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Tags: Virus Outbreak | Germany

1st Meeting of Germany's New COVID Panel as Infections Ease

1st Meeting of Germany's New COVID Panel as Infections Ease

Tuesday, 14 December 2021 08:00 AM EST

BERLIN (AP) — Members of a new expert panel advising the German government on its response to the coronavirus pandemic are holding their first meeting Tuesday, amid signs that restrictions imposed in recent weeks are beginning to slow infection rates.

Germany's disease control agency reported 30,823 newly confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, compared with 45,753 two weeks ago. More than 470 new deaths from COVID-19 were also recorded.

Experts say it's too early to say how the new omicron variant will affect infection rates, but the country's new health minister, Karl Lauterbach, expressed cautious optimism, tweeting Monday: “The situation is slowly stabilizing and the decline in case numbers is real.”

Lauterbach, an epidemiologist, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who recently succeeded longtime German leader Angela Merkel, met members of the newly appointed, 19-strong advisory panel in Berlin.

The group is composed of virologists, clinical practitioners, ethicists and other experts who have at times sparred publicly about the right way to deal with the outbreak.

Scholz's center-left coalition government has pledged greater transparency, but spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said he didn't expect minutes of the expert panel's meetings to be released.

Germany’s vaccination rate — 69.7% of the population is fully vaccinated at present — still falls short of the minimum 75% that authorities aim for. The number of people who have received a booster shot — now 24.7% of the population — is rising rapidly as the country's vaccination campaign picks up speed again.

The tougher measures introduced recently largely target unvaccinated people, who are now prevented from going to most nonessential stores, restaurants and cultural or sports venues.

Protests against the measures flared in several German states over the weekend and on Monday.

Thousands of people protested against plans for compulsory COVID-19 vaccinations in dozens of cities, including Rostock, Mannheim, Magdeburg and Berlin.

German security agencies have warned that parts of the Querdenken movement — a loose collection of groups opposed to the pandemic restrictions — are becoming increasingly radicalized.

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


GlobalTalk
Members of a new expert panel advising the German government on its response to the coronavirus pandemic are holding their first meeting Tuesday, amid signs that restrictions imposed in recent weeks are beginning to slow infection rates.Germany's disease control agency...
Virus Outbreak,Germany
330
2021-00-14
Tuesday, 14 December 2021 08:00 AM
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