December 6 Updates: New York City Announces Private Sector Vaccination Mandate, US Diplomats Boycott Beijing Olympics, German Scholz Appoints New Health Minister


German Chancellor-designate Olaf Scholz has appointed MP, public health expert and epidemiologist Karl Lauterbach as Minister of Health, putting a cautious voice in charge of the pandemic response.

Lauterbach, one of the most recognizable faces of the government’s anti-crisis measures, has become known for his communication skills and his advocacy for lockdown regulations to combat the spread of Covid-19.

“We will win the fight against the pandemic and we will be better equipped for other pandemics,” said Lauterbach, who has been an assistant professor of health policy at the Harvard School of Public Health since 2008. Vaccinations would, a- he says, “play a central role”.

Germany is in the throes of another wave of coronavirus, with infections soaring last month to levels not seen since the start of the pandemic. Authorities have said they will introduce mandatory vaccinations next year to tackle the low vaccination rate.

Scholz is due to be elected chancellor by the Bundestag on Wednesday, almost 11 weeks after his Social Democrats won the national elections which ended Angela Merkel’s 16-year reign. He will lead a three-way coalition with the Greens and the Free Liberal Democrats.

The FDP and the Greens have announced their candidates for ministerial posts.

Scholz appoints women from the SPD to head the German interior, defense and interior ministries. “In this government, security will be in the hands of strong women,” he said.

Nancy Faeser, a lawyer who heads the Social Democrats in the state of Hesse, in the south of the country, will become Minister of the Interior, overseeing the federal police and internal intelligence.

Christine Lambrecht, the outgoing justice minister, will move on to defense, while Klara Geywitz, a social democratic lawmaker from the Land of Brandenburg, will become construction minister.

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