Further action to contain the coronavirus pandemic
The number of coronavirus infections has risen again in recent weeks. How this develops further will depend largely on how high the vaccination rate is in Germany. “We now have enough vaccine so we must encourage people to get vaccinated,” Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday after consultations between the Federal and Länder Governments. She said it was encouraging that more than 80 percent of the over-60s had been vaccinated and that the vaccination had proved very effective against the Delta variant, too, in particular with regard to severe cases of COVID-19.
The Federal Chancellor called on all those who had already been vaccinated to encourage others in their families, among their friends or at their sports clubs to get vaccinated, too – “because it simply protects all of us – not just the individual”, she said. Vaccination was a contribution to the community that every individual could make, she added.
A summary of the main points agreed on by the Federal Government and the Länder:
- The 3G rule will apply at the latest from 23 August. In other words: access only for vaccinated, recovered or tested persons with a rapid antigen test (max. 24 hours old) or PCR test (max. 48 hours old) when visiting hospitals, nursing and care homes, and assisted living facilities for the disabled, as well as for access to indoor cafés and restaurants and at indoor events and celebrations, for personal care services, indoor sports and overnight accommodation. This applies to everyone from the age of six.
The Länder have the power to suspend this so-called “3G” rule (vaccinated, recovered or tested) in whole or in part as long as the 7-day incidence in a district remains stable at under 35 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants.
- The Federal Government stop free public testing for all citizens with effect from 11 October 2021. For those who cannot be vaccinated and for whom there is no general vaccination recommendation (in particular those are pregnant, children and adolescents aged under 18), there will continue to be the option of free rapid antigen testing.
Aid for disaster areas
The Federal Government and the Länder will also jointly support regions that have been particularly affected by the floods. Extensive emergency aid and a recovery programme are planned for this purpose. “Germany – in particular the federal states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia – has been affected by the consequences of a flood in a way we have never seen before,” said Federal Chancellor Merkel.
She and the Heads of Government of the Länder had expressed their sympathy to the relatives of the victims and the injured, she said, adding that the Federal Government was infinitely grateful for the enormous support shown by volunteers and private individuals. Dealing with the consequences was of course a task of national importance, said Merkel.
A summary of the main decisions adopted by the Federal Government and the Länder:
- The Federal Government will initially contribute 400 million euros to the emergency aid approved by the Länder. There are no plans to impose an upper limit on the total sum.
- The Aufbauhilfe 2021 fund is to be established – a special Federal Government fund of 30 billion euros for subsequent reconstruction aid The reconstruction measures undertaken by the Länder are to be financed equally by the Federal Government and the Länder. The Federal Government will also act to swiftly reinstate the federal infrastructure.
- Decentralised warning of the population in the event of a disaster is to be improved. The Federal Government’s siren funding programme will provide the Länder with a total of up to 88 million euros for upgrading and installing sirens up until 2023.
- In future, the Cell Broadcasting System will also enable the population to be warned via text message on mobile phones.