More Covid measures needed in Germany ‘in due course’, says Health Minister

Germany's latest tightening of Covid rules, including 2G-plus in restaurants, is a big step forward but won't be enough to contain Omicron, says Health Minister Karl Lauterbach.

More Covid measures needed in Germany 'in due course', says Health Minister
A sign on a pub in Mainz says it's 2G-plus rules - and people need a booster shot or current Covid test to enter. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Arne Dedert

On Friday Chancellor Olaf Scholz and state leaders decided to tighten Covid restrictions nationwide, with plans to implement 2G-plus in the hospitality industry. 

It means that people who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid – but haven’t had their booster shot – will have to take a rapid Covid test before visiting a bar, restaurant or cafe. People who are vaccinated and have a booster shot do not need a test.

States are currently implementing these rules and there may be some regional differences. 

READ ALSO: 2G plus – Germany tightens Covid rules in restaurants, bars and cafes

KEY POINTS: Germany’s plans to soften the impact of Omicron

On Sunday evening Health Minister Karl Lauterbach told German broadcaster ARD that the restrictions, including the changes to quarantine times,  were an “important step forward” and would make cafes and restaurants “safer”.

“I believe that this will help us,” he said, but added that it would not defeat the Omicron wave. “I think the number of cases will increase. So further measures will still be necessary, in due course. But for now, this is a very important step forward.”

When asked if at some point only people with booster vaccinations could have access to restaurants – meaning that vaccinated people would be banned – Lauterbach said, “No, so that doesn’t necessarily mean that, because we can also take other measures. But I think it is important to first give the measures we have now taken a chance to work.”

He added that people in Germany could do their bit by getting vaccinated and boosted.

“The more people boosted we have in society, the harder it is for Omicron to build a strong wave,” Lauterbach added.

Green Party health politician Janosch Dahmen told broadcaster ZDF he believed 2G-plus rules could be extended.

“We may also have to adopt further indoor areas with 2G-plus measures as additional protection, beyond the catering industry,” he said.

The Omicron wave is only at the beginning, he said. “And when we look at neighbouring countries, we see it’s a big problem everywhere that we have to deal with now.”

The more transmissible Omicron variant, which was first reported in South Africa in November, is spreading rapidly in Germany.

Experts believe that Omicron tends to lead to milder courses of the disease and that people who are infected need to be hospitalised less often.

READ ALSO: German Health Minister warns of ‘naive believe Omicron signals end of pandemic’

However, the German government’s expert council recently warned that the strong infection dynamics threaten to outweigh the advantage of milder courses of the disease.

There are concerns that if large numbers of people are infected at the same time it could still overload the healthcare system, and lead to many people off sick at the same time which could destabilise vital services.

Some leading experts are calling for other approaches.

Bonn virologist Hendrik Streeck called for a “pragmatic approach” to the pandemic, and “to learn to live with the virus”.

“In contrast, the permanent state of alarm is tiring and not successful,” he told German daily Bild.

Streeck, however, urged that the burden in hospitals should “continue to be monitored closely and, if necessary, to react with measures”.

Germany on Monday reported 25,255 Covid cases and 52 deaths within the latest 24 hour period.

The 7-day incidence climbed to 375.7 infections per 100,000 people.

READ ALSO: Covid infections rise in Germany as Omicron spreads

German vocabulary 

In due course – zu gegebener Zeit 

Measures – (die) Maßnahmen

Entry/access – (der) Zugang

People who’ve received their booster vaccination – Geboosterte

Society/community – (die) Gesellschaft 

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

Member comments

  1. first the country was told masks would slow the pandemic. then the country was told lockdowns would slow the pandemic. then the country was told the “[email protected]” would END the pandemic, and now that the boosters will finally bring us all to a safer place. meanwhile, there has been barely any resolution. how may boosters is enough? how many mandates are enough? when will the country start to demand more of its officials, ask important questions, challenge this narrative, and think for itself?

    1. Unfortunately I think most of society has been trained to believe the government want whats best for “the people”.
      We need to learn to live with this virus. And that means:
      1.Protecting the vulnerable, vaccine and shield. Just like we do with the flu.
      2. Forget vaccine passes/ mandates. There is zero evidence they work at all.
      3. Face masks must go. If you want to wear one it should be a personal choice.
      4. Get the economy fully open. Everyone can choose where they want to go.
      If you’re scared feel free to stay home. Let everyone else get on with it.

      I heard today that they have been doing studies on the T cell protection from the common cold seems to offer a very good protection from even contracting the covid 19. It sounded very promising. (If I can re find the link I will post it here.)

      We can’t stop covid. We can’t control it. Its going to do what virus’s do. But the damage we are doing to the young generations is inexcusable. We need to end this madness.

  2. I am confused in that:

    One not vaccinated ‘may’ have a Covid-19 infection which, ‘may’ infect vaccinated people.

    Those that have received vaccinations, who in turn ‘may’ benefit from a less debilitating condition, ‘if’ infected, could pass it onto the unvaccinated, it being the latter’s choice to risk debilitating conditions, if that is in fact the case.

    Reference to RKI Status reports e.g. do not show drastic changes to ICU occupancy. Said occupancy alleged heavily by Media and Government members to being touted around as mainly unvaccinated cases!

    Note: If hospitalised with only the first vaccination one is classed as unvaccinated.

    Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics?

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Covid deaths in Sweden ‘set to rise in coming weeks’

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has warned that the number of weekly Covid deaths is set to rise, after the number of people testing positive for the virus rose for the sixth week running.

Covid deaths in Sweden 'set to rise in coming weeks'

According to the agency, an average of 27 people have died with or from the virus a week over the past three weeks. 

“According to our analyses, the number who died in week 27 (July 4th-July 11th), is more than died in week 26 and we expect this to continue to grow,” the agency wrote in a report issued on Thursday. 

In the week ending July 17th (week 28), 4,700 new cases of Covid-19 were registered, a 22 percent rise on the previous week. 

“We are seeing rising infection levels of Covid-19 which means that there will be more people admitted to hospital, and even more who die with Covid-19,”  said Anneli Carlander, a unit chief at the agency. “The levels we are seeing now are higher than they were last summer, but we haven’t reached the same level we saw last winter when omicron was spreading for the first time.” 

While 27 deaths a week with for from Covid-19 is a rise on the low levels seen this spring, it is well below the peak death rate Sweden saw in April 2020, when more than 100 people were dying a day. 

The number of Covid deaths recorded each week this summer. Source. Public Health Agency of Sweden
A graph of Covid deaths per day since the start of the pandemic shows that the current death rate, while alarming, remains low. Photo: Public Health Agency of Sweden

Carlander said that cases were rising among those in sheltered accommodation for the elderly, and also elderly people given support in their own homes, groups which are recommended to get tested for the virus if they display symptoms. The infection rate among those given support in their homes has risen 40 percent on last week. 

This week there were also 12 new patients admitted to intensive care units with Covid-19 in Sweden’s hospitals.  

The increase has come due to the new BA.5 variant of omicron, which is better able to infect people who have been vaccinated or already fallen ill with Covid-19. Vaccination or a past infection does, however, give protection against serious illness and death.