Germany to start lifting Covid curbs as Omicron passes peak
February 17, 2022 / 10:08 AM
Sharjah24 – AFP: Germany will start rolling back most of its coronavirus restrictions as the country's falling infection rate suggests the Omicron-fuelled wave has peaked, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Wednesday after talks with regional leaders.
The three-step plan -- which includes allowing unvaccinated people back into shops and restaurants -- will see Germany reach its "freedom day" on March 20, as media have dubbed it.
"After two years we deserve for things to be better again and it looks like that's happening now," Scholz told reporters.
But he urged Germans to remain cautious and said they would have to keep wearing face masks. "The pandemic is not over," he said.
Germany is the latest European nation to attempt a return to more normality, two years after the pandemic first emerged and upended people's daily lives and routines.
As a first step, Germany will immediately drop a 10-person cap on private gatherings of people who are vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19.
For the unvaccinated however, the rule that they can only meet two people outside their household will remain in place for another month.
Access to non-essential shops will be open to all again, without checks on whether customers are vaccinated against the virus or not. Face masks will still be required, with high-protection FFP2 masks recommended.
From March 4, restaurants and hotels will be allowed to welcome the unvaccinated again, so long as they can provide a recent negative test -- a system known as 3G in Germany.