It is confirmed that there will be new restrictions on social contacts in Germany, where the federal government has met this Tuesday with regional leaders to discuss additional measures before the advance of the omicron variant in the country.
Germany ends restrictions on the unvaccinated and raises mandatory immunization
Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the heads of government have agreed to limit a maximum of ten participants no later than December 28 private gatherings of vaccinated and recovered people – children up to 14 years old are excluded. The authorities already restricted meetings in which unimmunized people are present weeks ago.
Clubs and discos will have to close and the big events will be held behind closed doors, without spectators, according to the ARD network.
Scholz stressed that action must be taken now. It is foreseeable, he said, that omicron will increase the numbers of infections enormously in the coming weeks. “We cannot and must not close our eyes to this next wave,” said Scholz, who has emphasized that the virus “will not take a Christmas break.”
They ask to reduce contacts “to the maximum”
This same Tuesday, the reference health authority, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) of virology, has urged to reduce contacts “to the maximum” immediately until at least mid-January as well as to dispense with all trips not strictly necessary to contain the dynamics of the imminent wave due to the omicron variant.
Among the necessary measures of “immediate” application, the RKI has also asked to speed up the speed of vaccination to the maximum, both for first doses and for booster doses, and to intensify measures to prevent contagion.
Immunization levels in Germany still lag behind its Western European neighbors: 73.5% of the population have been inoculated with at least one dose of the vaccine and 70.4% have the full schedule, according to the RKI. 32.6% have received a booster vaccine.
After a record wave of cases last November, the seven-day cumulative incidence maintains a downward trend to stand at 306.4 infections per 100,000 inhabitants – in Spain, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Health, the incidence of seven is 377.7 per 100,000 people.
Despite the decline in new infections of the fourth wave caused by the delta variant, hospitalizations and pressure in ICUs remain at a “very high” level in Germany. The RKI has warned that, if the dynamics of the imminent wave caused by omicron and the consequent rapid increase in infections are not stopped, it is to be expected that there will be a saturation of health care structures.
“The evolution of the epidemiological situation in the coming weeks depends on the behavior of the population on public holidays and the unpredictable dimension of influenza as an additional virus with epidemiological potential,” the institute points out.
According the last evaluation of the RKI, at this time the risk of contagion for the group of the unvaccinated is “very high”, for the group of recovered and vaccinated with the complete schedule (two doses) it is high and for the group of vaccinated with the dose of reinforcement (three times) is moderate.