| Updated: Friday, August 5, 2022, 14:11 [IST]
Berlin, Aug 05: German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has tested positive for the coronavirus and is isolating at home.
"The minister is fine, he has only mild symptoms. He is temporarily conducting his official duties from home isolation," the German Health Ministry said.
Lauterbach, 59 and a Social Democrat (SPD) member, has received four doses of the COVID vaccine, the ministry said which "shows that with the highly contagious omicron variant, infection cannot be completely ruled out, even with extreme caution."
"The minister therefore again appeals to everyone to behave prudently and pay attention to adequate vaccination protection, so that infections and severe cases can be prevented as much as possible."
COVID measures could tighten in winter
On Wednesday, the German government announced basic COVID measures, only a few of which are applicable nationwide with a much greater focus on allowing states the rights to choose what to implement. The most notable national plan, the compulsory wearing of face masks on long-distance trains and airplanes, will remain in place during the coming fall and winter.
A negative COVID test will also be required from October until early April for many people to secure entry to hospitals, nursing homes and similar institutions with vulnerable people. The government statement was not clear on whether this would also include staff, but did indicate that people who were recently vaccinated or infected and recovered would likely be exempt.
However, Germany's 16 states are largely left to implement their own rules from a range of options, depending on how severe the situation becomes locally. State governments could decide to require masks on local public transport, in schools for students, and at indoor events.
Schools, prisons and asylum-seeker shelters may implement regular testing if infections rise, Germany's health and justice ministers said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
The government also plans a vaccination drive in the coming months in the hope of keeping infection numbers down.
'Better prepared this winter'
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