Calls grow for Germany to bring in national restrictions for unvaccinated

2G entry rules in Dresden.
2G entry rules at a bar in Dresden. Photo: dpa-Zentralbild | Robert Michael
Several leading politicians and doctors have thrown their weight behind a move to bring in '2G' entry requirements across Germany, something that would effectively ban unvaccinated people from much of public life.

“We now need clear rules to break the chain of infections,” Klaus Reinhardt, head of the German Medical Association, told the Passauer Neue Presse on Saturday.

“Visits to restaurants, events or cinemas, for example, should now only be reserved for those who have recovered and those who have been vaccinated,” he added.

SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach said that the 2G rule, which only permits entry to vaccinated (geimpft) and recovered (genesen) people, should “take effect in all areas that are not necessary for daily needs, such as grocery stores or drugstores.”

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The calls for such a move come after Austria announced a nationwide 2G rule on Friday. Austrians without vaccinations will no longer be allowed to enter bars or hairdressers or attend events starting on Monday.

In Germany, the eastern state of Saxony will be the first state to implement the 2G rule across the board in parts of public life from Monday.

Only people who have recovered and have been vaccinated will have access to indoor restaurants, clubs, and leisure and cultural facilities. Major events such as sport in stadiums are also affected, but not retail outlets or religious services.

Reinhardt of the German Medical Association said that politicians should also consider bringing in lockdowns for the unvaccinated.

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“If it is a matter of securing inpatient care, I think that is justified. After all, it is currently mainly the unvaccinated who have to be treated with severe Covid in hospitals,” Reinhardt said.

Bavarian leader Markus Söder has called for 3G rules in the workplace, something that would mean unvaccinated people would need a negative test in order to enter their workplace.

“There needs to be mandatory 3G in the workplace throughout Germany,” the CSU leader told the Funke Mediengruppe newspapers on  Saturday.

“Employers must also have the right to ask whether employees are vaccinated or have taken a test,” Söder said.

More testing for vaccinated

Söder also said that rapid testing should be made free of charge once again.

“Unfortunately, the introduction of mandatory costs for tests has hardly increased people’s willingness to get a vaccine,” the CSU leader said. “Even vaccinated people must have the opportunity to be tested without financial expense.” 

Public health officials in Germany are pushing for a significant expansion of rapid tests for vaccinated people.

“The higher the incidence of cases now becomes, the more necessary it is that vaccinated people are also tested in addition to the unvaccinated,” Ute Teichert, head of the Federal Association of Public Health Service Physicians, told the Funke-Zeitungen.

“Anyone who is vaccinated can still carry the virus and pass it on, even if they don’t fall ill themselves,” she said.

The spread of the coronavirus through Germany has accelerated rapidly recently.

Health offices have reported record levels of new infections, with the seven-day incidence rising to 183.7 cases per 100,000 people, according to data released Saturday morning by the Robert Koch Institute.

In the fight against the fourth wave, federal and state health ministers on Friday agreed to bring in booster vaccinations six months after the second shot, mandatory testing in nursing homes, and tighter controls on entry rules, among other measures.

Lauterbach of the SPD advised against major Christmas and carnival celebrations in view of the rise in cases.

“It is important that people become more cautious,” he told the Rheinische Post newspaper. “This includes avoiding indoor Christmas parties if possible, celebrating in smaller groups at Christmas, and not going to carnivals.”


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