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Germany peels away most of remaining Covid-19 measures

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Germany peels away most of remaining Covid-19 measures
A worker removes a sticker from a tram in Rostock, Mecklenburg-Western Pommerania on February 1st reminding passengers to wear a face mask. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd Wüstneck

Three years after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Germany, the country repealed most of the protective measures on Wednesday. Here's which measures still remain.

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As of Wednesday, the Germany-wide requirement to take a Covid-19 test to enter healthcare facilities was repealed. 

The FFP2 mask requirement for employees working in doctor’s offices, clinics and care facilities - as well as for nursing home residents - was also lifted.

However, the rule still applies to patients in doctor’s offices and clinics, in addition to nursing home visitors, until April 7th, said German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) on Wednesday. 

"Anyone who visits patients or nursing home residents, or who attends doctor's appointments, will still have to wear a mask," Lauterbach said. "That should be worth it to us to protect vulnerable groups." 

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This also includes visitors to dialysis facilities, day clinics and the ER, he said. 

"We support the discontinuation of the measures in Germany," Christine Vogler, President of the German Nursing Council, told the newspapers of the Funke Mediengruppe on Wednesday.

"The people who work in the health sector in Germany are competent enough to deal with the situation."

READ ALSO: Most Germany-wide Covid measures to expire on March 1st

'Situation has stabilised'

Lauterbach justified the relaxation of rules - which had originally been planned for April 7th - by stating that “the coronavirus situation in Germany has stabilised”

He encouraged people to continue wearing masks voluntarily "on the basis of personal responsibility", adding that "the virus should not be trivialised" and warning of potential longer-term health impacts.

Several factors have contributed to the measures being repealed, Lauterbach said, including a higher level of immunity in the public and a reduced chance of new mutations, which means a spring resurgence of the coronavirus is unlikely.

Germany has been progressively repealing coronavirus protection measures. On February 2nd, it dropped a nationwide requirement to wear a face mask on buses and trains, after several states had already let go of the rule. 

On April 7th, the last of Germany’s nationwide coronavirus measures will expire, “and then an extension is no longer planned,” said Lauterbach.  

The first cases of Covid-19 were reported in January 2020 in Germany, with a wide-scale outbreak in March 2020, leading to the closure of public life and strict rules on gatherings, face masks, testing and quarantine.

By March 1st, Germany had reported 38,168,933 coronavirus cases, and a total of 168,129 people who died with or from the virus, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). 

Vocabulary

care homes - Pflegeheim

repealed - aufgehoben

vulnerable groups - (die) Risikogruppen

discontinuation - (der) Wegfall

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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