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Germany: Scholz and First Ministers to put in Place New Contact Restrictions, Defend the System

After Christmas, there will likely be new contact restrictions in Germany. They are supposed to be put in place because of the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus which will likely make the number of new infections soar.

Note: Since the editing software we use cannot handle the size of our Corona Chronology for 2021 anymore, we already are in 2022. Looking for the daily Corona update for Germany? Find it here.
Corona Chronology for Germany, 2022 (from Dec. 22nd, 2021)
Corona Chronology for Germany, 2021
Corona Chronology for Germany, 2020

Berlin, December 21st, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — Exactly a year ago, in late 2020, a transport ban for passengers from the United Kingdom was put in place because of the Alpha variant of the Coronavirus that was spreading there. Now, Germany declared Great Britain a ‘Virus Variant Area’ again. This time, it is about Omicron, a far more contagious mutation. Experts believe it will make the number of new Corona infections explode within weeks. Delaying it as much as possible is the new German government’s goal.

Draft Proposal

This is the calm before the storm. For now, Germany’s Seven Day Incidence is decreasing. Today, it stands at 306.4. There are 23,428 new infections, which is a very high number. But, in comparison to the numbers the country registered in the past few weeks, in the ongoing fourth Corona wave, it actually seems low. Today, the Robert Koch Institute reported 462 Corona-related deaths since yesterday, which means that almost 20 persons died of COVID-19 every hour, statistically speaking. This is a rather high number.

The fear is that things will get a lot worse very soon. They already are in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and other countries. What is going on there is a preview of what experts are expecting in Germany. Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ new government and the sixteen federal states intend to act. Several German-language media quoted a draft proposal for Scholz’ Corona conference, an online discussion which is scheduled to commence in the early afternoon.

After Christmas

Scholz, who just returned from a short visit to Rome, and his colleagues from the states do not want to upset the nation too much, which is why the measures they will probably agree to are supposed to be put in place after Christmas, but on time for New Year’s Eve, on December 28th, 2021. They include contact restrictions.

Persons who are vaccinated and those who recently recovered from Corona infections will be allowed to gather in groups of up to 10 people. This rule will likely apply for both indoor and outdoor gatherings. Children up to 14 years of age do not count here. The rules will be stricter as soon as one unvaccinated person is involved. In this case, people from one household may gather with up to two individuals from up to one more household. In the draft resolution, the government is asking everyone to test themselves for Corona infections ahead of the Christmas holidays, especially if they intend to meet elderly persons.

Too Much

More harsh measures are being discussed. These include closing down all clubs and discotheques again. Young party people and club owners are going to be furious if this decision will indeed be taken. But dealing with angry or disappointed citizens is still a lot easier than confronting a Coronavirus variant that could overburden Germany’s health system rather quickly, especially when the latter is already working at its maximum capacity beforehand.

Just like last year, a sales ban on pyrotechnical products ahead of New Year’s Eve was already agreed on. This measure is being taken for two reasons. First of all, the use of fireworks and firecrackers could have led to more big gatherings which need to be prevented from taking place because of the increasing danger of infection. Secondly, injuries result from the use of those products every year. Because many hospitals have already reached their limit, dealing with those kinds of injuries on top of it all would be too much.

Critical Infrastructure

There will likely be restrictions in regard to the size of big events, including cultural ones and soccer matches. Olaf Scholz and the states are also trying to keep the vaccination campaign going at the high pace it recently reached, with up to 1.5 million administered immunization shots per day. Until the end of the year, Scholz wanted to have 30 million doses of vaccine injected into people’s arms. On Monday, 26.2 million shots were administered, meaning the goal could be reached.

The Chancellor and First Ministers intend to discuss another important subject, namely ways to keep the system going when countless people need to go into quarantine because of Omicron. Germany’s “critical infrastructure” has to be in service at all times, including the police, fire departments, hospitals, ambulances as well as the electricity and water supply and telecommunication services. For the first time since the crisis began two years ago, it is about defending the system against the aggressive virus. This is what the situation has come to.

All relevant Corona numbers for Germany, and daily Corona updates, can be found in our Corona chronology.

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