Germany peels away most of remaining Covid-19 measures

Three years after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Germany, the country repealed most of the protective measures on Wednesday. Here's which measures still remain.

Coronavirus regulations
A worker removes a sticker from a tram in Rostock, Mecklenburg-Western Pommerania on February 1st reminding passengers to wear a face mask. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd Wüstneck

As of Wednesday, the Germany-wide requirement to take a Covid-19 test to enter healthcare facilities was repealed. 

The FFP2 mask requirement for employees working in doctor’s offices, clinics and care facilities – as well as for nursing home residents – was also lifted.

However, the rule still applies to patients in doctor’s offices and clinics, in addition to nursing home visitors, until April 7th, said German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) on Wednesday. 

“Anyone who visits patients or nursing home residents, or who attends doctor’s appointments, will still have to wear a mask,” Lauterbach said. “That should be worth it to us to protect vulnerable groups.” 

This also includes visitors to dialysis facilities, day clinics and the ER, he said. 

“We support the discontinuation of the measures in Germany,” Christine Vogler, President of the German Nursing Council, told the newspapers of the Funke Mediengruppe on Wednesday.

“The people who work in the health sector in Germany are competent enough to deal with the situation.”

READ ALSO: Most Germany-wide Covid measures to expire on March 1st

‘Situation has stabilised’

Lauterbach justified the relaxation of rules – which had originally been planned for April 7th – by stating that “the coronavirus situation in Germany has stabilised”

He encouraged people to continue wearing masks voluntarily “on the basis of personal responsibility”, adding that “the virus should not be trivialised” and warning of potential longer-term health impacts.

Several factors have contributed to the measures being repealed, Lauterbach said, including a higher level of immunity in the public and a reduced chance of new mutations, which means a spring resurgence of the coronavirus is unlikely.

Germany has been progressively repealing coronavirus protection measures. On February 2nd, it dropped a nationwide requirement to wear a face mask on buses and trains, after several states had already let go of the rule. 

On April 7th, the last of Germany’s nationwide coronavirus measures will expire, “and then an extension is no longer planned,” said Lauterbach.  

The first cases of Covid-19 were reported in January 2020 in Germany, with a wide-scale outbreak in March 2020, leading to the closure of public life and strict rules on gatherings, face masks, testing and quarantine.

By March 1st, Germany had reported 38,168,933 coronavirus cases, and a total of 168,129 people who died with or from the virus, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). 


care homes – Pflegeheim

repealed – aufgehoben

vulnerable groups – (die) Risikogruppen

discontinuation – (der) Wegfall

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Germany’s Corona warning app stops giving alerts after three years

Following three years of use, Germany’s Corona warning app has stopped giving infection alerts. Just how successful was the app, which cost the government hundreds of millions of euros?

Germany's Corona warning app stops giving alerts after three years

On June 16th, 2020, there was not yet a Covid-19 vaccination. But there was a new warning app, with which the German government had high hopes of protecting people.

“The Corona warning app is an important helper when it comes to recognising and interrupting chains of infection,” said then-Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“This is not the first Corona app to be introduced worldwide, but I’m pretty convinced it’s the best,” added Helge Braun, the then-head of the Chancellor’s Office added, 

Now almost three years have passed, all Covid measures have expired, and the most important function of the app has been turned off: the warnings after coming into contact with a person infected with Covid-19.

READ ALSO: Everything that changes in Germany in May 2023

App can still be used as a digital vaccination card

“It doesn’t make sense (to keep the alerts) with the low incidence we have at the moment,” said German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD). He added that the disease is also no longer as severe due to the high population immunity.

On June 1st, the Corona warning app will then go into sleep mode. This means that it will no longer be updated and will also disappear from the Google and Apple app stores. 

READ ALSO: Germany to repeal last protective measures against Covid-19

However, users can keep the app on their mobile phone if, for example, they saved their vaccination certificates there and want to continue using them. The contact diary function will also remain.

Lauterbach also urged users to keep the app saved in case of another Covid outbreak – or even pandemic. 

“It may very well be that we have to use it again for Covid. But it could also be that we develop it further for other infectious diseases,” he said.

Just how effective was the app?

Since its release nearly three years ago, the app has been downloaded a total of 48 million times, according to Germany’s Health Ministry.

However, it is not possible to say how many people have actively used it. No exact statistics are possible because the information is only stored locally on the mobile phone for data protection reasons.

FDP health politician Andrew Ullmann called for the Federal Health Ministry to evaluate just how successful the app actually was in preventing the spread of infection. 

“In terms of society as a whole, we still have to evaluate to what extent this app has actually helped,” he told the Tagesschau.

App was more expensive than planned

The app cost the government 220 million – significantly more than originally planned.

According to studies and estimates by the Corona warning app team, there were at least 25 million active users last year. 

In spring 2022, when there were high numbers of infections, the scientists assumed that about 17 percent of all positive Corona test results in Germany were shared via the Corona warning app.