Fri, 01 Dec 2023

Germany announces new fall, winter COVID-19 measures

Robert Besser
06 Aug 2022, 23:58 GMT+10

BERLIN, Germany: The German government's basic COVID-19 restrictions would return this fall and winter, when experts expect cases to rise again as people spend more time indoors.

From October until early April, face masks and showing proof of a negative test will be mandatory to gain entry to hospitals, nursing homes and institutions with vulnerable people.

Masks will also be mandatory for airplane passengers and those making long-distance journeys by train and bus.

However, Germany's 16 states will be allowed to adopt their own rules and can decide whether to require masks on local public transportation, in schools for students in fifth grade and up, and at public indoor events.

In a joint statement, Germany's health and justice ministers said if COVID-19 case numbers rise, community facilities such as schools, prisons or asylum-seeker shelters, may implement regular testing requirements again.

A fall vaccination campaign is also being planned by the government.

"Germany should be better prepared for the next coronavirus winter than in previous years," said Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, as quoted by the Associated Press.

Schools will be kept open, while states will "only be able to impose a mask requirement at schools if this is necessary in order to be able to continue to provide in-person teaching," Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said.

"Children have a right to school education and a school day that is as carefree as possible. School closures must therefore not be allowed," he added.

The new regulations must still be approved by the cabinet and parliament, but are expected to pass.

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