health
Monday Dec 20 2021
By
Web Desk

Germany eyes limits on NYE parties to combat Omicron

By
Web Desk
Picture showing healthcare workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). — Reuters
Picture showing healthcare workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). — Reuters
  • Germany tightens COVID-19 restrictions to slow the spread of Omicron.
  • Guests should also have immunisation to the virus.
  • The government has ruled out a strict lockdown ahead of Christmas.


Germany plans to limit private New Year’s Eve parties to 10 people, a draft document showed Monday, as it tightens COVID restrictions in a bid to slow the spread of Omicron.

The proposed new rules will target the vaccinated and the unvaccinated alike, though the government has ruled out a strict lockdown ahead of Christmas.

A government proposal seen by AFP shows that from December 28, Berlin wants to close nightclubs and further reduce the number of people allowed at large events.

The text also proposes caps on private gatherings, with those who are vaccinated or recovered from COVID to be allowed to host just 10 people, a measure specifically aimed at New Year’s Eve revellers.

Guests themselves must also have immunisation to the virus, the text says.

“New Year’s Eve celebrations with a large number of people are unjustifiable in the current situation,” reads the draft document.

Those who are unvaccinated can only mingle with a maximum of two other people.

Children under 14 would be excluded from the new rules.

The proposals will be discussed with the leaders of Germany’s 16 states on Tuesday.

Germany’s federal and regional leaders also plan to urge citizens to voluntarily reduce their contacts over Christmas, and they call on operators of critical infrastructure to have emergency plans ready in case of staff shortages because of illness.

Germany has so far managed to slow a fierce fourth wave of the pandemic driven by the Delta variant, in part by ramping up booster vaccinations.

The country reported some 16,000 new coronavirus cases on Monday, according to the Robert Koch Institute, down from a peak of more than 75,000 in late November.

Fears are growing about a surge in cases fuelled by Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa and has quickly spurred new waves of infections around the world.

“If the spread of the Omicron variant in Germany continues as it has done so far, a significant part of the population will fall sick and/or will go into quarantine simultaneously,” said a report at the weekend by an expert panel advising the German government.