June 15, 2024

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German experts urge stricter virus measures, more boosters | Madison.com Health, Sports Health & Fitness

VIENNA (AP) — Germany should implement stricter measures this week to slow the spread of the omicron variant, the German government’s new expert council said Sunday, a day after the government announced it would impose travel restrictions on people coming from Britain.

The council — comprised of Germany’s top virologists and health officials — said omicron “brings a new dimension to the pandemic developments.”

Omicron cases are doubling in Germany around every 2 to 4 days, the council said, making it slightly slower than the spread in the U.K. but faster than any previous variant.

To combat the next wave of infections and keep Germany’s already stretched hospitals from being overwhelmed, the council recommended stricter government policies to reduce Germans’ contacts.

“Effective, nationally coordinated countermeasures to control the infection process need to be drawn up, in particular well-planned and well-communicated contact restrictions,” it said in a statement.

The council also recommended speeding up Germany’s booster vaccination program. Germany has fully inoculated 70.2% of its population, and 30.3% have received a booster shot.

“A massive expansion of the booster campaign can slow down this dynamic and reduce the impact, but not prevent it,” the council wrote, adding residents need to reduce their own contacts, consistently wear face masks and test regularly for the virus.