Vote of confidence from Merkel aside, Scholz is an experienced hand, having been labour minister in her first coalition from 2007 to 2009 before taking over as vice-chancellor and finance minister.
A prominent conservative has joined the race to become the leader of outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, making his third bid for the job.
Germany’s disease control center said that the country's infection rate climbed to 277.4 new cases per 100,000 residents over seven days, up from 263.7 the previous day.
'If we stand together, if we think about protecting ourselves and caring for others, we can save our country a lot this winter,' Merkel said in her weekly podcast.
Pressure is also building on hospitals, in an outbreak blamed on Germany's relatively low vaccination rates of just over 67%.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is preparing to step down with a legacy defined primarily by her handling of a series of crises.
The incoming coalition parties, aiming to form a government by early December, have so far ruled out mandatory jabs and said there will be no new lockdowns -- at least not for the vaccinated.
Italy has been holding the presidency of the G20 since December last year.
Until the next government has been formed, Merkel will continue to lead Germany in a caretaker position, and on Saturday was attending the Group of 20 summit in Rome.
The leaders discussed Turkey’s relations with Germany and the European Union, as well as Syria, Libya and the eastern Mediterranean.
Israel’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennett, a hard-liner who opposes a Palestinian state on Israeli-occupied lands, has ruled out peace talks with the Palestinians.
“Democracy isn't simply there. Rather, we must work for it together, again and again, every day," the German Chancellor said on the 31st anniversary of the merger of East and West Germany.
Three decades on there remains a political and economic divide between Germany's formerly communist east and the west.
There are majorities for three more or less plausible new coalition governments, and it could take weeks or months to put a new administration in place.
The Greens made significant gains to finish 3rd but fell far short of their original aim of taking the chancellery, while the Free Democrats improved slightly on a good result from 2017.