SHARE
COPY LINK

COVID-19

Germany ends quarantine pay for the unvaccinated

From November 1st, Germans who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 will no longer receive compensation for lost pay if they have to quarantine.

Corona Warn App
The Corona Warn app informs a user that they are at a high risk of having contracted the virus. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Kira Hofmann

The government had been stepping in to pay workers sent into quarantine for at least five days after having contact with an infected person or returning from a “high risk” area abroad.

But that policy will end from November 1st, Spahn said in September after a meeting with the health ministers of Germany’s 16 states, in the latest government initiative to encourage more Germans to take the jab.

Getting vaccinated remained a “personal decision”, Spahn said, but that decision would now “also come with the responsibility to bear the financial consequences”.

“Some people will say this means pressure for the unvaccinated. I think we have to look at it the other way around — it is also a question of fairness,” he said.

Those who have been vaccinated are no longer required to quarantine in Germany.

A total of 64.6 percent of the German population had been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 as of Wednesday, according to official figures – well under the 85 percent deemed necessary by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) health agency.

READ ALSO: What employees in Germany should know about quarantine compensation

With the vaccination campaign running out of steam, the debate has been heating up around possible restrictions for the unvaccinated, though compulsory vaccination for parts of the population has so far been ruled out.

Many German states have introduced rules that allow restaurants and other leisure facilities to restrict entry to those who are vaccinated or can show they have recently recovered from the disease.

And since October, anyone wanting a rapid negative test as a substitute for proof of vaccination has had to pay for it out of their own pocket – ending a government initiative that had made testing widely available and free to all.

Germany on Monday reported 9,658 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours and an incidence rate of 154.8 new infections per 100,000 people over the past seven days. However, Covid numbers are usually under-reported over the weekend and generally rise significantly throughout the week. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

COVID-19 VACCINES

Omicron vaccines to arrive in Germany in September, says Health Minister

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach says vaccines adapted to target the Covid variant Omicron could arrive in Germany in September.

Omicron vaccines to arrive in Germany in September, says Health Minister

During a press conference on Friday, Lauterbach said that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) would approve the adapted vaccine for the BA1 subvariant of Omicron as early as September 1st. That means the vaccine could be delivered to Germany in early September.

Later in the month, European authorities will deal with the vaccine for the BA5 subvariant, which could then be delivered to Germany at the end of September. 

This means that the vaccines should be available just in time for the new Infection Protection Act, which is scheduled to come into force in Germany on October 1st.

Lauterbach said the government’s vaccination campaign for the Omicron booster shots is being prepared and will start “promptly”.

“The federal government has procured both vaccines in sufficient quantities,” he said. “We will therefore be supplied relatively early.”

The initial aim will be for risk groups to get the jab, if they haven’t had one recently. Health officials in Germany have been pushing for risk groups, such as older people, to get a fourth vaccination as soon as possible, rather than wait for the adapted vaccines.

READ ALSO: Reader question – Can I get a second booster jab in Germany?

Lauterbach recently told German media that others in Germany – such as those who have “a lot of contacts” should consider getting a second booster shot in some cases. That could apply to people who work in bars, for instance. Lauterbach recommended that these people talk to their family doctor. 

The general rule is that doctors do not have to vaccinate someone against Covid-19 if there is no official recommendation to do so. However, anyone can get the jab – free of charge – if they discuss it and agree with their doctor. 

The Local has asked for extra clarification from the Health Ministry on who should get an adapted vaccine when they arrive. 

Debate over mask rules for autumn

The Health Minister also talked about the planned new Covid protection laws and defended the proposals. They are set to be voted on and will come into force from October 1st.

Under the plans masks will remain mandatory in air and long-distance transport, as well as clinics, nationwide. But federal states will be able to choose themselves whether to keep measures like mandatory masks on public and regional transport in place.

READ ALSO Masks and no lockdowns: Germany’s new Covid plan from autumn to Easter

States will also have the choice to introduce compulsory masks in venues such as restaurants and bars – but there will be exemptions to wearing a mask for people who have recently been vaccinated (those jabbed in the previous three months), recovered or tested against Covid. 

Lauterbach said he believed that all states would introduce these extra restrictions because numbers would rise in autumn. 

Earlier this week some politicians said the exception to the mask rule did not make sense.

But Lauterbach said it would be safer if there were more freshly-vaccinated, recovered or tested people sitting in a restaurant than simply issuing a general mask requirement – because masks are removed when sitting down. 

The Health Minister also said that he didn’t think this would mean people would try to get vaccinated regularly just so they didn’t have to wear a mask. 

“It is not the case that vaccinations are given every three months,” Lauterbach said. He said the period of time for this exception could also change in future depending on research. 

Lauterbach said there are plans for the digital proof of vaccination or recovery on the Corona Warn app to be colour-coded to make it easier for venue bosses to check proof quickly. 

The Health Minister also said public facilities in Germany had managed to check 3G measures in the past. In previous Covid waves, people had to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a test to enter a venue, which is known as the 3G rules.

Commenting on the current situation, Lauterbach said there was a “favourable development” as Germany appears to be getting over the summer Covid wave. 

“The summer wave is now slowly starting to recede,” the SPD politician said. 

READ ALSO: Germany has passed peak of Covid summer wave, says RKI 

The number of Covid deaths are also going down, but is not yet “where we would like it to be”, Lauterbach said. And he warned that when there are more indoor contacts due to the cooler weather in autumn, as well as schools going back, the situation could change again. 

SHOW COMMENTS