All Things Looking Up
The situation in Germany has improved remarkably over the past 5-6 weeks. Vaccination roll-out finally picked up speed, there is a newly tangible optimism in the air concerning re-opening the country, which has been more or less in shut-down since November, 2020. The weather has also recently improved, summer is now in the air, and everyone is looking forward to visiting friends, eating out again and traveling.
Current Situation in Germany
- 43% of all adult Germans have received their first covid-19 vaccination
- 6% of the adult population has been full vaccinated
- As of next week there will be no more official prioritization for vaccination, meaning everyone is eligible now for a covid-19 vaccination
- Debate continues about whether children and adolescents should be vaccinated
- Rate of incidence has dropped substantially the past three weeks. Current rate is 35 / 100,000.
- In those areas where the rate stays below 50 / 100,000 outdoor dining (with a negative test result) and indoor shopping (without testing) are again possible. Things have been closed down since Nov 1, 2020.
- Universal Testing has been available for free for the past several months. Every German can get tested for free once a week. The results are sent per email and can now be uploaded onto the German Corona Warning App.
- Things are “opening” up, but proof of a negative test, a vaccination or recovery from covid must be up-to-date and shown to enter into buildings, museums, etc.
- According to a recent German survey, three-quarters of those who want a vaccination and own a smartphone want to use digital vaccination certificates. Only 15 percent who want a vaccination are not interested.
- There is a huge backlog for document digitally people’s vaccinations. The Association of German Druggist has said that registered drugstores (approx. 15,000 in Germany) could assume the task of entering vaccination records into a digital platform once the platform and price has been established.
EU Vaccination Pass – Current Status
It is set to get underway at the end of June: The digital health certificate should enable EU citizens to travel freely within the Union.
- The certificate stores the traveler's vaccination, convalescence certificates and fresh tests. These generate a QR code that is simply scanned upon entry. If a green light appears, everything is in order and the person is allowed to enter the country. To reduce the risk of fraud, the passport or ID card must also be presented. Instead of the EU certificate, it will probably also be possible to store the evidence in an updated version of the German Corona warning app. The certificate-only app is currently being developed in Germany under the leadership of IBM.
- The yellow paper form will still exist for those people without a mobile phone. A QR code can either be uploaded or printed out for verification.
- The EU and governments assure that data protection regulations will be complied with. All personal data would be stored exclusively on the user's own cell phone and not on central servers. The certificate (QR code) merely ensures that the data on the cell phone is genuine and belongs to the person who wants to enter the country.
- The certificate is valid in all 27 EU member states. Whether other countries also recognize the QR code is up to them. There may be mutual recognition of passports if they have a similar structure.
- The EU is checking which non-EU certificates meet the quality standards of the EU passport and may approve them. That being said, non-EU citizens can apply for a digital EU certificate if they provide the necessary info.
Current Economic Situation in Germany
Although the German economy has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Germany’s economic downturn will be less severe than previously expected. The Federal Government's comprehensive and rapid support since the beginning of the crisis has been effective to date.
Although Germany is still in a partial lockdown, there is reason to be optimistic. The German economy assesses its current business situation more positively again. Orders in the industrial sector are rising and job levels are similarly on the increase.
Despite the economy still remaining in semi-lockdown at the beginning of 2021, the ministry forecasts GDP growth of 3.5 percent for the year. According to the European Commission, large catch-up and carry-over effects in 2021 and 2022 should buoy the German economy, with projected GDP increases of 3.4 percent and 4.1 percent respectively - allowing Germany to reach its pre-crisis level in 2022.
(From German Trade & Invest, GTAI, May 20, 2021)
Reisesicherungsfond / Travel Insurance Act
Progress is being made in German parliament to vote on legislation to introduce and vote on the Travel Insurance Act by the end of June, 2021. This is intended to protect consumers against tour operator bankruptcy. To date five umbrella associations (travel agency association, The German Travel Association, etc) and one large insurance company have expressed interest in being on the advisory council and supervising how the fund should raise money and be managed.
Summer Airline Status
Aviation associations expect traffic figures to recover in the summer. In Germany, however, the trend lags behind other European travel countries, according to the report. "We see that with the decline in infection figures in Europe and the progress of national vaccination campaigns, some hope is coming back in the industry," said the president of the German Air Transport Association (BDL), Peter Gerber, on Monday.
The BDL and other associations expect seat capacities in Germany in July and August to be around 60 percent of the summer level of 2019. Currently, supply is only around 20 percent of the level in May 2019, they said.
Far-reaching restrictions continue to block travel, Gerber said. For example, he said, the recovery in Germany is slower than in other European vacation countries. "In classic vacation countries such as Spain, Greece, Italy or even Turkey, 80 to 100 percent of 2019 is again in the flight schedules for August," Gerber said.
He therefore called, among other things, the lifting of travel restrictions for vaccinated and tested in third countries. In most cases, tough travel bans still apply there.
(From airliners.de from May 31, 2021)