As of Thursday, no country will be considered a high-risk corona area from a German perspective.
"With the widespread occurrence of the omicron variant, it shows that the ability of this variant to cause a threatening disease is less severe than the previously dominant variants," said the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Tuesday evening.
For this reason, only those regions in which more dangerous variants are widespread would be designated as high-risk areas.
Most recently, 62 countries and regions were still considered high-risk areas, including most of Germany's neighboring countries.
They will all be taken off the list on Thursday.
In the future, according to the RKI, the classification should be “reserved for areas in which there is a particularly high incidence in relation to the spread of a variant of the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus with higher virulence (especially pathogenic properties) compared to the omicron variant”.
The change makes it easier for families to travel in particular, as children under the age of twelve are often not vaccinated and therefore cannot escape the mandatory quarantine.
In addition to high-risk areas, virus variant areas are also identified.
These are regions in which a coronavirus variant “with worrying properties” that is not yet widespread in Germany is rampant.
No region is currently considered a virus variant area.
Drosten does not expect a carefree summer
Although the infection situation in Germany is currently easing, the virologist Christian Drosten does not assume that the summer will be completely free of corona worries.
On the one hand, the current vaccination progress is not sufficient, on the other hand, the infection activity through the omicron variant is still high, said the scientist from the Berlin Charité on Tuesday in the podcast “Coronavirus Update” on NDR-Info.
"Therefore, I assume that there will not be an infection-free summer."
Drosten pointed out that in South Africa, for example, the omicron wave had risen steeply in midsummer.
He doesn't assume that an "untamed" wave will be seen in Germany in the summer, but "you will also be able to get infected with this omicron virus in the summer".
Accordingly, he also thinks it is advisable to continue wearing masks indoors in summer.
In particular, wearing FFP2 masks indoors is “the most efficient measure of all” in the long term.
With a view to temperatures falling again over the course of the year, Drosten expressed the assessment that there would be another winter wave.
He hopes that this will not be accompanied by a serious burden of illness in the population, but the risk of large-scale work absences will continue to exist.
Omnikron subtype BA.2 could be a concern
Drosten explained that the omicron subtype BA.2, which is probably even easier to transmit and is spreading more and more, remains an uncertainty factor for the development.
In its latest weekly report, the RKI shows the proportion of positive findings in a sample to be around 24 percent.
Drosten said that previous study data from several countries cannot be used to determine whether BA.2 leads to more severe disease progressions.
However, he hopes for insights from Hong Kong, where many older people have been very hesitant about the vaccination and where Omicron is now showing a heavy burden of disease in this group.
Drosten reiterated his appeal to first be vaccinated and boosted with the vaccines that are already available.
A US study with macaques has shown, for example, that the booster effect of a third vaccination with the Moderna vaccine against Omikron is just as good as that with a vaccine adapted for Omikron.
"You shouldn't wait, you should take the third dose with the old vaccine.
You can always refresh yourself.”Keywords: