Youre on your own, Emmanuel! Merkel breaks EU ranks with France over mandatory jabs

Angela Merkel discusses the delivery of vaccine doses to Ukraine

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The German Chancellor said her country’s vaccination programme would remain voluntary as the French President came in for increasing criticism over his latest move. Mr Macron made jabs mandatory for care workers across France in a move that outraged many of his staunchest critics.

Speaking this morning, Mrs Merkel said the pandemic is far from over but said a fourth wave could be prevented by a high uptake of vaccines, testing and social distancing.

She told reporters: “There will be no mandatory vaccinations”.

Mrs Merkel made the comments alongside Jens Spahn, German health minister, during a visit to the Robert Koch Institute.

She reiterated her call for people to avail of Germany’s vaccine rollout by coming forward for their jabs.

She held a meeting with Lothar Wieler, the Institute’s boss, and posed for photos with him outside the building.

The Chancellor said: “A vaccination not only protects you, but also those around you, those you love.”

She said the more people that are vaccinated “the more freely we can live again”.

She added: “Talk to each other. Everywhere where people know and trust each other. Campaign for vaccinations.”

The Chancellor is due to step down in September following 16 years of leading Germany.

She warned of the potential risk of further mutations arising as the pandemic drags on.

And referring to the Delta variant, she said: “We have to learn how the vaccine works with regard to the new variant.”

Leading scientists have said the vaccines on the market are effective in protecting a person against the variant, which was first detected in India. 

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Last week Pfizer reiterated that it believed its shot worked against Delta. 

Mr Spahn seconded Mrs Merkel’s push for people to get inoculated.

He said: “It is up to us to make the decisive difference in the next few weeks.

“The vaccination rate is still high, but we can see that it is decreasing.”

Hundreds of thousands of people in France are rushing to book vaccine appointments after the president warned unvaccinated citizens would face increased restrictions.

Last night he unveiled sweeping new measures aimed at combatting a surge in infections.

He said jabs would not become mandatory for the general public but stressed that curbs would focus on those who are not inoculated.

The president said health workers had to get vaccinated by September 15 or face consequences.

Mr Macron said that a health pass required to attend large-scale events would now be used much more widely, including to enter restaurants, cinemas and theatres.

It will also be required to board long-distance trains and planes from the beginning of August, giving a further incentive for people to get the shot as the summer holiday season kicks in.

After falling from more than 42,000 per day mid-April to less than 2,000 per day in late June, the average number of new infections per day in France has crept back up again since late June, standing now at nearly 4,000 per day.

If no measures were taken and the same trend continued, France could see up to 20,000 new cases per day by the end of July, epidemiologists say.

Next week Boris Johnson is set to push ahead with his “Freedom Day” plan to reopen England.

The legal requirement to wear masks will be lifted from July 19 and social distancing rules will be scrapped.

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