Merkel ally warns unvaccinated risk new lockdown rules and should pay for Covid tests

Angela Merkel discusses the delivery of vaccine doses to Ukraine

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Erwin Ruddel, from Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party, said those who have been vaccinated should not lose their freedoms, and instead, people who refuse to get the jab should have to go into lockdown if new restrictions are introduced. On top of that, the Chairman of the Health Committee in the Bundestag, Mr Ruddel claimed that anyone who does not get vaccinated, despite the availability of jabs, should have to pay for coronavirus tests from autumn onwards.

The politician added he thinks masks will be a part of the public’s lives for many years to come.

Speaking to German radio Deutschlandfun he said: “I think that where a lot of people come together, on public transport…I think masks will still be part of our lives in five years.

“But I hope more as a result of common sense than of guidelines.”

Mr Ruddel added: “We have been in a state of emergency for almost two years now and have to learn how to get back to normal.”

He said he also supports the idea of charging people for taking COVID-19 tests.

He said: “I even follow Karl Lauterbach’s (German scientist and politician of Social Democratic Party) suggestion that these should then be PCR tests.”

Mr Ruddel considers this approach to be fair, since “everyone got their chance to be vaccinated”.

According to the website, Focus, the chief said that if new coronavirus measures are necessary those who have been vaccinated should not lose their freedoms, while those who are not vaccinated, on the other hand, should have to go into lockdown for their own safety.

The news comes after Germany’s largest state, Bavaria, returned almost 700,000 doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine after failing to use their supplies.

The province returned the life-saving jabs to the federal government in Berlin after failing to administer them as part of their rollout.

The Oxford-developed vaccine has been subjected to numerous political attacks and questions over its safety and efficacy in the midst of a row over shipments.

Brussels accused the Anglo-Swedish drugs giant behind the jab of breaching its contract by failing to deliver enough doses to EU member states.

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And many governments restricted the use of AstraZeneca because of health concerns over a number of extremely rare blood clots that were reported in people who got the jab.

In March, Germany decided to suspend the routine use of the jab for people under the age of 60.

As a result, the rollout of AstraZeneca came to a halt in the country’s 16 states.

A new study carried out by researchers from Spain, the UK and the Netherlands has now shown that the risk of suffering a blood clot from the AstraZeneca vaccine is “similar” to Pfizer.

The scientists added that people who had been infected with COVID-19 developed blood clots at a far higher rate than those who had received either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines.

The study, however, has not yet been peer-reviewed.

Bavaria has since returned 738,350 doses of the coronavirus vaccine to the federal government.

Of these, 685,100 were made by AstraZeneca and 52,250 doses were the US-made Johnson and Johnson shot.

Nationwide around 2.7 million Covid jabs were returned from distribution hubs to Berlin.

Doses have been sent back unused by 15 of the 16 federal states of Germany – with only Saarland not reporting unneeded doses.

Chancellor Merkel’s government now plans to donate the unused vaccine to other countries that need help in bolstering their rollouts.

She has vowed to donate at least 30 million doses to developing and low-income countries by the end of the year.

A first batch of jabs is now expected to be shipped to five different countries via the Covax international aid scheme.

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg

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