As Covid numbers fall, Germany weighs faster office and school return

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said businesses may soon be freed from some obligations regarding working from home, as coronavirus infection numbers continue to fall across the country.

“I believe that the idea that one can return to normal, surely also means that – where it makes sense – one can also return to an actual workplace,” he said in an interview for the Bild newspaper published online on Tuesday.

Regulations regarding working from home will be eased “step by step,” he said.

Business federations have been pushing for an end to their obligation to offer remote working, arguing in a document on Tuesday that the roll-out of vaccinations should be tied to a return to normal working habits.

The latest coronavirus figures in Germany reveal 1,911 reported infections during the last 24 hours – less than half the rate a week ago. Thirty-three people died of coronavirus related causes nationwide.

However, Monday was a holiday in Germany, which can distort the counts.

A survey commissioned by the liberal FDP party indicated that about two-thirds of people supported an immediate return to in-person lessons at school. Nearly a quarter were against such a move, according to the Civey poll.

As in many countries, the return to school has been a highly sensitive topic in Germany. Now that infection rates have fallen below a level where districts are obliged to abandon in-person lessons, the debate surrounds how fast children can be vaccinated, and when they can return to a normal school life.

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