By Chris King • 21 March 2022 • 3:43
Germany lifted most of the remaining Covid-19 restrictions this Sunday, March 20, in the midst of a sixth wave with record numbers of infections and an incidence that has skyrocketed.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for virology estimates that there are currently between 1.5 and 2.7 million active cases of coronavirus in the country. It added that the incidence is trending upward thanks to the Omicron variant.
This Sunday, the weekly accumulated incidence rate was reported to be 1,708.7 infections per 100,000 inhabitants. Weekend figures are usually lower due to delays in data transmission, but even so, 131,792 new infections were reported.
However, according to the new law for the protection of infections, the government has eliminated the general restrictions. The application of measures to deal with specific outbreaks has been left almost entirely in the hands of the federal states.
The only restrictions remaining are measures called basic protection. These include the use of masks on public transport, and in places such as hospitals or homes for the elderly. In schools and nurseries, the obligation to carry out frequent tests can still be imposed.
Although the lifting of the restrictions came into force on Sunday, the federated states can extend the previous regulations until April 2, and most have announced that they will do so. In addition, the federal states can impose stricter regulations in the event that there is a local threat of saturation of the health system, which must be verified by the regional parliament.
Karl Lauterbach, the Minister of Health, took to Twitter. He warned the public that despite the anxiety that has existed in these two years for a return to normality, even with the lifting of general restrictions, “There is nothing to celebrate”.
“But the legal basis for the generalised restrictions is the saturation of the health system. Not only the incidence”, he pointed out. “That’s why I was only able to define outbreak locations where there may be saturation”, he added.
Mr Lauterback was criticised by opposition parties for this action, as well as by regional governments. Klaus Holetschek, the Bavarian Health Minister, commented, “Instead of a day of freedom, we have a day of foolishness”, as reported by cadenaser.com.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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