German Institute for infectious diseases recommends imposing 'maximum contact restrictions'
The Arab News reported that Germany's Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases recommended on Tuesday imposing "maximum contact restrictions" at once, to fight a looming tide of infections caused by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The body also recommended restricting travel only to what was absolutely necessary, accelerating the vaccination campaign and ensuring that enough free coronavirus tests were available.
The Arab News said that Federal and state leaders were due to meet later on Tuesday to decide on new measures, likely to include new restrictions even for the vaccinated and those who have recovered from COVID-19, but a nationwide lockdown seemed to be off the agenda.
Janosch Dahmen, a health expert for junior coalition partners the Greens, told broadcaster ARD that the leaders must meet again over the holidays if further measures are needed.
He also asked people to get tested before Christmas gatherings, and to spend them with only the very closest family members.
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The RKI warned that how the pandemic evolves will depend on how people act over the holidays, as well as how strongly the flu virus - which has epidemic potential - circulates this season.
The RKI reported 23,428 new infections on Tuesday, and 462 deaths, taking Germany's total to 108,814.
The seven-day incidence rate - the number of people per 100,000 to be infected over the last week - dropped to 306.4 from 316 the previous day, continuing the trend of the last three weeks.
However, health experts have repeatedly warned that this does not point to an easing of the situation as daily death and hospital admission figures are still high.
Bavarian premier Markus Soeder told ARD: "It doesn't make sense to create panic in the face of falling numbers."
He added: "But the other way around, one also has to be resolute and honest about what's coming towards us."