Germany reports almost 3,200 Omicron cases

Health experts say nearly 3,200 Omicron cases of Covid-19 have been detected so far in Germany, as well as one death.

People walk in Gießen, Hesse.
People walk in Gießen, Hesse. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said 810 Covid-19 infections with the Omicron strain were registered from Tuesday to Wednesday alone.

Of the 3198 total cases, 48 people were treated in the hospital.

According to the RKI report, Omicron infections occur most frequently in the 15-34 age group, with almost 1,500 cases, and in the 34-59 age group, where 1,050 infections have been reported so far.

Health authorities have also reported one known death of a person who contracted a Covid infection with the Omicron variant. The person who died was aged between 60 and 79.

The first Omicron case was reported in Germany in the week of November 15th.

Looking at the federal states, most Omicron cases – around 1,108 – have been detected in Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

This is followed by Bavaria with almost 600 cases and Hamburg with around 460 Omicron-strain infections. Just two cases have been recorded so far in Saarland. Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia are also still in the single digits with five and six cases respectively.

The German government is trying to push booster vaccinations to try and slow the spread of Omicron in Germany, and make sure people have more protection.

According to RKI figures, 70.5 percent of the population nationwide has been fully vaccinated so far and 33.8 percent have received the booster jab.

On Wednesday alone, more than one million people nationwide received a vaccination against Covid-19.

READ ALSO: Fourth Covid jab likely needed against Omicron, says Health Minister

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”