German health minister urges states to bring back mask-wearing indoors

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German health minister urges states to bring back mask-wearing indoors
Karl Lauterbach (SPD), Federal Minister of Health, attends a press conference in 2022. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Michael Kappeler

Germany’s Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SDP) has urged states to reintroduce mask requirements for indoor spaces due to high Covid-19 infection numbers, while launching his Ministry's new Covid campaign on Friday.


"The direction we are heading in is not a good one," the SPD politician said at a press conference in Berlin on Friday, referring to rising numbers of Covid infections.


He said that it would make sense to introduce less stringent restrictions now than to have to bring in drastic ones later on. "Now is really the time," he said.

Under the current Covid regulations, which came into force on October 1st, mask-wearing is only mandatory on long-distance trains and for residents and staff in nursing and care homes.  

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

The states have the option to introduce mandatory masks in other public indoor spaces, including on local public transport and in schools. If they choose to bring in masks, they’ll also have the freedom to introduce exceptions for people who are recently vaccinated or who have tested negative for Covid.

The Health Minister made it clear, however, that with advanced vaccines, medicines and more accurate data, the tools are in place for keeping the pandemic under control this autumn and winter. He added that the federal government is doing everything it can to ensure that the Covid crisis stays in the background while the country continues to struggle to deal with the effects of the war in Ukraine.

READ ALSO: What should I do if I get Covid in Germany?

In that spirit, the Health Ministry's new campaign, called "I Protect Myself", seeks to promote vaccinations, but also mutual caution and protection with masks, in a way that focuses on individual responsibility and "sticking together as a community".

In the campaign, 84 "real people" talk about their experiences with Covid - some funny and some "not so funny", with each representing a million citizens. The campaign will be shown on television, social networks, in newspapers and on posters. Lauterbach repeatedly emphasised that it is not intended to scare people.


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Anonymous 2022/10/14 13:46
Everything this man does is to scare people. All he's done throughout the pandemic is run around screaming how were all going to die. And, are these new jabs as well tested as pfizers? You know, the one where they didn't even test to see if it stops transmission before selling it because they were moving at the speed of science. Or the money printer. Or was it tested on volunteers first? Or just eight mice as is what I've heard. And as for masks. We still do not have any conclusive evidence for their effectiveness. Even that committee said they assume a well fitted mask might help. But they don't know. Once you leave Germany basically no one wears them. The pandemic is over in most other countries. But not Germany, they haven't finished milking this cash cow for every last cent quite yet. And censored.

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