“The virus does not make it easy for us,” said Spahn, in an interview with German public broadcaster ARD. “We are seeing the numbers increase again. It’s boring and it creates some uncertainty. Therefore, we must continue to be careful, to test and to vaccinate, ”added the Christian Democrat minister.
Germany has been partially contained since November, and in recent weeks it has succeeded in bringing down the rate of coronavirus infection.
But now the numbers have plateaued and in recent days they have started to increase slightly. A development attributed to the rapid spread of the British variant of the disease, considered to be more contagious.
Experts warn against the arrival of a third wave in this country, even as the 16 regional states (Länder) that make up Germany are beginning to ease the pressure of containment on their populations.
Thus, from Monday, schools and daycares should reopen in ten Länder of the country. Education is in fact not a federal competence in Germany and it is therefore up to each regional state to decide on the pace of the reopening.
Many schools are planning to limit class sizes, impose masks and ventilate the rooms, but some question the timing.
According to Spahn, a balance must be struck between the need to protect Germans against the more contagious strains of the virus and the need to restore children to “normal daily life”.
The impact of the reopening of schools will be closely monitored before moving on to the next stages of deconfinement, he added.
“Once schools and daycares reopen, millions more will be displaced. We have to see what a difference that makes when it comes to variants, ”he continued. “We can’t make any false promises” about further easing, he said.
Mr Spahn and the health ministers of the 16 regional states are due to meet on Monday to discuss the possibility of giving priority to vaccinating teachers and caregivers.
If so, the teaching staff will move from group 3 to group 2 of people to be vaccinated in Germany, which will put them at the top of the list, once most of the elderly living in nursing homes have been vaccinated. .
Germany counted 7,676 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of people infected since the start of the pandemic to more than 2.3 million.
More than 67,000 people have died from the virus in Germany, according to the Robert Koch Institute for Public Health Surveillance.