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Germany to ease testing for those with COVID-19 booster

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By Reuters

<div> <p><span class="caps">BERLIN</span> -Germany will exempt people who have had a booster vaccination from having to take a coronavirus test before entering some leisure facilities, federal and regional health ministers agreed on Tuesday.</p> <p>The proposal, agreed by Health Minister Karl Lauterbach and ministers from Germany’s 16 federal states, is aimed at encouraging people to get a booster shot and relieving testing capacity.</p> <p>However, a negative test result would still be required to enter hospitals and care homes to help protect more vulnerable people, according to the draft, reviewed by Reuters.</p> <p>Some 69.9% of the population has had two vaccinations and 23.8% have received a booster.</p> <p>Bavarian Health Minister Klaus Holetschek told reporters that Germany was suffering from a vaccination shortage, and urged authorities to use “unconventional methods” – including direct contact with manufacturers – to boost supplies. Germany gets most of its vaccines through a joint EU procurement scheme.</p> <p>Currently, people who have had two shots or have recovered must show a negative <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 test to enter places with a high risk of spreading infection, such as night clubs or discos. </p> <p>“Scientific evidence suggests that a booster reduces both the risk of infection and the risk of further transmission. In addition, the lifting of the obligation to take a test could relieve the heavily used test capacity,” an earlier draft said.</p> <p>Like other European countries, Germany is struggling to curb a fourth wave of the coronavirus. Some 473 people were reported on Tuesday to have died with <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19. </p> <p>The Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases also reported 30,823 new cases but the seven-day incidence fell to 375 per 100,000 people from 389.2 on Monday. </p> <p>The document also proposed that travellers who had been in a “virus variant area” 10 days before their arrival in Germany should take a <span class="caps">PCR</span> test prior to leaving and carry out a further <span class="caps">PCR</span> test upon arrival in Germany at the airport.</p> </div>