German chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, Helge Braun, has said he expects COVID-19 vaccinations to start in the country “in the very first days” of the new year.

Braun added that he was prepared to help vaccinate people himself, and that he and Merkel will get vaccinated “when it is our turn”.

In recent days, the infection rate in the country has slowed, but has not decreased. Germany introduced a partial shutdown started on November 2.

Restrictions such as the closure of restaurants, bars, sports and leisure facilities are due to last until at least January 10, and some regions are planning tougher measures. Braun said tighter restrictions are needed “at least in the hot spots”.

On Monday, health authorities reported 12,332 new infections over the past 24 hours, compared with 11,168 a week ago, and 147 new deaths.


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