they are less likely to become severely ill or die for the disease, but even those benefits wear off over time, which is why the Government is urging people to get the booster.

If vaccinated people can transmit the virus, what is the point of banning the unvaccinated from bars, restaurants and other public places? You might as well ban people with ginger hair for all the good it will do.

Worth reading in full.

Germany’s Tourism Commissioner Says That Mandatory Vaccination Is Imminent

Thomas Bareiss (pictured), Germany’s Tourism Commissioner, believes that the Government will soon introduce mandatory vaccination for all citizens in an attempt to quash a surge in Covid cases. A supporter of mandatory vaccination measures, Bareiss recently declared that it was the wrong decision not to have introduced the policy much earlier, and that “it is politically no longer justifiable” for the hospitality industry to “live in a state of crisis” while many members of the public “take the freedom not to vaccinate.” Sky News has the story.

Thomas Bareiss said the increasingly worsening situation in his nation makes it clear that sooner or later Covid inoculations will be compulsory and will be “unavoidable”.

He said it was wrong not to make Covid jabs mandatory from the start, but that the decision not to at the time was “understandable”.

Neighbouring Austria has said that vaccines will be mandatory from February 1st.

More restrictions are being introduced across the continent as infections soar and winter sets in.

Austria and the Netherlands have gone back into forms of lockdown, sparking unrest in the past few days.

Germany’s states are introducing restrictions as well, with some regions cancelling their Christmas markets or banning the sale of alcohol.

The nationwide seven-day rate of infections currently stands at 362.2 per 100,000 population, with the peak during last year’s lockdown being 197.6. A number of states have a much higher figure than the national average, including Saxony at 793.7.

Bariess, who is a member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, advises the Federal Government on their tourism policy.

He told the German news agency DPA: “In retrospect, it was wrong not to see that (compulsory vaccinations) right from the start. The hope at that time is understandable, but it was not realistic.

“For me it is politically no longer justifiable that entire industries, retailers, restaurants, clubs, bars and the entire cinema, cultural and event scene live in a state of crisis prescribed by the state for 20 months and are faced with great existential fears, while others… take the freedom not to vaccinate.”

Worth reading in full.

German Leaders to Debate Imposing National Restrictions On The Unvaccinated

On Thursday, German officials are set to debate whether to tighten Covid restrictions after Germany recorded an infection peak on Saturday. One of the measures to be discussed involves banning the unvaccinated from venues such as restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, with Chancellor Angela Merkel urging members of the public to get jabbed if they haven’t already. The Telegraph has the story.

These rules have been adopted in some states, but as yet have not been enforced nationwide. 

Horst Seehofer, the Interior Minister, on Saturday morning said it was the time to put in place nationally uniform Covid rules.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called upon the country’s unvaccinated to reconsider, hinting that the Government would tighten measures across the country. 

“Difficult weeks lie ahead of us, and you can see that I am very worried,” Merkel warned in her weekly video podcast.

“I urgently ask everyone who has not yet been vaccinated: please reconsider.”

She added: “It has always helped us when states and the Federal Government worked together and committed to uniform rules.”

Germany’s nationwide seven-day Covid incidence rate climbed to 277.4 per 100,000 people on Saturday, the highest on record. The previous mark was 197.6, recorded in December 2020.

Seehofer, said on Saturday that politicians needed to “demonstrate the art of governance” when meeting on Thursday by making one set of rules for the entire country to stop confusing people with changing rules. 

“I very much hope that there will be a nationwide regulation next week. We must no longer confuse the population,” he told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper.

“Vaccination centres open, vaccination centres closed, continued payment of wages in (for people forced to) quarantine yes, then no again, testing free of charge, testing subject to charge.

“In terms of party politics, there is nothing for anyone to gain, but a lot for everyone to lose. There can be no fundamental opposition in such a difficult situation.”

The situation is particularly precarious in the southern states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg and the country’s former east, where ICU capacity is below 10%.

Worth reading in full.

Angela Merkel Calls for the Unvaccinated to Be Banned from Public Places

To avoid a tough winter and stem a rise in Covid cases, the outgoing German Chancellor is keen to activate the country’s ‘3G’ rule, which would introduce vaccine passports for most indoor public venues, in an attempt to entice members of the public to receive the jab. 33% of the German population currently remain unvaccinated, with the Health Minister Jens Spahn commenting that the nation is suffering from a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”. The Times has the story.

The chancellor has argued that similar steps should be adopted across the country in an effort to boost the stubbornly low level of vaccination and slow the spread of Covid.

Concern is growing about the prospect of another punishing winter. The number of infections recorded each day has doubled since mid-October and is higher now than it was at this point in 2020. Hospitals in many parts of Germany have warned they could soon be overwhelmed.

The situation is not yet desperate: vaccination has so far kept the number of deaths reported each day relatively low. The closely watched seven-day incidence rate has actually fallen a little over the past week, to 147 new cases per 100,000 people.

Today, however, Jens Spahn, the Health Minister, warned that Germany was going through a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” as the disease propagates rapidly through the 33% of the population that has yet to be jabbed. Merkel is said to have been “particularly shaken” by the case of a nursing home in Werbellinsee, near Berlin, where 14 residents died. Half of the staff had not been vaccinated.

The chancellor favours tightening the country’s ‘3G’ rule, under which people must prove they are vaccinated, recovered or tested (geimpftgenesen or getestet) in order to enter most indoor public venues.

Yesterday, Saxony imposed a stricter ‘2G’ system, meaning only the vaccinated and the recently recovered can go into spaces such as restaurants or football stadiums. Merkel’s spokesman said this was a “logical” way forward.

In Baden-Württemberg, meanwhile, unvaccinated people will instead have to obtain a negative PCR test result — at considerable expense — for these recreational activities. They will also only be allowed to meet five other unvaccinated people from outside their household at the same time.

Worth reading in full.

27% Of Unvaccinated Germans Declare That Vaccine Passports Will Harden Their Decision Not to Get Vaccinated

According to a recent survey conducted on behalf of Germany’s Ministry for Health seeking to uncover the reasons as to why the unvaccinated public have so far not taken up the offer of a vaccine, 27% of respondents declared that vaccine passports will turn them away from getting vaccinated. Only 5% of those who answered the survey said that the introduction of vaccine passports would entice them to take a Covid jab. In addition, 86% of respondents mentioned that they will not receive the vaccine if politicians promise to lift Covid restrictions once a certain vaccine quota is attained. The Local has the story.

According to a recent survey carried out by Forsa on behalf of the Ministry for Health, around two thirds of people (65%) said there was “no way” they would get a Covid jab in the next two months.

In the survey data obtained by Redaktionsnetwerk Deutschland, 23% said they would “probably not” get their Covid shots in the near future, while 2% said they would “definitely not” get vaccinated at any point. 

Just 10% of the 3,000 respondents said they would “probably” get vaccinated in the coming months or remain undecided. 

The news comes amid spiralling infection rates and a steep rise in the number of patients in intensive care units in Germany, most of whom are unvaccinated.

The President of the World Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, told the Augsburger Allgemeine on Thursday that unvaccinated people were risking their own lives, and those of others, and urged people to get the jabs…

The poll makes for disheartening reading for Government Ministers who have been struggling to convince the undecided to get their jabs to avoid a difficult autumn and winter.

In a press conference alongside the Robert Koch Institute’s Lothar Wieler and Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU), Thomas Mertens from the Standing Vaccinations Committee (STIKO) said he believed that the vast majority of unvaccinated people were “not hardliners” but simply on the fence.

However, the results of the survey, which was conducted in late September and early October, suggest that people with doubts about vaccinations are generally more set in their ways than previously assumed. 

For example, 89% of the respondents had said that it would have no influence on their own willingness to be vaccinated if the intensive care units once again reached their capacity limits. Just 5% revealed that they would be more like to get a Covid jab if hospitals were overwhelmed with patients.

Worth reading in full.

Unvaccinated Set to Be Banned from Berlin Christmas Market

German officials have given the green light to prohibit the unvaccinated public from attending the Berlin Christmas Market. Those looking to gain access will have to provide proof that they are double-jabbed or have recovered from Covid, with the only exception being children under the age of 12, who have not been offered the vaccination. Although venues can set their own rules, thereby permitting the unvaccinated to enter (albeit with a negative Covid test), a number of Berlin Christmas Markets have already pledged to bar the unvaccinated from the premises. The MailOnline has the story.

Under a strict ‘2G’ model, those over the age of 12 must be double vaccinated or recovered from the virus and would be denied entry even if they have a negative Covid test, reports German newspaper Tagesspiegel.  

But organisers of the markets, which return on November 22nd would be able to opt for a less strict ‘3G’ model which would allow unvaccinated people to attend – but only if they show proof of a negative test.

Yet with the more lenient rules, visitors to the Christmas markets in Berlin must wear face masks and social distancing will be enforced. 

A number of the German capital’s famous Christmas markets – including the WeihnachtsZauber market at Gendarmenmarkt – have confirmed that only vaccinated people over the age of 12, or those who have recovered from Covid, will be allowed entry, reports the Local

The only exception to the rules is for children under the age of 12, who are currently unable to get vaccinated. But the youngsters will still have to show a negatives [sic] test, although children under the age of six will not have to provide proof.   

The move is the latest example of countries in Europe banning unvaccinated people from public events. 

Last week, Austria’s Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced that the country is considering a Covid lockdown which would only restrict those who are not fully jabbed. 

Schallenberg announced that if the number of Covid patients in intensive-care units reaches 500, or 25% of the country’s total ICU capacity, entrance into businesses such as restaurants and hotels will be limited to those who are vaccinated or recovered from the virus.    

If the number reaches 600, or one-third of total ICU capacity, the Government plans to impose restrictions on unvaccinated people. In this case, they would only be allowed to leave their homes for specific reasons. Currently, the number of Covid patients in ICUs stands at 220. 

Meanwhile, earlier this month, the French Government announced it would be extending the requirement for a ‘health pass’ for people to access restaurants, bars, cinemas, museums and tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower. 

The pass means that only those who are fully vaccinated, recovered from the virus in the last six months, or a negative test result in the past 48 hours are allowed to visit the public venues or access long-distance transport.

The Government also announced that for those who are unvaccinated, Covid tests will no longer be free and those who have not been jabbed will have to pay for a test each time they want to travel to the venues.

Worth reading in full.

Germany Scraps Free Covid LFTs, Pushing Unvaccinated into Getting Jabbed

Germans who have not been vaccinated against Covid (or have not recently recovered from the virus) must now pay for tests in order to attend public gatherings, with free lateral flow tests having been scrapped by the Government. Added financial pressure is expected to nudge those who have decided not to get vaccinated into abandoning their positions. The Guardian has the story.

Public gatherings across Germany have since August 23rd been allowed to go ahead if they follow the so-called “3G” rule (short for geimpft, genesen oder getestet), meaning participants have to show proof of either vaccination, a recent recovery from the virus, or an up-to-date test result.

A large-scale infrastructure offering free Government-subsidised rapid antigen tests that sprung up across Germany over the spring and summer made testing part of people’s everyday routine while vaccinations were still hard to come by.

But as of October 11th the Government says it can no longer justify paying for free tests out of the public purse since all residents over the age of 12 can now get the jab if they want to.

The hope is that the cost and inconvenience of paying for coronavirus tests will help to boost Germany’s stagnating vaccination rate, a problem politicians did little to address while the country was locked in election campaign mode.

Similar plans are being drawn up in England which could push the unvaccinated to get jabbed if a similar vaccine passport scheme is introduced later this year.

Worth reading in full.

Hamburg Businesses to Be Given ‘Choice’ to Bar Unvaccinated Residents

Hamburg has become the first German city to tell a range of venues, including restaurants, clubs and, according to some reports, religious institutions, that they are permitted to bar unvaccinated residents. Mandates will also apply to workers within these organisations. Those that decide not to introduce vaccine passes will be forced to continue enforcing other restrictive policies. The Local has the story.

German states on Monday moved to a uniform Covid health pass system which allows entry to many public spaces, such as indoor dining, only to people who’ve been vaccinated, have recovered from Covid or have been tested against Covid. It’s known as the ‘3G model’ in Germany.

But on Tuesday, Hamburg announced it will introduce a ‘2G option model’ for event organisers and business owners – effectively banning unvaccinated people.

It means venue and event bosses will be allowed to offer their services and allow entry only to people who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid within the last six months. Those who are eligible for vaccination but haven’t got it will not be allowed to enter. 

Businesses have to let the city know if they plan to use the 2G entry system. 

The obligation to provide proof also applies to employees working on the premises in question, said the Senate. 

Under 2G, businesses will not need the same hygiene regulations. It will allow bosses, for instance, to admit more guests or offer a free choice of seating without mandatory spacing requirements. However, masks will remain compulsory in all indoor settings.

The 2G option will be launched on Saturday. Organisers can also opt for the 3G model – but if they do, they will have to follow previous Covid restrictions, such as caps on the amount of people who can attend. 

The 2G or 3G option is aimed at theatres, cinemas, trade fair operators, restaurants, hotels, swimming pools and fitness studios, among other businesses.

Organisers of sporting events with visitors, public festivals or educational courses should also be able to exclude unvaccinated people if they want to, said the Hamburg Senate.

The Senate said operators will face heavy fines if they do not check for proof of vaccination or recovery (or a negative test if it’s a 3G event).

Worth reading in full.