German leaders prescribe COVID as omicron diseases develop

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January 24, 2022, 7:58 AM

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Germany has seen a string of new infection records over the past two weeks as omicron kicks in. On Monday, the national disease control center said 840.3 new cases per 100,000 residents have been recorded over the past week, and 63,393 cases over the past 24 hours. The health minister has said he expects the numbers to peak in mid-February.

BERLIN — Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Germany’s 16 state governors will confer Monday to chart the country’s way forward in the coronavirus pandemic, and are expected to prioritize the use of PCR tests for those most at risk as the omicron variant fuels a steep rise in infections.

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  • ByThe Associated Press

  • • 2 min read

On Jan. 7, Scholz and the governors agreed to toughen requirements for entry to restaurants and bars, and decided to shorten quarantine and self-isolation periods.

Scholz told the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung ahead of Monday’s meeting that “we don’t need a change of course.” He added that “it is in any case certainly not appropriate to loosen the rules broadly in the middle of the omicron wave.”

Germany’s leaders are expected to agree to limit the use of PCR tests as the fast increase in cases stretches capacity. Priority is expected to be given to health sector employees, older people and others particularly at risk. Monday’s meeting is not expected to discuss in depth the question of a possible universal vaccination mandate, which Scholz supports but has left to parliament to come up with proposals for. Lawmakers are expected to hold a first debate on Wednesday, with various proposals being floated for a full or limited mandate, and one group opposing a mandate.

Although infections are rising fast, that hasn’t so far been accompanied by a big increase in hospital admissions. But officials worry that Germany has a high number of unvaccinated older people in comparison with some other European countries. ———

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