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COVID-19

Covid ‘recovered’ status only valid for three months, says German Health Ministry

Germany is set to reduce the period of time in which someone counts as recovered from Covid-19 to three months, the Health Ministry revealed on Monday.

Covid testing centre in Hannover
A woman and child walk past a Covid testing centre in Hannover, Lower Saxony. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Julian Stratenschulte

The change is a significant one for unvaccinated people who had been relying on their post-illness immunity to gain access to bars, restaurants and other indoors venues. 

Previously, this group of people had been able to get access to so-called ‘2G’ or ‘2G-plus’ venues for up to six months after recovering from Covid. 

However, with the highly transmissible Omicron variant now dominant in Germany, this period has had to be halved to three months, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health explained.

This means that unvaccinated people will now need a positive PCR test that was taken more than 28 days ago and no longer than three months ago to gain access to public indoor spaces like cinemas, non-essential shops and gyms.

In hospitality businesses like cafes, bars and restaurants, they will generally need a recent negative test as well – a system known as ‘2G plus’.  

READ ALSO: What documents do you need to carry for Germany’s 2G-plus restrictions?

Alternatively, they can ‘convert’ their status from recovered to vaccinated by getting one Covid jab. A single Covid vaccination is counted enough to ensure basic immunity following a Covid illness. 

The changes come as Germany is poised to reduce the validity of digital vaccine certificates from 12 months to nine. 

As of February 1st, people will have to get an additional jab in order to prevent their digital vaccine pass expiring after 270 days. This is in line with new EU legislation that comes into force next month

In recent weeks, numerous states have also passed legislation to shorten the amount of time people have to wait for a booster jab.

To combat declining immunity and reduce hurdles to getting an additional jab, people are able to get one after just three months. Previously, most people were told to wait six months before getting a top-up jab. 

Due to its numerous mutations, Omicron is much more capable of infecting people who have existing immunity from vaccinations and illness, experts say. 

The previous six month ‘recovery’ status was based on the Delta variant, the Health Ministry told German business publication Handelsblatt

Immunity from vaccinations and a Covid illness is believed to decline over time. 

Member comments

      1. I didn’t think they were. All I ever read is experts say. But never who these experts are or any evidence.

        Im no expert but it all seems a bit suspect to me. Almost like someone es profiting from it all. Pfizer expect to make 900 million in profit for the first quarter this year. Are Germany helping them make that every quarter now?

        And with the masks now having to be the FFP2 masks did the health minister fall out with the guy who makes the blue ones?

        1. And at the same time, I fully support wearing masks, testing, and mandating vaccines for risk groups and public workers. Pfizer’s profit has nothing to do with it. How much profit does the food industry make? You need food to survive, don’t you? Vaccines save lives. Just the specific rules don’t always make sense.

          1. I actually agree with you on nearly everything there. Only the mandating of things to go in or out of your body. Its really hard for healthcare workers. Since this vaccine can’t stop you spreading it. Im kinda ok with in not being needed.

            You’re bang on. vaccines save lives. We have data that show vaccines are great.

            The covid one. The data is still incomplete. I think, because of this. their profit margin does come into the equation at least a little.
            I pick on pfizers as they are the rolls Royce of the covid vaccination. They promised to sell the covid vaccination at cost during the pandemic. (Government funds. I.e. taxpayers money paid for the research) and before the second jab was fully rolled out they upped the price to become for profit.<- not illegal. But morally questionable.

            As for food. Most money is made from the unhealthy foods. If they've added sugar to it. Its adictive and profitable. I think everyone should try to get a garden and grow their own food. Be as self sufficient as possible. If you can travel to local farms many will sell fresh produce right from the farm including meat. (I love this topic. I always want to be more self reliant. I just have the habit of butchering my plants.)

            (On the stock market. The most profitable food and beverage industries involves alot of sugar. Healthy alternatives don't make as much profits.)

  1. Bremen has the highest cases yet is the most vaccinated State. Unvaccinated have been barred from public places for months now but still the figures rise. Hmmmmmmm

  2. It is becoming much easier to be more skeptical about or even to see right through this whole thing. The credibility of it all is at its lowest ever. I think it will only end when we, the people, end it!

    1. I saw that 30% of the population have lost complete trust in the government. Even people who were convinced the government would protect them are starting to question it. Its going to happen. Its just going to take some time.
      Its a shame we don’t have a Boris Johnson here. We need a good scandal. So they lower the restrictions to keep the masses happy. The numbers don’t go insane and the narrative falls away.

      Or when they start going after the triple jabbed people. (About March/April is my guess.. Then people will start asking questions.

      Or people will start noticing their neighbours are disappeared. In which case they should keep quiet.

  3. My doctor just told me today that in Switzerland they honor natural immunity for 1 year. In the US, they don’t honor it at all, really. This is not about science or medicine. If it were, the “experts” would draw the same or similar conclusions. This is about politics and money.

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COVID-19 RULES

German politicians row over tougher mask rules for autumn

Summer is not yet in full swing yet - but German politicians are already caught in a row over what Covid regulations will be tightened when autumn arrives.

German politicians row over tougher mask rules for autumn

It emerged earlier this week that Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, of the Social Democrats (SPD), is considering how to adapt the Covid measures in autumn, with a view to making it possible to reintroduce compulsory indoor mask-wearing.

That would mean masks could once again be mandatory in places like shops and restaurants when not sitting at a table.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Germany’s current Covid mask rules

But the SPD’s coalition partner, the Free Democrats (FDP), are already digging their heels in. 

Justice Minister Marco Buschmann, of the FDP, slammed Lauterbach’s move to talk about changing the rules before a proper assessment of the situation. 

“I am in favour of following the law,” Buschmann told the Funke-Zeitung. “That is what an evaluation provides for.” 

The results of the evaluation should “absolutely” be taken into account “before we hastily commit to individual measures”, the FDP politician said.

Under the Infection Protection Act, ‘basic protection’ measures apply, with mask-wearing mandatory only in places like public transport, on flights to and from Germany, in hospitals, medical practices, and care facilities.

The law expires on September 23rd this year. Lauterbach told ZDF on Wednesday that his ministry was already planning for possible Covid outbreaks in autumn, and he said it was “absolutely necessary” to consider making masks mandatory indoors again.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Germany’s current Covid mask rules

FDP deputy leader Wolfgang Kubicki said tougher Covid restrictions in autumn should only be possible under strict conditions – and that scientific evidence had to show they were needed.

“There will not be another autumn and winter in which fundamental rights are restricted because of a haze of data fog,” the Bundestag vice president told DPA.

He said the FDP’s Covid policy, which involved pushing for Covid restrictions to be dropped earlier than coalition partners the SPD and Greens, was working out. 

“At present, it can be seen that the current course, which the FDP has pushed through under fierce hostility, has not led to the predicted collapse of the health system,” he said. 

Kubicki added that “a number of mistakes” had been made in Germany’s coronavirus policy in past two years. He said school closures, “inhumane” isolation of residents in old people’s homes, and the travel restrictions, that meant people in Germany could only travel a maximum of 15km from their home at one point, were some of the errors. 

Teachers hope for masks in schools

However, some German teachers take a different view.

The President of the German Teachers’ Association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, recently advocated for mandatory masks in schools to be imposed again.

“Politicians are once again not doing their homework on the subject of pandemics and schools,” he told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND).

He said masks could be “a decisive factor” in keeping schools open in the event of a Covid autumn wave, and that the government needs to amend the Infection Protection Act.

The chairperson of the Education and Science Union, Maike Finnern, has a similar view.

“A good testing strategy and the wearing of masks in the buildings can also play a decisive role in the future,” Finnern said. “To this end, the legal basis must now be created, for example, for mandatory masks, so that measures can take effect quickly and with legal certainty if necessary,”.

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