People unvaccinated against Covid-19, even testing negative, could face further restrictions if infections continue to rise in Germany, Chancellor Chief of Staff Angela Merkel said.
"Vaccinated people will certainly have more freedom than unvaccinated people," Helge Braun told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper published on Sunday.
Currently, Germans can go to public places such as restaurants, cinemas or sports halls if they are fully vaccinated or have a recent negative test, like the French health pass.
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But if incidence rates continue to rise, unvaccinated people will have to reduce their contacts, Helge Braun said.
“This could mean that accessing places like restaurants, cinemas and stadiums would no longer be possible, even for unvaccinated people tested, because the risk is too high,” he said.
The country has a duty to protect the health of the population, insisted Helge Braun.
"This assumes a health system that does not have to postpone cancer-related interventions again to the winter to treat patients with Covid."
No compulsory vaccination
Germany experienced a low infection rate in early summer compared to many of its European neighbors, but cases have increased in the past two weeks, in large part due to the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
Last week Angela Merkel expressed concern about the "clear and worrying dynamics" of the increase in cases and encouraged as many Germans as possible to get vaccinated.
As of Sunday, 60.8% of them had received one dose of vaccine and 49.1% two doses.
However, Angela Merkel had said that her country did not plan to follow France and other countries in introducing compulsory vaccinations for part of the population.
This is the case in France, in particular for nursing staff.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn said in early July that those vaccinated would not have to undergo a new total containment and would have more freedoms than the unvaccinated if the epidemic resumed.
"As long as there are no mutations (of the virus) having an impact on the protection offered by the vaccines (...) then the fact of being fully vaccinated will mean that restrictions like those of last winter will not be not necessary, ”he said.