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Germany tightens Covid rules for bars and restaurants

Germany tightens Covid rules for bars and restaurants

Germany will tighten curbs on bars and restaurants and ease quarantine rules in a bid to tackle the surging Omicron variant of Covid-19, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Friday. Speaking after talks with Germanys 16 regional leaders, Scholz said access to bars and restaurants will be limited to people who are fully vaccinated or recovered and can also provide a negative test. However, people who have received a booster shot will be exempted from the test requirement. Scholz said the rules -- known as 2G Plus -- were strict but necessary to help us progress more quickly in the fight against Omicron, which he said will be with us for a long time. Quarantine rules will also be relaxed to protect vital services and infrastructure from shutting down due to expected staff shortages, he said. Anyone infected with Covid as well as their close contacts will be able to end their quarantine after 10 days if they have no symptoms. They can be released after seven days if they provide a negative test. Those who have received a booster will no longer have to quarantine if they have come into close contact with an infected person. Germany has so far reported modest case numbers since the start of the year compared to many of its European neighbours, which have been engulfed by record surges. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) health agency recorded 56,335 new infections in the past 24 hours on Friday, with an incidence rate of 303.4 new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days. But Scholz said he expected that the Omicron variant will cause infections to increase, and we will see larger numbers in the coming days and weeks than we are already seeing today. Germanys new government under Scholz, who took over from Angela Merkel as chancellor in December, has so far ruled out imposing a lockdown. However, it has limited private gatherings to 10 people, or two households if an unvaccinated person is present, as well as banning spectators from football games. Unvaccinated people have also been barred from large parts of public life, including cultural events, gyms and leisure facilities. Scholz urged as many people as possible to get their booster, describing the jab as the best protection against Omicron. Almost 42 percent of Germans have already received a booster, while 71.6 percent have received a first and second dose. Scholz said last year he was in favour of compulsory vaccination in Germany, with parliament due to start debating the issue at the end of January.  .

world-news 2022-01-08 hindustantimes