Covid-19: Germany to impose fines on people who give false contact details in restaurants

Germany is tightening rules on contact tracing with plans to fine people who provide false contact details in restaurants and bars.

Covid-19: Germany to impose fines on people who give false contact details in restaurants
People enjoying beers and food in Munich. Photo: DPA

Under new rules, diners and bar-goers face paying a €50 fine if they submit fake or incomplete contact details, according to DPA.

People in Germany have to give their contact details if they are in a restaurant, cafe or similar establishment so that if there is an outbreak, they can be contacted and told to self-isolate and get tested.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the state premiers of Germany's 16 states have been discussing how to deal with coronavirus in the colder months.

In view of the continuing high number of Covid-19 cases, it has been decided that no further reopening steps on public life are to be allowed at the moment.

Instead, rules will be tightened, such as the fine for giving false contact details. Merkel and the state leaders have been discussing a host of further measures.

READ ALSO: These are Germany's proposed new rules for coronavirus


More public awareness

In a bid to step up the fight against Covid-19 and increase awareness among the German public, two more letters are to be added to the “AHA” (which stands for Abstand halten, Hygiene und Alltagsmaske) formula that Germany advises for keeping distance, hygiene and everyday masks.

The two extra letters are “C” to stand for 'Corona Warning App' and “L” to stand for “Lüften” or ventilation.

“Regular airing in all private and public rooms can considerably reduce the risk of infection,” says the draft proposals.

So far, according to DPA information, there have not been any major differences of opinion during the meeting. However, clashes are likely to arise when it comes to setting the maximum numbers of participants in celebrations in private and public spaces.

Member comments

  1. There should be no group gatherings AT ALL. 25 people is too much. Needs to be small family gatherings only or meeting one or two friends. Not 20.

  2. Agreed, but certain parts of the Community feel that it is more important to have huge numbers of guests than just get married, for instance.

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Pandemic in Germany unlikely to end this year, says top virologist

High profile German virologist Christian Drosten believes Germany will see a severe spike in Covid infections after summer, and that the pandemic will not become endemic this year.

Pandemic in Germany unlikely to end this year, says top virologist

Drosten previously said that Germany would probably be able to declare the end of the pandemic this year.

But in an interview with Spiegel, Drosten said he had reevaluated his opinion. 

“When the Alpha variant came, it was very surprising for me. When Delta appeared I was sceptical at first, then with Omicron we had to reorient ourselves again. And since January there have already been new Omicron subtypes.

“So I would actually like to correct myself: I no longer believe that by the end of the year we will have the impression that the pandemic is over.”

READ ALSO: End is in sight for pandemic in Germany, says virologist 

Drosten also said that Germany will not see a largely Covid-free summer, which has been the case in previous years, and a further increase in infections in autumn. 

“We are actually already seeing an exponential increase in case numbers again,” Drosten said.

“The BA.5 variant (of Omicron) is simply very transmissible, and people are losing their transmission protection from the last vaccination at the same time.”

In other countries, he said, when the number of cases become high, hospitalisation and death rates also rise again. “Unfortunately, that will also be the case here,” said Drosten, but added: “Overall, however, far fewer people will become seriously ill and die than in 2021.”

Drosten said he expected many more infections from September.

“I hope that the school holidays will dampen the increase in cases somewhat. But from September, I fear we will have very high case numbers,” the head of the virology department at Berlin’s Charité hospital told Spiegel.

READ ALSO: German Health Minister lays out autumn Covid plan

Virologist Christian Drosten at a Covid press conference in 2021.

Virologist Christian Drosten at a Covid press conference in 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Kay Nietfeld

If the government does not take any action, he predicted there would be a lot of sick leave across all industries. “That will become a real problem,” he said.

Drosten said he did not expect overcrowded intensive care units in Germany.

But the new BA.5 sub-variant, which is becoming dominant in Germany, may affect people more strongly. 

“The wheel is turning more towards disease again,” said Drosten. It is not true that a virus automatically becomes more and more harmless in the course of evolution. “That makes me even more worried about the autumn,” he said.

Drosten recommends wearing masks indoors during the colder months, saying it is “the least painful” measure.

If, in addition, “up to 40 million people could be immunised or given a booster vaccination” before winter, for example by urgently calling for company vaccinations, that would “really make a difference”, Drosten said.

In the long term, he said it’s inevitable that people will become infected with coronavirus.

He said the population immunity due to vaccinations and infections will at some point be so strong that the virus will become less important. “Then we will be in an endemic state,” said Drosten. In the worst case, however, this could take “several more winters”.

However, Drosten warned against people trying to deliberately infect themselves with Covid, saying getting the infection in summer doesn’t mean people will be protected in winter. 

Drosten himself said he has not yet contracted Covid-19.

“So far, I guess I’ve just been lucky,” he said. “I rarely put myself in risky situations, but I’m not overly cautious either.”

‘Pandemic depends on behaviour’

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI)’s latest weekly report, more outbreaks are occurring in care homes, and the number of patients in intensive care units is slightly rising as infections go up. 

The institute said there had been a 23 percent increase in the 7-day incidence compared to the previous week. On Friday the 7-day incidence stood at 618.2 infections per 100,000 people. There were 108,190 infections within the latest 24 hour period and 90 deaths. 

“The further course of the pandemic depends not only on the occurrence of new virus variants and the uptake of vaccinations on offer, it also depends to a large extent on the behaviour of the population,” said the RKI.

According to the DIVI intensive care register, the number of Covid-19 patients in ICUs had increased to 810 on Thursday this week, from about 600 at the beginning of the month.

However, that number is still low compared to previous Covid peaks when thousands of people were in intensive care in Germany.