Germany’s third wave of the coronavirus pandemic appears to be coming to an end, the German health minister said Friday.
”The trend of recent weeks has shown that the third wave appears to be over,” Jens Spahn said at a weekly health briefing, while adding a warning that while the infection numbers are increasing, they are “still at a very high level.”
The country’s social distancing measures as well as the accelerating vaccination campaign were contributing factors for this trend, Spahn added.
Germany’s infection rate has fallen to under 126 cases per 100,000 residents in seven days, he said.
The incidence rate of coronavirus infections was falling across all age groups, Lothar Wieler, the head of Germany’s infectious disease agency Robert Koch Institute.
“The current development with decreasing infection numbers, slowly decreasing numbers of Covid patients in the intensive care units and the accelerating vaccination campaign is very positive and it gives hope that we will control the pandemic soon,” he said.
Meanwhile, a new legislation in Germany will come into force this weekend, allowing more freedoms for the fully vaccinated and those who have recovered from Covid-19.
These groups will no longer need a negative test if they want to go shopping, to the hairdresser or visit a botanical garden. Vaccinated people will also be allowed to meet in private without restrictions. Quarantining after traveling abroad will not be mandatory if fully inoculated, with a few regional exceptions.
The government said it is not about granting privileges but reinstating constitutional rights, however, the regulation’s opponents fear that it may create a two-class society.
Following a shaky start, Germany has sped up its vaccination program. Nearly 31% people have received a first dose of coronavirus vaccine and nearly 9% are fully vaccinated, the Robert Koch Institute said.
Earlier this week, Spahn said that the government is working to provide a digital vaccination card to those who have been inoculated by the end of June at the latest.