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Sunday, December 10 2023

German states impose new Covid-19 curbs on unvaccinated people

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Berlin: As Germany’s Covid-19 infection rate has risen to its highest recorded level yet, some of the country’s 16 federal states started to restrict event, restaurant and bar access to unvaccinated patrons.

The list of states that now apply the so-called “2G rule” was joined by North-Rhine Westphalia, the country’s most populous. 2G stands for “geimpft” (vaccinated) and “getestet” (tested), Xinhua news agency reported.

In order to attend events during Germany’s Carnival season, also known as the “Fifth Season” that began on November 11, people must additionally comply with the new rule, according to which vaccinated or recovered individuals must also show a fresh negative Covid-19 test. Children and young people are exempted from most of these measures.

“The Covid-19 situation is getting worse,” said Hendrick Wuest, minister president of North-Rhine Westphalia, during a press conference on Tuesday, stressing that the country’s east and south were particularly hard hit.

Having increased by more than 100 within one week, the seven-day incidence rate in Germany stood at a new all-time high of 312.4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on Tuesday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases said.

Last week, the daily number of new infections exceeded 50,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic. On Tuesday, the RKI registered 32,048 new infections.

The surge in cases has increased pressure on the negotiators in the ongoing government coalition talks. The discussions between the Social Democratic Party, the Greens and the liberal Free Democratic Party entered the final round on Monday.

A reform of the country’s Infection Protection Act is expected to be adopted by the Bundestag, the lower house of Parliament, on Thursday. On the same day, the minister presidents of the federal states are scheduled to meet to agree a uniform approach to fight the fourth Covid-19 wave.

“This week, the necessary decisions will finally be made and, above all, the uniformity will be agreed that we need for acceptance by the citizens,” acting Health Minister Jens Spahn told the broadcaster ZDF on Monday, reiterating his wish for a uniform 2G regulation throughout Germany.

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