Germany announced a series of new measures to come into force on December 28 “at the latest”, with the aim of controlling an upsurge in new infections.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Hendrik Wüst and that of Berlin governing mayor Franziska Giffey gave a press conference on the new coronavirus measures.

Scholz said the Omicron variant would soon skyrocket infections. “Covid-19 will not take a Christmas vacation,” he said.

The chancellor said the fourth wave of infections was now under control, but warned the fifth wave was imminent.

Private gatherings will be limited to 10 people even for those who have recovered from the virus or have been vaccinated. Children under 14 are not included in this number. Clubs and discos will remain closed.

The “2G rule” – which states that people must either be vaccinated or cured of Covid-19 – will apply in cinemas and theaters.

Additionally, the sale of fireworks will be banned on New Year’s Eve, and gatherings will be banned on December 31.

Strict restrictions for unvaccinated people will remain in place – with the 3G rule [having to be either vaccinated, recovered or able to produce a negative test] apply at work and on public transport, and strict contact restrictions also apply at Christmas.

Any measures decided on Tuesday should not begin until after Christmas, Scholz said, adding that the past few years have shown that Easter and Christmas are not major factors of infection.

The government aims to administer an additional 30 million booster vaccines by the end of January, Scholz said. As an intermediate goal, it is hoped that the overall vaccination rate in the population will rise to at least 80%.

The different heads of the different German states will meet again on January 7 to discuss new steps, and it is also at this time that new financial aid to companies will be discussed again.