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A little boy walks towards the check-in counter on July 2, 2021 at the airport of Duesseldorf as summer holidays begin in this western German area. Image Credit: AFP

BERLIN: Germany should lift all remaining coronavirus-linked social and economic curbs as soon as everyone has been offered a vaccine, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was quoted as saying on Tuesday, suggesting that point should be reached next month.

Germany will from Wednesday no longer designate nations including the UK and Portugal as virus variant areas, lifting a requirement for all inbound travellers — including those fully vaccinated — to quarantine for 14 days.

The RKI public-health institute updated its list of variant countries late Monday, also removing Russia, India and Nepal. Still on the list are nations including Brazil, South Africa and Uruguay.

Around 56.5% of people in Germany have received at least one dose and almost 39% are fully vaccinated, according to health ministry data.

“When everyone in Germany has received a vaccine offer, there is no longer a legal or political justification for any kind of restriction,” Maas told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

That should occur sometime during August, he added.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has previously said she wants to offer everyone in Germany a vaccine by September 21.

In January, Maas was the first German government minister to call for restrictions to be eased for vaccinated people and suggested they should be allowed to visit the cinema or eat in restaurants. Other ministers opposed special exemptions for the vaccinated.

Other countries are also considering how to exit restrictions imposed to prevent health systems becoming overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out plans on Monday to end restrictions in England in two weeks’ time, a test of whether a rapid vaccine rollout offers enough protection from the highly contagious Delta variant.