Germany is set to introduce tighter restrictions on citizens who have not taken the Covid-19 vaccine.
The country is being battered by a fourth wave of the virus, with new infections hitting a record high of more than 65,000 on Thursday.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said the situation with coronavirus is ‘dramatic’ as she announced a raft of new measures aimed at curbing the winter surge.
In areas with a hospitalisation rate of more than three Covid-19 patients per 100,000 people over the past seven days, only those who have been vaccinated or recently recovered from the virus will be allowed into public spaces such as sporting venues and restaurants.
Most of the country’s 16 states currently exceed that limit.
Regions with a rate above six will have to impose a ‘2G plus’ rule requiring people to have been tested as well as jabbed.
Those with a rate over nine will fall under even harsher measures, such as limits on social contact.
Ms Merkel and the 16 state leaders also agreed to make vaccination mandatory for healthcare and care home staff to combat the spread of the virus in those settings.
The Chancellor said: ‘The situation is serious, it is dramatic. We need to look at the occupancy rate and we know that we can’t afford to have more people in ICUs so we need to break the cycle.
‘The situation would be a great deal better if more people were vaccinated, it would be fantastic if more people decided to get vaccinated.
‘It is important people choose to get their vaccinations for themselves and society at large.’
Cases have surged across Europe, driving governments toward reimposing lockdowns to try and bring cases back under control.
The Netherlands is back under semi-lockdown after recording its highest ever number of new infections.
Austria has so far tried to resist placing the entire population under restrictions, so far limiting measures to the unvaccinated.
But the country’s worst hit regions have hinted the surge may only be tackled by a full lockdown.
Russia and Greece are the latest countries to announce they are considering restrictions on the unvaccinated in a bid to boost take-up of the jab.