Pandemic conference on Friday German federal and state governments agree to updated COVID-19 restrictions
Berlin · With the omicron wave rolling into Germany, the federal and state governments want to take preventative action to fight the surge. First and foremost, they have decided to tighten Covid-19 restrictions on bars and restaurants, but they have also made adjustments in quarantine and self-isolation rules.
In the fight against the omicron variant of the coronavirus, which is also spreading rapidly in Germany, access rules for restaurants, cafes and pubs are being tightened.
The German government and state government leaders agreed that a 2G-plus rule will apply nationwide in the future, regardless of infection numbers. Vaccinated and recovered persons will then have to show a current negative Covid-19 test or proof of a booster shot.
Saxony-Anhalt and Bavaria express reservations
Saxony-Anhalt, however, does not want to participate. Unlike other German states, Saxony-Anhalt has almost only the delta variant of Covid-19, so new measures are not necessary for the time being, said Minister President Reiner Haseloff (CDU) in Magdeburg.
Bavaria first wants to check whether the 2G-plus rule is actually necessary for its state. "We are very, very cautious and skeptical about this," said Minister President Markus Söder (CSU) in Munich. A final decision is to be made next Tuesday, he said.
It is necessary to prepare for the fact that the omicron variant will increase the number of infections, said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) after the discussions. "What is clear is that the omicron variant will keep us busy for a long time to come. And that's why we can't sound the all-clear for our healthcare system.”
Quarantine and self-isolation to be shortened and simplified
The federal and state governments met for the first time this year to discuss how to proceed with the pandemic. It was also decided to shorten and simplify the quarantine for contact persons and the self-isolation period for infected persons.
Contact persons will be exempt from quarantine if they have a booster vaccination, are newly double-vaccinated, vaccinated, recovered, or just recovered. For all others, self-isolation or quarantine should usually end after ten days if they do not meet the criteria to test out of it before then. That is possible after seven days.
Scholz urged everyone who has not yet been vaccinated to do so now. "We need further vaccination progress," he said. The vaccination rate is still too low, he said. Those who have already been vaccinated twice should get boosters, he said.
The federal and state governments reaffirmed current contact restrictions, but did not tighten them. Thus, private meetings of vaccinated and recovered persons with a maximum of 10 persons are allowed. For those who have not been vaccinated and those who have not recovered, it remains in place that only members of one's own household and a maximum of two people from another household are allowed to meet. Children up to the age of 14 are excluded from those numbers.
Consensus on general vaccination obligation
The federal and state governments broadly support a general Covid-19 vaccination requirement in Germany. "All 16 heads of government of the federal states have declared that they are in favor of general compulsory vaccination," said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). "I feel maximum support there." He added that the Bundestag will soon discuss the matter. He said it would be good if there was a general vaccination requirement following the debate.
Scholz said the vaccination campaign has made progress. But: "The vaccination rate in Germany is still not very high.“
Orig. text: dpa