Starting this Saturday, Germany lowers the quarantine for vaccinated with a complete schedule and most of the federal states introduce new restrictions on public transport and restaurants due to the rebound in coronavirus infections, at record highs for several days.
These are two aspects of a strategy that seeks, on the one hand, to slow down the spread of infections and, on the other, to prevent those that do occur from leading to key sectors of society being paralyzed by the accumulation of casualties due to quarantine. .
The quarantine for those who have had contact with the infected and for those who have tested positive will now be seven days if they have not had symptoms for 48 hours and have tested negative. Until now the quarantine could be up to 14 days. Without a negative test, the quarantine must be ten days. However, there are exceptions for people who have received the booster dose of the vaccine and for those who have received the complete schedule between 15 and 90 days before contact with an infected person, since they are exempt from quarantine.
People who have recovered from the disease are also exempt from quarantine if their positive test was carried out between 28 and 90 days before contact. Health personnel in general can be released from quarantine seven days after contact, with a negative test. School-age children five days later.
Mandatory use of FFP2 masks
At the same time, new restrictions have been introduced that apply as of today in most of the federated states, others such as Berlin began to apply them earlier, such as the obligation to use FFP2 masks on public transport where until now a surgical mask was sufficient. In addition, only people who have the complete schedule of the vaccine and the booster dose or, failing that, a recent negative test, will be able to access bars, restaurants and other public places.
The weekly incidence in Germany reached a new maximum this Saturday with 497.1 infections per 100,000 inhabitants compared to 335.9 on the same day of the previous week, according to the latest figures from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for virology.
The RKI reported 78,022 new infections and 235 deaths related to the disease. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 7,913,473 infections in Germany. 115,572 have died from causes related to the disease and 6,942,400 have overcome it. 72.5 percent of the population has the complete schedule of the vaccine, 74.9 percent at least the first dose and 45.9 the booster dose. This implies that 25.1 percent of the population is unvaccinated, which is equivalent to 20.8 million people, among them there are 4 million children under 5 years of age -4.8 percent of the population- for whom there is no licensed vaccine in Germany.
Omicron is the predominant variant
The RKI has found that in Germany omicron is already the dominant variant and that in a few days it will completely displace the delta variant. The advance in infections is largely attributed to the presence of omicron, a clearly more contagious variant, although at the moment everything points to the fact that it leads less to serious or fatal evolutions of the disease.
However, in Germany there is concern that the vaccination quota is still relatively low. The health authorities have opted to accelerate the application of the booster of the vaccine that is considered to offer special protection against omicron.
A member of the committee of experts that advises the Government, the biologist Lars Kaderali, has warned that it would be too soon for Germany to start considering the disease as endemic, although in other countries, such as Spain, this may be possible. “Spain is closer to an endemic situation,” Kaderali said in statements collected by the magazine “Der Spiegel” in its digital edition.
This is because it has a higher vaccination rate and also because a higher percentage of the population has gone through the disease. “More than 90 percent of the population have antibodies. We are at least 10 percent below,” he explained.