German health minister open to deconfinement before end of winter

German health minister open to deconfinement before end of winter
Credit: Belga

German Health Minister Jens Spahn is in favour of starting to relax coronavirus measures before the end of winter, he said on Thursday.

“We can’t stay in this harsh confinement all winter, our society wouldn’t stand it well,” Spahn told regional press group Funke.

In addition, “the figures are encouraging, we are seeing a significant downward trend in new infections,” the minister added.

However, Spahn did not want to commit to a start of deconfinement from the start of February, whereas the restrictions have been programmed for the moment to last until the 14th of the current month.

“It is not possible to say with certainty what situation we will find ourselves in on 14 February,” he warned.

At present, Germans are being asked to avoid contact as much as possible, with widespread teleworking, the closure of schools, kindergartens, non-food shops, restaurants, bars, cultural and sports venues, and a strict limitation on meetings.

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Several virologists have warned against going out of lockdown too soon, particularly in view of the risk posed by variants of the virus responsible for Covid-19 disease.

The incidence rate (the average number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants) fell below 100 to 87 on Thursday and is approaching 50, the threshold desired by the authorities, below which the partial containment in place in Germany could be relaxed.

Since the start of the pandemic, 2,252,001 Germans have been confirmed to be coronavirus positive, and 59,742 have died from the consequences of the virus, according to the Robert Koch Institute – Germany’s equivalent to Sciensano.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times

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