Germany must remain vigilant and further reduce the number of coronavirus infections if the country is to enjoy a “carefree summer” and large-scale reopening, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Sunday.
“The weather is improving, the number of vaccines is increasing, infection rates go down. Restrictions will fall one by one, “Spahn told Bild am Sonntag.
“And that’s incredibly important after the long, dark winter months. But for a carefree summer, we need to further reduce the incidence rate,” he said.
Germany has managed in recent weeks to break a third wave of the pandemic after imposing strict bands across the country and picking up the pace of vaccinations.
The seven-day incidence rate in the most populous country in the European Union, closely monitored, has fallen from 169 new infections per 100,000 people in late April to 64.5 on Sunday.
The 16 German regional states have begun to relax restrictions, with some reopening breweries, hotels and swimming pools, while others return students to school full time.
But Spahn warned it would not open too soon.
“Caution and vigilance remain the order of the day,” he told Bild.
“Last summer the incidence rate was less than 20. We should point it out again.”
The minister also said Germany had to learn lessons from the summer of 2020, when returning tourists caused an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Spahn said special attention should be paid to the travel of people visiting relatives from Turkey and Balkan countries, which last year “accounted for about 50 percent of new infections” in Germany.
“We need to prevent this this year,” he said, stressing the importance of mandatory coronavirus testing.
“We want to establish first agreements with countries like Turkey on arrival and departure tests,” he added.
Looking ahead to the new school year, Spahn said Germany would start inoculating 12- to 15-year-olds as soon as European regulators approve the Pfizer / BioNTech jab for those ages, which he hopes will happen “soon.”
“The goal is for regional states to offer (those) students a jab before the end of August.”
Germany has recorded more than 3.6 million coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, adding 6,714 more cases over the past 24 hours, according to health agency Robert Koch.
So far more than 87,000 people have died.
© 2021 AFP
Citation: Germany needs a lower virus number for a “carefree summer”: the minister (2021, May 23) recovered on May 23, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-05-germany- virus-carefree-summer-minister.html
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