Merkel urged to drop all remaining Covid restrictions

Calls are growing in Germany to follow Britain’s lead and lift all remaining coronavirus restrictions within weeks.

Heiko Maas, the foreign minister, on Tuesday became the latest high-profile figure to join calls for restrictions to end as soon as all Germans have been offered the jab.

“If everyone in Germany has been offered the vaccine, there is no longer any legal or political justification for any restrictions,” said Mr Maas. “This can be expected by August.”

His remarks follow similar comments by the head of one of Germany’s most influential medical associations on Monday.

“By September at the latest, a jab will have been offered to everyone who wants to be vaccinated, and almost all corona measures will have to go,” Andreas Gassen of the National Association of Public Health Insurance Physicians said.

“Everyone can then decide for themselves whether to continue wearing a mask — but it should no longer be compulsory.”

So far more than 55 per cent of Germans have had one jab and nearly 40 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Germany has already lifted restrictions to a considerable extent. Current regulations vary by region, but in most areas facemasks are no longer compulsory outdoors and are only required in shops and on public transport.

Nightclubs, theatres and concert venues have been open since June in Berlin and nearby regions. Gatherings of up to 100 people are allowed outdoors and up to 10 indoors.

People who have had both jabs do not count towards that limit and are also exempt from almost all other restrictions.

They do not have to self-isolate if they come into contact with an infected person or are ‘pinged’ by the German equivalent of test and trace. They also do not need to quarantine or provide a negative test when returning from amber list destinations.

Despite this relaxed approach, Germany has yet to see a new spike in infections. 

It currently has some of the lowest coronavirus figures in Europe, with a weekly incidence of 4.9 cases per 100,000 people, and just 392 new cases and 29 deaths recorded on Monday.

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