German cities call for 'quick decisions' on Covid measures for summer

DPA/The Local
DPA/The Local - [email protected] • 17 Jun, 2022 Updated Fri 17 Jun 2022 11:06 CEST
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A shop in Tübingen city centre requests that customers continue to wear protective masks. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd Weißbrod

Covid infections are rising rapidly in Germany once again, prompting calls for new measures to keep the situation under control.


"We need quick decisions and a new federal Infection Protection Act before the summer break," Markus Lewe, head of the Association of German Cities, told the Funke Media Group on Friday.

He said it was becoming clear that the available instruments weren't enough to help local governments stem the spread of the virus.

"The Covid pandemic must not keep taking us by surprise," Lewe added. 

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) met with the vice president of the Robert Koch Institute, Lars Schaade, in Berlin on Friday to discuss the current Covid situation.

At present, the Infection Protection Act - which allows for basic measures such as masks on public transport and in care homes - is due to expire on September 23rd.


Free Covid rapid tests are also due to be scrapped at the end of June and there are calls for 'empty' vaccination centres to be closed over the summer. 

READ ALSO: German doctors call for ’empty’ Covid vaccine centres to close

However Lewe, who is mayor of the city of Münster, demanded that free Covid tests be extended and that municipal vaccination centres remain operational.

In addition, he argued, mandatory masks should remain an option in indoor public venues such as shopping and leisure centres. 

"The same applies to 3G or 2G rules, i.e. access for the vaccinated, the recovered and possibly the tested," Lewe said. "Here the law must be adapted."

'Summer wave'

On Friday, the RKI recorded a 7-day incidence of 427 new Covid infections per 100,000 people in Germany. However, the public health authority warned that these figures could be unreliable due to the Fronleichnam public holiday that took place in six German states on Thursday.

Just a week ago, the 7-day incidence was 318 per 100,000 people, while on Thursday, it was 480.

The sudden jump in Covid infections prompted Lauterbach to declare the beginning of a new summer wave and to call on vulnerable groups to get a second booster jab.


In a press conference on Friday morning alongside the RKI's Schaade, he once again urged people to voluntarily wear masks in indoor public spaces. 

Lauterbach also announced that the government would launch a new vaccination campaign in autumn and said the public should also prepare for new measures in the cooler months. 

READ ALSO: Summer Covid wave has arrived in Germany, says Health Minister

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) removes his FFP2 mask at a press conference in Berlin on Friday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Michael Kappeler

"The aim is quite clearly that we want to go into the autumn better than we were able to last year and also the year before," he said. 

The new wave of infections is believed to be due to two highly infectious Omicron subvariants that are believed to be particularly adept at breaching existing immunity from vaccinations and previous infections.

In its weekly report, the RKI noted the rapid growth of the BA.4 and BA.5 subtypes in infection samples in recent weeks. 

"The strong growth of BA.4 and especially BA.5, but also BA.2.12.1, suggests that these variants currently already account for the majority of detections," the report explained.

As of last week, BA.5 accounted for about 24 percent of the positive samples in a random samples - which is around double the share of infections the week before. BA.4 and BA.2.12.1 were both around four percent.



DPA/The Local 2022/06/17 11:06

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