German post-lockdown recovery accelerates thanks to vaccines, testing

Berlin, May 30 (EFE).- Germany’s reopening from lockdown is in full swing as the country enters June thanks to an advanced vaccination program and free and easily available testing.

The cumulative 7-day incidence is just above 35 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, the level set by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) of virology to move to the next phase of de-escalation.

On Sunday, the rate was 35.2, compared to 64.5 a week ago. The peak of the entire pandemic was in December, at 197.6 cases.

Measures are being eased on a regional or local scale. The most severe restrictions can be lifted after several consecutive days below 100 cases, with the next phase beginning when it falls to 35. Conversely, if the level goes above 100 infections, an “emergency brake” will be applied.

Throughout Germany, which has been under lockdown since November, open-air swimming pools have reopened, as have outdoor terraces and restaurants, museums and open-air concerts.

In parts of the country, to have a beer or go to the swimming pool people must present a full vaccination card or a negative antigen test carried out in the last 24 hours.

Getting tested is easy, at least in Berlin: in the German capital there are more than a thousand testing points. They range from recycled tattoo parlors, to nightclubs -closed for 14 months-, bars, premises next to stores or churches, as well as mobile teams stationed in squares or parks.

It takes between fifteen minutes and half an hour for the result to be sent by phone.

Vaccination was accelerated in April and will be further boosted with the entry into June. The immunized population is exempted from having to take the antigen test at every step or on returning from a trip abroad, which has triggered a public rush in the run-up to the vacations.

As of Saturday, 35.4 million citizens – 42.6 % of the population – had received one dose of the vaccine, while 14.1 million – 17.1 % – had received the full course.

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