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VACCINES

Couple in southern Germany accused of forging Covid vaccination certificates

A couple in Baden-Württemberg has been accused of selling fake coronavirus vaccination certificates, authorities said Friday.

Couple in southern Germany accused of forging Covid vaccination certificates
A vaccination certficate. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christopher Neundorf

According to police and public prosecutors, “various” forged vaccination certificates and thousands of adhesive labels, some already printed to confirm two shots against Covid-19, were found in a flat in in the district of Reutlingen, reported German media.

Officers said they also found drugs during the search.

A 31-year-old man was remanded in custody, while his 34-year-old partner was released after police measures were completed. According to the report, the authorities were put on the trail of the couple by a tip-off. On Thursday, they raided the house.

Preliminary proceedings are now underway against the two suspects on suspicion of commercial document forgery.

According to the police and the public prosecutor’s office, they are alleged to have sent vaccination certificates with false Covid vaccination entries to “various buyers”. The 31-year-old is also being investigated for drug trafficking.

Germany has granted freedoms to people who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. If you show proof of being vaccinated, for instance, you don’t have to quarantine after travel (unless you’re coming from a variant risk zone), and you can visit a restaurant without having to get a Covid test.

EXPLAINED: What are Germany’s new freedoms for vaccinated people and Covid-19 survivors?

People who are fully inoculated can show their vaccination booklet, which has a stamp and sticker inside. Those who don’t have a booklet get a piece of paper.

READ MORE:

The government is in the process of developing a digital vaccination pass which they hope will help limit the number of forged vaccine documents.

Member comments

  1. The authorities need to come down heavily on these Covid vacc certificate forgers, since otherwise the credibility and convenience of the yellow WHO vaccination booklet will be under threat.

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COVID-19

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Since the start of Germany’s Oktoberfest, the incidence of Covid infections in Munich has risen sharply. Though a connection with the festival can’t yet be proven, it seems likely.

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Two weeks after the start of Oktoberfest, the Covid numbers in Munich have more than tripled.

On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an incidence of 768.7 for the city of Munich, though updated figures for the end of the festival are not expected until later in the week. Usually, on weekends and public holidays, there is a delay in reports.

In the entire state of Bavaria, the incidence value on Sunday was 692.5.

According to Munich’s public health officer, Beatrix Zurek, bed occupancy in Munich hospitals has also increased. Two weeks ago, 200 beds in Munich were occupied by Covid patients, whereas there are now around 350.

Though a relationship between the sharp rise in infections with Oktoberfest, which ended on Monday, can’t be proven at the moment, it seems very likely, according to experts. A significant increase in Covid incidences has also been shown at other public festivals – about one and a half weeks after the start. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, around 5.7 million visitors came to this year’s Wiesn according to the festival management – around 600,000 fewer than at the last Oktoberfest before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) took to Twitter to comment on the rise in incidence in Munich during the Oktoberfest. “This would not have been necessary if self-tests had been taken before admission,” he said.

“Compared to the price of a measure of beer, €2-3 (for tests) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.

Even before the start of the Wiesn, he had spoken out in favour of people taking voluntary self-tests. Lauterbach stressed that now is the time for special measures against Covid.

“The development shows what will happen if the states wait too long with the mask obligation in indoor areas,” he added.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

In neighbouring counties, where many Oktoberfest visitors came from, the number of Covid cases has also risen noticeably.  Beatrix Zurek said that it is unclear, however, how much of a role Oktoberfest played in these figures, as people are currently much more active socially overall, with concerts and other events also taking place throughout the state.

Christoph Spinner, an infections specialist at Munich’s Klinikum, has urged people not to be alarmed by the rising numbers.

“We had expected rising incidences here. We knew that there could be a doubling, tripling, even quadrupling,” he said.

He said that this is no cause for concern, as many people have been vaccinated or have also recovered from previous Covid infections, so any new infections are therefore usually mild.

The virologist advises people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions to get a second booster vaccination, but otherwise said people shouldn’t be alarmed by the rising incidences.

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