German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before leaving office on Saturday in the final episode of a 600-plus weekly video podcast.
“I once again emphatically ask you to take this difficult virus seriously,” Merkel said, calling the fourth coronavirus wave to hit Germany “very serious” and even “dramatic”. Said parts of the country with overloaded intensive care units.
“The new Omicron version in particular seems to be more contagious than before. Get yourself vaccinated, whether it’s your first shot or a booster,” she said.
“Every vaccine helps.”
After 16 years in power, Merkel is expected to hand over the reins to Social Democrat Olaf Scholz after parliament voted on Wednesday to elect a new chancellor.
In his podcast, he thanked “those who are reasonable and sensible in this difficult period” and “stick to the rules to protect themselves and take care of others”.
“You are the vast majority in our country. You demonstrate the civic responsibility that is so wonderful about our country, without which no chancellor or government can achieve anything.”
One of Scholz’s first steps as head of government is expected to be passing a law making vaccination mandatory from February or March next year.
Much of the political spectrum has rallied behind the previously controversial move.
Watching her first video podcast in 2006, Merkel recalled that “at the time it was very unusual for a head of government to address the public directly online”.
“My hope at the time, that the World Cup should be a great party even beyond the stadiums, was more than fulfilled,” he said, using the “fairy tale of summer” nickname applied to the German football tournament still held that year. There are.
While Merkel touched on a wide range of topics in the podcast during her time in office, from digitization to anti-Semitism, over the past two years she has spoken frequently about the pandemic.
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