German minister tips New Year virus surge

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  • Karl Lauterbach
    German politician and Federal Minister of Health

Germany's health minister says he expects a surge in coronavirus cases around New Year's snd people will likely need a fourth vaccine shot to maintain the best immune response against COVID-19.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach told public radio network WDR 2 that Germany hasn't yet seen a big, rapid wave of new infections from the Omicron variant like some other European countries.

"That will change around New Year and in the first week of January," Lauterbach said.

The government is urging Germans to limit their contacts over the holiday period and to get vaccinated, including with booster shots if they've already had their initial vaccines. .

Official figures show 70.7 per cent of the population have received a full course of vaccine, while 35 per cent have had boosters.

Demonstrations against new pandemic restrictions and a planned vaccine mandate have flared up in Germany over the past weeks.

Police said about 5000 protesters gathered in the centre of Munich late on Wednesday, with some participants attacking officers. Eleven people were detained.

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