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Germany sets record for Covid cases, and Berlin imposes tougher rules on unvaccinated – 11/11/2021 – World

Within a month, Germany went from a country where the coronavirus seemed to be under control to a scenario in which experts suggest the occurrence of a fourth wave of Covid. This week, the number of new cases per million inhabitants reached the worst level since the beginning of the health crisis, and the absolute number of daily infections broke a record this Thursday (11), with 50,196 infections.

In Berlin, the 2,874 new cases registered daily are also the highest since the start of the pandemic, according to the Robert Koch-Institut (RKI), the government agency that monitors infectious diseases.

Thus, the administration of the German capital, which functions as an independent state, adopted tougher rules against the disease. In practice, unvaccinated people will be prevented from entering spaces such as restaurants, cinemas and museums, and other states are expected to follow suit.

If the situation continues to deteriorate, the new rules in Berlin could come to hamper the lives of those who opted for immunization. In absolute numbers, the seven-day moving average in Germany, on Wednesday (10), was 39,676 cases and 236 deaths across the country, according to the RKI.

For comparison, on the same day, Brazil recorded 15,298 new cases and 264 deaths from Covid-19.

Also on Wednesday, the moving average of infections per 1 million inhabitants in the last 7 days in Germany was 353, a number close to the peak recorded in Brazil in June, 361, according to data from the John Hopkins University compiled by the platform Our World in Data . Until then, the moment of greatest circulation of the coronavirus in Germany had been in December, with 307 cases per million inhabitants on the 23rd.

Out there

The number of deaths is also on the rise, but far from the peak of the pandemic in the country. There were about 1.5 deaths per million inhabitants in the country. At the worst moment of the crisis, in January, the value surpassed 10.

Earlier this month, German Health Minister Jens Spahn and RKI chief Lothar Wieler attributed the high in the cases to delays in vaccination and people failing to follow health protocols.

Among the problems mentioned is the inadequate checking of proof of vaccination before the public enters an establishment. For Spahn, in a statement reproduced by the Deutsche Welle news agency, the “fourth wave is in full force” and is now a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”.

In Germany, vaccines have been available for the entire population over 12 years old since August. The numbers, however, seem to have stagnated. By early September, 60% of Germany’s population had completed immunization. Since then, the vaccination program has made little progress. It reached just over 66% at the end of October and remains at that level until now, according to Our World in Data.

A survey by the Forsa Institute commissioned by the German Ministry of Health shows that 65% of unvaccinated people do not intend to be immunized in the coming months. Another 23% tend “very much not” to get vaccinated, and only 2% said they planned to do so. The remaining 10% were undecided.

The immunization reinforcement program, criticized for disseminating mismatched information and lack of coordination between different spheres of government, has not yet achieved the desired scope. The goal is that 20 million people receive the extra dose by Christmas. About 3 million have been applied so far.

BALLADS AND NORMAL LIFE

Today, on the streets, bars and restaurants of Berlin, no one wears a mask. Necessity even only in a few enclosed spaces and on public transport—where protection is mandatory and worn like that: one snug here, a nose out there, one just covering the chin.

In addition, the nightclubs, a symbol of the city of 3.5 million people, reopened in September — and are full. In October, Folha went to Berghain, one of the main clubs in Berlin and known as the “techno capital of the world”. With the place full, people could wait more than three hours to enter — lined up in an open place and in temperatures below 10°C.

Currently, bars, restaurants and venues can choose to adhere to one of two sets of health rules, called 2G and 3G. In the first, only people who have been fully vaccinated or who have recovered from Covid in the last six months have access to the facilities. In this case, spaces operate under milder rules, with no need for masks and physical distance.

In 3G, anyone with a negative test performed in the last 48 hours can also enter, but there are limitations at the site, such as the need to use masks.

Even with the increase in cases, the next German federal government should not impose tougher restrictions, at least at the beginning of the term, as measures of this type do not appear in a draft of the strategy to be adopted by the coalition of SPD, Verde and FDP parties, who must come to command the country.

According to Reuters news agency, the three subtitles have already reached an agreement not to extend the state of emergency in the country. On the other hand, measures such as mandatory use of masks and keeping distance in closed public places must be maintained until March 2022.

China, land in the middle

The topic should be discussed this Thursday, according to the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine. The rules foreseen by the parties include the return of free testing, which ended in October, promotion of booster doses and leave for parents whose children take Covid, or in the case of having their day care centers closed due to the disease.

Some states, however, began to tighten the rules on access to closed places, such as bars and restaurants, for non-vaccinated people. In practice, those who do not get immunized will be barred from these places.

Berlin is one of the places that opted for stricter rules for accessing establishments. The capital follows the example of Saxony, a state in the east of the country, which tightened the rules earlier this week.

This Wednesday, the Berlin Senate, the name given to the local Executive, adopted measures to make the 2G mandatory in more spaces. According to the official website of the Berlin government, the measures will bar the access of non-vaccinated people to restaurants, cinemas, theatres, museums and galleries, as well as recreational places such as saunas, thermal baths, arcades and indoor areas in parks and zoos.

Nightclubs were already forced to adopt the 2G model.

Changes do not apply to anyone under 18 years of age. For this portion of the population, a Covid test with a negative result is enough. The measures also do not change the 2G rule itself, just make it mandatory in places that previously had the option of adopting 3G.

According to the official website of Berlin, Michael Müller, mayor of the city, says that inspection of establishments should intensify. Furthermore, a tougher rule, called “2G plus”, would be ready to be adopted should the pandemic situation continue to escalate. In the new modality, even vaccinated people would need to present a negative test to enter the establishments.

The expectation is that similar measures will be adopted later in the state of Brandenburg, which surrounds the German capital. On Monday, Berlin also announced that masks would once again be mandatory for children in elementary school — the requirement had dropped in early October.

In addition, a program that tests students three times a week will be maintained — there was an expectation that the number of tests to detect the coronavirus would be reduced.

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