What’s the latest?
On Monday the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 2,126 new Covid-19 infections within 24 hours, as well as four Covid deaths. A week ago the number of Covid cases logged within a 24-hour period was 1,183.
The number of infections per 100,000 people within seven days rose to 36.2. On Sunday the incidence was 35 and a week ago it stood at 23.1, signalling a significant growth in Covid cases over the past six weeks.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the RKI has registered 3,823,139 confirmed Covid infections. The actual total number is likely much higher, as many infections go detected. There have been 91,871 deaths connected to coronavirus registered in Germany since the start of the crisis.
The Our World in Data chart below shows the trend in a few countries including Germany, featuring Covid cases per million people.
What does this mean?
After meeting with the 16 state premiers last week, Chancellor Merkel announced that the country’s ‘health pass’ scheme would be rolled out nationwide – and 35 new Covid infections per 100,000 is the important benchmark for introducing it.
From August 23rd at the latest, districts with a 7-day incidence of 35 new Covid infections per 100,000 people or more will require a health pass (that is proof of vaccination, recovery from Covid or a negative Covid test) to access most indoor public spaces – like cinemas, indoor dining or the gym – and events.
Although a system requiring proof of vaccination/recovery or a negative test has been in place across most German states in some form since the relaxing of restrictions earlier this year, a nationwide official system had not yet been agreed.
The aim is to try and control the fourth Covid wave, and encourage people to get vaccinated. From October 11th, those eligible for vaccination who choose not to get the jab will have to pay for their own Covid tests for access to activities. At the moment there are free rapid tests for everyone.
Is it all about the incidence?
The 7-day incidence has been the basis for many Covid restrictions in Germany so far. Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders decided last week that the incidence will remain the most important factor for assessing the Covid situation in Germany.
But other indicators such as the vaccination rate, the number of severe courses of disease, and hospital admissions will also be monitored closely.
So what’s the situation across districts?
The fact that Germany’s nationwide incidence rate is rising means that it is going up in individual districts although there are still major differences across the board.
As the screenshot from the RKI’s dashboard below shows, some of the worst affected areas are in western regions and around larger cities. The districts with the highest 7-day incidences are shown on the left.
Notably, Flensburg and Mönchengladbach have a Covid infection rate above 100 cases per 100,000 people within seven days.
Meanwhile, on Monday Hamburg logged 77.8 Covid cases per 100,000 people in seven days, Berlin registered an incidence of just over 55, Frankfurt had an incidence of 50 and Munich’s incidence was 32.6.
What else should we look out for?
Other countries will be watching Germany’s rising nationwide rate closely and may decide to change the risk factor of the country. It is currently on the UK’s ‘green’ list meaning that everyone – whether vaccinated or not – can skip quarantine when coming from Germany. But if the rate keeps rising, it could be moved back to the ‘amber’ list in future.