Around three weeks after states in Germany dropped many of their Covid measures, the federal parliament is set to follow with a massive relaxation of mask-wearing and other Covid restrictions.
The obligation to wear a mask in the building and present ‘3G’ proof to participate in plenary and committee meetings will be abolished as of Monday “in light of the current pandemic situation”, a memo from Bundestag President Bärbel Bas explained.
“Of course, everyone is free to continue wearing a mask,” Bas wrote. “In particular, where it is not possible to remain at a distance, this continues to seem advisable.”
MPs will still be able to order masks and tests on expenses and will be able to get tested at the Bundestag until May 20th.
The move marks the beginning of the end of 18 months of strict Covid measures in Germany’s iconic parliamentary building.
At the height of the pandemic, 736 MPs and their staff were even subject to the ‘2G-plus’ rule, requiring them to be fully vaccinated or recovered and also present a negative test to enter the debating chamber.
The move meant that several politicians from the far-right AfD party – many of whom are vaccine sceptics – were unable to enter the main chamber and instead had to sit in the public viewing area where the 2G-plus rule did not apply.
Covid infections on the up
After dropping consistently for several weeks, the 7-day incidence of Covid infections has once again started to rise in Germany. This could be due to underreporting over the Easter weekend but may also reflect the relaxation of measures and the fact that more people were socialising during the break.
As of Thursday, the weekly incidence of infections stood at 720 per 100,000 people. Around 186,000 new infections were reported within the past 24 hour period, and 324 people died after contracting the virus.
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