Bavarian premier urges Germans to get vaccinated on ‘moral’ grounds

The southeast German state premier urged people to get vaccinated, and is also looking to tighten 2G rules statewide, with so-called "2G Plus" for clubs.

Bavarian premier Markus Söder speaks at a press conference on Thursday.
Bavarian premier Markus Söder speaks at a press conference on Thursday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

Bavarian state premier Markus Söder (CSU) is planning to expand the southeastern German state’s “2G” rules, which would restrict more public places only to those who have been fully vaccinated against or recovered from Covid-19. 

The 2G rule is already in place for many cultural and sports places in the state, but restaurants and hotels continue to operate under “3G,” where people can also gain access with a negative PCR test rather than a vaccination or recovery certificate. But Söder said tighter rules were needed.

“We need nationwide 2G in Germany,” added Söder during a press conference on November 11th.

READ ALSO: Germany sees more than 50,000 Covid cases in a day

The Bavarian premier is also moving to put in place a “2G Plus” rule in discos and clubs. This would mean that only the vaccinated and recovered could enter many public places, and that they would also need to show a negative test.

He is also calling for booster vaccinations, where the fully vaccinated receive another dose, to be made available to anyone who had their second dose at least five months previous, noting that “boosters had brought relief” in Israel after the country saw a spike in infections earlier this year.

Currently the recommendation from German health ministers is to get a booster shot after six months.

Söder also said Bavaria would reopen its closed vaccination centres for people to get their jabs. 

He cautioned that Bavarian hospital capacity was under stress and appealed to the unvaccinated to get the shot in order to protect others, calling it a “moral” act.

Ahead of a conference between federal and state leaders next week, Söder also called for a consensus on booster shots, and laws that would require hospital and care home staff to be vaccinated.

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Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

German health ministers say that tougher Covid restrictions should come back into force if a serious wave emerges in autumn.

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

Following a video meeting on Monday, the health ministers of Germany’s 16 states said tougher restrictions should be imposed again if they are needed. 

“The corona pandemic is not over yet – we must not be deceived by the current declining incidences,” said Saxony-Anhalt’s health minister Petra Grimm-Benne, of the Social Democrats, who currently chairs the Conference of Health Ministers (GMK).

According to the GMK, new virus variants are expected to appear in autumn and winter. Over the weekend, federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) also warned that the more dangerous Delta variant could return to Germany. “That is why the federal Ministry of Health should draw up a master plan to combat the corona pandemic as soon as possible and coordinate it with the states,” Grimm-Benne said.

Preparations should also include an amendment of the Infection Protection Act, ministers urged. They want to see the states given powers to react to the infection situation in autumn and winter. They called on the government to initiate the legislative process in a timely manner, and get the states actively involved.

The current Infection Protection Act expires on September 23rd this year. Germany has loosened much of its Covid restrictions in the last months, however, face masks are still compulsory on public transport as well as on planes. 

READ ALSO: Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

The health ministers said that from autumn onwards, it should be possible for states to make masks compulsory indoors if the regional infection situation calls for it. Previously, wearing a Covid mask was obligatory in Germany when shopping and in restaurants and bars when not sitting at a table. 

Furthermore, the so-called 3G rule for accessing some venues and facilities – where people have to present proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test – should be implemented again if needed, as well as other infection protection rules, the ministers said. 

Bavaria’s health minister Klaus Holetschek, of the CSU, welcomed the ministers’ unanimous call for a revision of the Infection Protection Act. “The states must be able to take all necessary infection protection measures quickly, effectively, and with legal certainty,” he said.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s health minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) warned that no one should “lull themselves into a false sense of security”.

“We must now prepare for the colder season and use the time to be able to answer important questions about the immunity of the population or the mechanisms of infection chains,” he said.

On Tuesday, Germany reported 86,253 Covid infections within the latest 24 hour period, as well as 215 Covid-related deaths. The 7-day incidence stood at 437.6 infections per 100,000 people. However, experts believe there could be twice as many infections because lots of cases go unreported. 

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the Covid pandemic in Germany right now