Spahn insisted on Sunday that Germany’s ‘pandemic emergency powers’ should expire in November.
“The state of emergency, established by the Bundestag – that can be ended in my view because four out of five adults have been vaccinated,” he told broadcaster ZDF.
A nationwide Covid-19 state of emergency, which is a special clause in the German constitution, allows the federal and state governments to order measures without the approval of parliaments. It was first declared in March 2020.
In August this year, the Bundestag extended the “epidemic situation of national importance” for a further three months until November 25th. It will automatically end if not extended again by parliament.
The topic has sparked controversy in view of the currently rising Covid-19 infection figures in Germany. Critics fear a “patchwork” of measures and regulations across Germany’s 16 states when the state of emergency ends.
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However, Spahn said this move would not declare the pandemic over. He said restrictions, including Germany’s so-called Covid health pass entry rules to many indoor public spaces – known as 3G in German for vaccinated (geimpft), recovered (genesen) and tested (getestet) – were very important.
He said: “I also say consistently, as do many others, we still need precautionary measures in autumn and winter.” Spahn added that mask and distance rules were needed in areas such as public transport and shops.
Spahn said a change in the law would make it possible for the states and local authorities to continue Covid measures.
“I also expressly support that,” Spahn said, adding that he believed special protective measures were also needed in places like schools and nursing homes.
On Monday Germany recorded 6,573 Covid infections and 17 deaths within 24 hours. The 7-day incidence rose to 110.1 Covid infections per 100,000 residents.
The number of hospitalisations has also increased slightly.
Experts say the Covid situation will get worse over winter.
SPD health politician Karl Lauterbach warned of sharply rising infection figures among children.
“We will see significantly more outbreaks in schools after the autumn holidays,” he told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND).
“There will also be chains of infection in businesses. The same applies to bars and restaurants. We can expect a continuous increase.”
Lauterbach suggested more Covid testing in schools to help control the situation and protect children.