clearn.png
Wednesday September 22nd, 2021 11:29PM

Germany reopens some schools amid fears pandemic may rebound

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BERLIN (AP) — Elementary students in more than half of Germany’s 16 states returned to school Monday after more than two months at home, the first major relaxation of the country's pandemic measures since before Christmas.

Kindergartens also reopened their doors for pre-school children, giving much-anticipated relief to stressed parents trying to juggle working from home and childcare during the lockdown.

The move was agreed at a meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and state governors two weeks ago, and stuck to despite signs that the decline in case numbers seen in the country is flattening out again and even rising in some areas.

Education Minister Anja Karliczek has defended the decision to reopen schools, saying younger children in particular benefit from learning together in groups.

Schools should use “all available means to prevent virus transmission,” Karliczek told German news agency dpa, expressing confidence that state education officials who are in charge of school matters in Germany would consider the infection numbers when deciding where to reopen.

Germany’s disease control agency says there were 4,369 newly confirmed cases and 62 deaths in the past day, though Monday’s numbers are often low due to reporting delays at the weekend.

The spread of more contagious virus variants has caused particular concern in Germany.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert noted that a recent review of positive tests found that the variant first detected in Britain is now present in almost a quarter of all cases.

“In general, experts expect that ... the next measurement will result in a higher figure,” he told reporters in Berlin.

Elementary school students in Berlin and elsewhere are required to wear masks in class and some will continue to do part of their schooling from home, to help reduce class sizes. Officials have pledged to install air filtration devices in all classrooms. So far that effort hasn't progressed very far and teachers instead have to regularly open windows to avoid stale, potentially virus-laden air from building up.

Education officials and Germany's health minister agreed Monday that teachers in primary and special needs schools, and kindergarten staff, will be given greater priority in getting vaccinations.

The governor of Bavaria said Monday that Germany should aim to do rapid testing of 1 million people each day, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of regular PCR tests conducted daily. Markus Soeder also announced that his southern state, which has seen a sharp rise in cases in some counties on the border with the Czech Republic, will reopen flower and gardening stores Monday.

Officials have already agreed to let hairdressers nationwide reopen on March 1.

A prominent German doctor warned against relaxing the lockdown further at the moment, citing the so-called R-number that shows how many people each person with COVID-19 infects. The number has increased to 1.1, indicating an upward trend in cases.

Frank Ulrich Montgomery, the chairman of the World Medical Association, told the Funke media group that it was “absolutely irresponsible” to talk about easing the lockdown at this stage.

German officials say they are discussing with their French counterparts this week whether to impose further restrictions on the border between the two countries due to high numbers of infections on the French side.

Earlier this month, Germany introduced a requirement that travelers from the Czech Republic and Austria's state of Tyrol produce negative test results before they can cross the German border.

___

Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at:

https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Health, AP World News, AP Business
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Belgian projections warn not to relax measures too quickly
The government is presenting scientific projections of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Belgium, indicating it would be very risky to extensively loosen the current restrictions over the coming weeks
11:02AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Europe-bound migrants found among recycling glass, toxic ash
Spanish authorities say they have found and rescued 41 migrants who tried to reach continental Europe from North Africa last week, some of them hiding inside a container of discarded glass bottles and a bag of toxic ash
10:57AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Supreme Court won't halt turnover of Trump's tax records
In a significant defeat for former President Donald Trump, the Supreme Court has declined to step in to halt the turnover of his tax records to a New York state prosecutor
10:50AM ( 24 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Sanofi to help second rival produce COVID-19 vaccines
French drug maker Sanofi is going to produce as many as 12 million coronavirus vaccine doses per month for rival Johnson & Johnson
10:07AM ( 1 hour ago )
Thousands of Algerian activists mark second year of protest
Thousands of protesters have marked the second anniversary of Algeria’s pro-democracy movement
10:02AM ( 1 hour ago )
Scotland vaccinations lead to sharp drop in hospitalizations
Scotland’s COVID-19 vaccination program has led to a sharp drop in hospitalizations, researchers said Monday, boosting hopes that the shots will work as well in the real world as they have in carefully controlled studies
9:33AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Health
Dominion Voting Systems sues 'MyPillow Guy' for $1.3 billion
Dominion Voting Systems has filed a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against the founder and CEO of Minnesota-based MyPillow
10:34AM ( 39 minutes ago )
Stocks open lower on Wall Street; Boeing weighs on the Dow
Stocks fell in early trading on Monday, adding to the declines that started last week as investors continue to be concerned about rising interest rates and the potential for inflation down the road
10:30AM ( 43 minutes ago )
Russia's Putin hosts Belarusian president for talks in Sochi
Russian President Vladimir Putin is hosting his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko for talks amid media reports suggesting that the leader of Belarus was coming to Russia to secure another loan
10:29AM ( 44 minutes ago )
AP Business
Belgian projections warn not to relax measures too quickly
The government is presenting scientific projections of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Belgium, indicating it would be very risky to extensively loosen the current restrictions over the coming weeks
11:02AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Europe-bound migrants found among recycling glass, toxic ash
Spanish authorities say they have found and rescued 41 migrants who tried to reach continental Europe from North Africa last week, some of them hiding inside a container of discarded glass bottles and a bag of toxic ash
10:57AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Supreme Court won't halt turnover of Trump's tax records
In a significant defeat for former President Donald Trump, the Supreme Court has declined to step in to halt the turnover of his tax records to a New York state prosecutor
10:50AM ( 24 minutes ago )
Protests swell after Myanmar junta raises specter of force
Protesters have gathered in Myanmar's biggest city despite the ruling junta's threat to use lethal force if people join a general strike opposing the military's takeover
10:49AM ( 25 minutes ago )
Big factor in COVID votes: Would Dems sink first Biden goal?
Democrats have a potent dynamic on their side as Congress preps for its first votes on the party’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill
10:48AM ( 25 minutes ago )