Germany to stop paying for virus tests for people who choose to remain unvaccinated
BERLIN – After months of offering free coronavirus antigen tests to all residents, Germany will stop subsidizing them for adults who choose not to be vaccinated, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Tuesday.
Starting October 11, when the changes take effect, testing will continue to be available free of charge to people under the age of 18, pregnant women, or others who have medical reasons not to get the vaccine.
Since March, the country has spent billions of dollars to offer at least one free antigen test per capita every week, which has led to a boom in private testing stations.
Ms Merkel met state governors on Tuesday to negotiate the new rules as infections, caused by the highly contagious Delta variant, are increasing, albeit more slowly than in many other parts of Europe.
German authorities have also agreed on new rules requiring proof of vaccination, recent recovery, or a negative test for certain indoor activities, including going to restaurants, hairdressers or the gym, once the rate weekly local infection exceeds 35 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Understanding the State of Vaccination Mandates in the United States
As of Monday, authorities had recorded 23.5 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants per week nationwide. Currently, 55% of Germans have received the full vaccination course and 62.5% have received the first vaccine, a rate, as Merkel noted at her press conference, which was no longer among the highest of the European Union.
“We now have enough vaccines,” she said. “Now we have to promote vaccinations. “
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