The German government hopes air travel between Europe and United States will soon start returning to normal, the country’s transport minister Andreas Scheuer said on Friday. Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr told the same conference he hopes that Washington will also allow Europeans to enter the United Sates soon to help the airline’s business.
“We also need the other direction – that flying to the United States will be possible again," Scheuer told an aviation conference. “We should reach a ‘new normal’ in the coming weeks – that’s what the German government is wishing for."
The German government has agreed to allow vaccinated Americans to travel to Germany from the end of June.
The more infectious Delta coronavirus variant will become dominant in Germany by the autumn at the latest, the country’s top public health official said on Friday, urging the public both to continue wearing masks indoors and to get vaccinated.
“The Delta variant makes up about 6% of infections, but its share is growing," Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said, referring to the variant first identified in India.
“It is not a question of if Delta will become dominant but a question of when," he added. “It will have the upper hand in the autumn at the latest."
Germany’s 16 states have started easing restrictions in place since November which, coupled with an accelerating vaccination campaign, had helped the country tame a third wave of coronavirus infections.
The seven-day incidence per 100,000 residents stood at 10 on Friday when just over 1,000 new cases and 91 deaths were reported.
Restaurants, bars, beer gardens, hotels and concert halls have reopened, a development welcomed by many Germans as the lifting of restrictions coincided with hot weather and the approach of the summer holidays.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said some 51% of Germans have had at least one of the two vaccine shots required for effective protection against the virus and around 30% have had both shots.
Germany holds a national election in September and the accelerating vaccination campaign after a sluggish start as well as the lifting of lockdowns have lifted support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in opinion polls.
The conservatives are polling on some 28%, eight points ahead of their nearest rival, the ecologist Greens.