Germany’s lockdown nightmare: Health chief warns of new restrictions from autumn

Germany should stop free Covid testing from October says Ziemiak

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During an open session of the Union parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn issued a warning that the “fourth wave is coming”. He said people must “hold on again until spring” before restrictions are eased.

However, Mr Spahn said: “Three out of four Germans will not experience any contact restrictions in the future”.

Mr Spahn suggested those who have been vaccinated and recovered from the virus would be exempt from restrictions.

But at the same time, Mr Spahn warned those who are not vaccinated will “most likely get infected in the next few months”.

Janine Wissler, the chairwoman of the Left, warned against no longer using the incidence value as the most important benchmark in Germany’s coronavirus policy.

She said: “In spite of all the justified criticism, the incidence and the R-value are still the more sensible indicators for the occurrence of the infection.

“Those who make hospitalisation the benchmark ignore the suffering of those who do not have a severe infection but suffer from long-term consequences.”

According to the Robert Koch Institute, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 5,578 to 3,810,641.

More than 5,500 new infections were recorded within the last 24 hours and a further 19 people have died in Germany.

Earlier this week, Chancellor Angela Merkel revealed free coronavirus tests will end by October.

Ms Merkel said: “Since we can already make a vaccination offer to every citizen, we will abolish free citizen testing for everyone as of October 11 – for all those who could get vaccinated, that is.

“Since the Delta variant is very aggressive … we still need basic protection measures for the entire population.”

She went on to say how Germany is no longer the “best” in Europe when it comes to vaccine uptake.

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Ms Merkel added: “We are no longer the best in Europe, there are a number of countries that are … more enthusiastic about vaccinating than Germany.

“Today I’m asking everyone again to ask those around them to also get vaccinated because it’s simply a protection for all of us.”

Germany entered its fourth wave of the pandemic last month as cases soared for the first time in nearly two months.

The more transmissible Delta variant became the predominant strain in the country in July and accounted for more than 84 percent of all new cases.

Last month, Christopher Dye, an epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, warned Europe’s vaccine rollout is not “high enough” to prevent more people getting ill.

He said: “Europe is in quite a precarious position.

“We’ve had lots of success in … vaccine rollout.

“But that level of vaccination is not yet high enough to prevent many people still from becoming ill and many people still from dying.”

To date, more than 205,000,000 cases of the virus have been recorded around the world.

The total number of global deaths has reached 4,341,963.

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg

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