Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated on Friday that Germany will strengthen restrictions on pubs and restaurants and relax quarantine laws in order to combat the growing Omicron form of Covid-19.
Scholz added that entry to pubs and restaurants will be limited to persons who are fully vaccinated or recovered and can also submit a negative test after consultations with Germany’s 16 regional leaders.
People who have received a booster shot, on the other hand, will not be required to take the test.
The “2G Plus” rules, according to Scholz, are “tight” but required “to help us develop more swiftly” in the fight against Omicron, which he claims “will be with us for a long time.”
He also stated that quarantine regulations will be loosened in order to prevent key services and infrastructure from being shut down owing to projected staff shortages.
If there are no symptoms, anyone infected with Covid, as well as their close contacts, will be free to complete their quarantine after 10 days, AFP reports.
If they give a negative test, they can be released after seven days. Those who have received a booster will no longer be required to quarantine if they come into close contact with someone who has been infected.
In comparison to many of its European neighbors, which have been enveloped by record surges, Germany has reported modest case counts since the beginning of the year. On Friday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) health agency recorded 56,335 new illnesses in the previous 24 hours, with a seven-day incidence rate of 303.4 new cases per 100,000 persons.
“The Omicron variety will cause infections to increase,” Scholz said, “and we will see bigger numbers in the next days and weeks than we are witnessing today.”
Germany’s new government, led by Scholz, who took over as chancellor from Angela Merkel in December, has ruled out enforcing a lockdown so far. It has, however, set a restriction of 10 persons for private meetings, or two homes if an unvaccinated person is present, as well as prohibiting spectators from attending football games.
Unvaccinated people are also excluded from many aspects of public life, including as cultural events, gyms, and recreational facilities. Scholz urged as many people as possible to get their booster shot, calling it “the finest Omicron protection.”
Almost 42% of Germans have already had a booster shot, and 71.6 percent have had both the first and second doses. Scholz stated last year that he supports mandatory vaccination in Germany, with the German parliament set to debate the matter at the end of January.
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