Despite the rapid spread of omicron, Germany has seen a drop in concern over COVID variants, a new survey has revealed. While a majority favor strict regulations in general, many want shorter quarantine rules.
A majority of people in Germany approve of the government's stricter rules to curb the spread of COVID-19 but are less worried about the omicron variant, a new national survey revealed on Thursday.
The latest "Deutschlandtrend" survey, released by public broadcaster ARD, polled over 1,300 people from January 3 through January 5.
The representative poll comes nearly a month after Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government took over the reins of Germany's pandemic response.
While a majority of people in Germany — 51% — listed their level of concern over variants as "very high or high," that figure actually dropped by nine points compared to responses in early December.
The poll also showed a generally positive response to the stricter curbs enacted by Germany's new government after taking office.
Some 42% of people surveyed said they think the current measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 "are appropriate." That figure is up by 22 points compared with early December, when public opinion in Germany was very much in favor of enacting tighter curbs.
As German leaders move to revise COVID rules, the survey revealed widespread support for shortened quarantine times.
The poll showed 67% are in favor of shortening isolation and quarantine times for people who test positive for COVID-19, as well as the people who come in close contact with them.
The support, however, comes with conditions. Survey respondents agreed these times should be shortened, provided the people involved test negative and are free of symptoms.
Currently, people who test positive for COVID-19 must quarantine for 14 days. People who are regarded as close contacts of people who tested positive for omicron must also self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of vaccination status.
How is Germany's new government faring in the polls?
Nearly one month after taking office, Chancellor Scholz's three-party coalition government — with his center-left Social Democrats (SPD), the environmentalist Green Party and the neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP) — has the support of nearly one in two Germans.
How could Europe stop omicron?
According to the survey, 46% of respondents are "very satisfied or satisfied" with the new government's performance. Some 37% are "displeased or deeply displeased," while 17% said they weren't ready to rate the government after less than four weeks in office.
The most popular figure in the German government is Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, a physician and SPD lawmaker. Some 66% of survey respondents view him favorably.
Scholz also polled highly, with 60% saying they are satisfied with the new chancellor's performance.
What is the status of the pandemic in Germany?
Scholz will hold a meeting with Germany's 16 state leaders on Thursday to discuss potentially shortening quarantine times, among other measures. The leaders are also set to discuss when a fourth booster shot should be allowed, as well as implementing tighter rules for customers visiting restaurants nationwide.
Compared to its European neighbors, Germany has so far been spared the record-breaking spikes in new COVID cases due to the omicron variant, although cases are rising.
Germany also has a comparatively lower rate of vaccination compared to some other Western European nations. Over 71% of the population is fully vaccinated and nearly 41% have received a booster.