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Empty tables and chairs will be cordoned off in front of a restaurant in the city center during the lockdown in Chemnitz on May 6th. Bodo Schackow / dpa / AP

Germany’s third wave of the coronavirus pandemic appears to be coming to an end, the German health minister said on Friday.

“The trend of the last few weeks has shown that the third wave seems to be over,” said Jens Spahn at a weekly health meeting and warned that the number of infections is increasing, but “is still at a very high level”. ”

The country’s social distancing measures as well as the accelerated vaccination campaign contributed to this trend, Spahn added.

The infection rate in Germany had fallen to below 126 cases per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days.

The incidence rate of coronavirus infections declined in all age groups, according to Lothar Wieler, head of the German agency for infectious diseases, Robert Koch Institute.

“The current development with decreasing numbers of infections, slowly decreasing Covid patients in the intensive care units and the accelerated vaccination campaign is very positive and gives hope that we can control the pandemic soon,” he said.

In the meantime, a new law will come into effect in Germany this weekend that will allow more freedom for the fully vaccinated and those who have recovered from Covid-19.

These groups no longer need a negative test when shopping, going to the hairdresser, or visiting a botanical garden. Vaccinated people can also meet privately without restrictions. With a few regional exceptions, quarantine after traveling abroad is not mandatory if it is fully vaccinated.

The government said it was not about granting privileges, but about restoring constitutional rights. However, opponents of the regulation fear that it could create a two-tier society.

After a shaky start, Germany has accelerated its vaccination program. Almost 31% of people have received a first dose of coronavirus vaccine and almost 9% are fully vaccinated, according to the Robert Koch Institute.

Earlier this week, Spahn said the government was working to provide a digital vaccination card to those who were vaccinated by the end of June at the latest.