This came as infection rates fall and the vaccination programme proceeds apace.
The official disease control body, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), reported that the number of new infections recorded within a 24-hour period on Wednesday fell by 19 per cent on the week to 18,034 cases.
More than 8 per cent of Germans are now fully vaccinated, while more than 30 per cent have had at least their first shot, with more than 1 million vaccinations being carried out daily.
However the effects of the pandemic were still being felt in hospital intensive care units, where the number of patients with the virus stood at close to 5,000 on Tuesday, although numbers appeared to be stabilising.
Gernot Marx, head of the association of intensive care doctors, said the situation was still tight, but expressed the hope that the number could fall sharply by the end of the month. “There is light on the horizon,” he said.
Health Minister Jens Spahn had come out in favour of making the AstraZeneca vaccine that has been the subject of much controversy available to all comers, removing all prioritization rules aimed at reserving vaccines for the most vulnerable.
The RKI was still reporting hundreds of deaths from the virus. On Wednesday, the figure was 285, down from 312 a week ago.
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