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Covid update: Outdoor mask mandate to be largely dropped in NRW

Covid update : Outdoor mask mandate to be largely dropped in NRW

The number of new infections continues to decline and outdoor mask requirements will largely be dropped starting on Monday. Movie theaters are beginning to re-open in NRW. Still, immunologists warn of a fourth wave with the delta variant, which could come in autumn. Here are some of the latest pandemic developments from the GA live blog.

After many months of lockdown, there is progress in fighting the pandemic. The number of new Covid infections is slowly declining. Still, people living in Germany can expect some restrictions for awhile yet.

Meanwhile, more and more people have been vaccinated against Covid-19. For those fully vaccinated or recovered, some restrictions no longer apply.

Incidence rate in Bonn drops further

The incidence rate in Bonn continued to decline on Thursday. As the city announced, it is currently 22.1. In the past seven days, there have been a total of 73 new infections in Bonn. Accordingly, 221 people are currently considered to be infected. According to the city of Bonn, 247 people have died in connection with Covid-19. A total of 186,588 people have had at least one vaccination, and 108,185 people have received their second vaccination as well.

Outdoor mask mandate will be largely dropped in NRW starting Monday

In the new North Rhine-Westphalia Corona Protection Ordinance, the mask requirement for outdoors will mostly no longer apply starting on Monday next week. The ordinance, published Wednesday evening, says that in regions with a low seven-day incidence - below 35 infections per 100,000 inhabitants - people will only have to wear a mask outdoors in certain instances, such as in queues.

This is part of incidence level 1, which applies to the vast majority of regions in NRW. The ordinance emphasizes that the requirement to wear a mask indoors remains unaffected by the new regulation. Minister President Armin Laschet (CDU) had already announced relaxations in the mask requirement in the state parliament on Wednesday.

Several cinemas in NRW want to reopen

Some cinemas are coming back to life after being forced to close due to the pandemic. Awaiting visitors are family films, comedies and action movies. Viewers can once again take their seats in front of the big screen in several cinemas in North Rhine-Westphalia and throughout Germany, as announced by UCI, one of the largest cinema operators in Germany. Movie theaters in Cologne, Bochum, Duesseldorf, Duisburg, Neuss and Paderborn are once again welcoming movie-goers, big and small.

New infection levels, which have been falling for weeks, make it possible to allow movie screenings for audiences, albeit with a hygiene protocol in place. The current Covid regulations allow screenings for tested, vaccinated or recovered visitors on a regional basis. The majority of cinemas are waiting until July 1 to reopen, however.

Immunologists warn of a fourth wave in autumn with the delta variant

Immunologists are calling on policymakers to prepare thoroughly for a new wave of coronavirus in the fall, given the spread of the delta variant, especially in schools. "It can be strongly assumed that the delta variant will be the dominant variant in Germany by autumn at the latest," Carsten Watzl, secretary general of the German Society for Immunology (DGfI), told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper (Thursday edition). "If a good number of children are not vaccinated and the delta variant comes in the fall, there is a threat of a stronger outbreak in schools again." Because of that, he said that concepts such as air filters need to be addressed now to avoid having to close schools again in the fall. Watzl points out that the increase in incidence figures in Great Britain is largely due to schoolchildren, some of whom have not yet been vaccinated.

(Orig. text: GA / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)