Berlin: The German government has agreed on a three-step plan to gradually lift most of the Covid-19 restrictions by March 20 as the country’s seven-day Covid-19 incidence rate has continued to fall.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases said the incidence rate reached 1,385 infections per 100,000 inhabitants on Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported.
The RKI registered 235,626 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, around 12,200 less than a week ago.
“The peak has now probably been reached,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz said as he presented the plan after a meeting with the federal state governments.
A “constantly improved situation” can be expected in the coming weeks, he added.
First, Germany would drop the contact restrictions for vaccinated and recovered people as well as the access restrictions for the retail sector with immediate effect.
However, the face mask mandate in stores would remain in force.
From March 4, restaurants and hotels would only require customers to adhere to the 3G rule (geimpft, getestet, genesen — vaccinated, recovered, tested).
In a final step, all the remaining profound restrictions on social, cultural and economic life are to be gradually lifted by March 20 if the situation in hospitals allows, but the “basic protection measures”, such as the wearing of face masks on public transportation or in enclosed public spaces would remain in force.
Scholz warned his compatriots not to become careless despite all the optimism.
“The pandemic is not over yet,” he said, adding that “vaccination helps and protects the most against the consequences of infection”.