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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Germany to End Free COVID Testing on Oct.11


Wed 11 Aug 2021 | 11:28 AM
Omnia Ahmed

German leaders agreed, on Tuesday, that the government will stop paying for rapid coronavirus tests in order to encourage more people to get vaccinated.

Coronavirus vaccination drive slowed and those people who have not taken up the opportunity to have shots will have to take COVID-19 tests to take a full part in public life, according to Chancellor Angela Merkel's statement.

Merkel said the government will stop offering free tests from Oct. 11 in order to nudge more people to get vaccinated amid concerns about a rise in new cases.

However, the measure will exclude those for whom vaccination is not recommended, such as children and pregnant women.

Citizens will be required to be either vaccinated, test negative or have a recovery certificate to enter indoor restaurants, participate in religious ceremonies and do indoor sport.

Less than seven weeks before a federal election, Merkel and leaders of Germany’s 16 states met to discuss measures to dampen a new spate of infections, driven by the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant, and avert unpopular restrictions.

“The bad news is that the vaccination rate has lost pace substantially,” Merkel told a news conference after the meeting.

“I hope it will pick up pace again after the (summer) holidays,” the conservative leader said, but added: “On vaccinations, we are not where we need to be.”

Although around 55% of Germans are fully vaccinated, the pace of inoculations has slowed. Merkel said she would like to see around 75% of Germans fully vaccinated.

Moreover, Bavarian leader Markus Soeder, who joined her at the news conference, warned of a fourth wave of infections.

“What is clear is that this fourth wave is coming, and definitely in the autumn,” Soeder noted. “The current infection rates are not sufficient to be carefree.”