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Karl Lauterbach at the meeting of European Health Ministers, at the end of March, talking about healthcare in the Urkaine crisis, Source: The German Health Ministry on Facebook

German Health Minister planning new Covid rules for autumn

German Health Minister planning new Covid rules for autumn

Health authorities cannot predict the future development of the pandemic and past experience shows – autumn is the season of ‘the spread’

Today, the German Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach announced that authorities are trying to prepare legislation to re-introduce compulsory masks indoors this autumn. Despite Covid cases hitting their lowest point since the start of the year, Minister Lauterbach explained that there is a possibility of a resurgent pandemic as temperatures start going down.

At the same time, the provisional Infection Protection Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz) which the government used to enact COVID-19 legislation will expire in September. According to an interview for the ZDF, a German public radio station, Lauterbach said that in the pandemic question will have to be revisited in parliament. He continued: "That could come again. I also think it is absolutely necessary that we open up this possibility for the autumn".

Preparing for the autumn

An interesting point about the Infection Protection Act is that it does not describe what kind of health regulations the government should enforce. Instead, it gives authorities the right to act quickly and decisively as the situation progresses.

Lauterbach explained that health authorities are working on a new health concept for the autumn and that he will present it soon. Part of the strategy focuses on vaccines as he said that Germany plans to buy additional doses for three different corona variants - the Wuhan variant, a pure omicron vaccine and a combination vaccine.

He also said that by this point this is common knowledge that some of the vaccines will quite possibly end up expired and unusable. However, he also said that health authorities do not know what is coming and they want to be prepared as best as they can be.

The current state of Covid-rules in Germany

Since April, Germany has removed most pandemic restrictions, including mask mandates in most places – a stark contrast to a proposed vaccine mandate during Christmas. General mask requirements for events or shopping as well as 2G and 3G regulations have been removed.

Right now, the policy of authorities centres around something that can only be described as a better-safe-than-sorry approach. This means that people should wear masks on public transport, on trains, in hospitals and clinics, as well as in nursing homes. At the same time, many federal states also have additional rules for cultural events that are not nationally mandated.

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