Germany can open up as Omicron wave eases, minister says

People stand in the hall as vaccinations against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) take place at the Bavarian State Opera House in Munich, Germany, February 10, 2022. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

BERLIN, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Germany can start easing restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus now that a wave of infections with the Omicron variant are subsiding, the health minister said on Tuesday.

"The peak of the Omicron wave has passed," Karl Lauterbach told the Bild newspaper, adding that he supports a "moderate relaxation" of restrictions.

Germany reported 159,217 new daily coronavirus cases on Tuesday, down 6% from the same day last week. The seven-day infection incidence per 100,000 people also fell to 1,437 from 1,460 on Monday.

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Germany new daily COVID-19 cases and deaths

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the heads of the federal states are due to meet on Wednesday to discuss easing rules, such as dropping requirements for shoppers at non-essential stores to show proof of vaccination or a negative test result.

Some parts of Germany have already started lifting restrictions, with Bavaria announcing it will increase numbers allowed at cultural and sporting events and permit unvaccinated people can return to restaurants as long as they test negative.

A requirement to wear masks indoors and on public transportation is to remain in place.

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Reporting by Emma Thomasson Editing by Madeline Chambers

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