Germany has appointed its first-ever LGBT+ commissioner.
The new government-appointed Sven Lehmann, a member of the German Greens, to help Germany “become an example in fighting discrimination”.
According to the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, the 42-year old MP will be responsible for preparing a “national plan” to foster acceptance and protect diversity.
Lehmann will assume the position as part of the coalition government headed by Social Democrat Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Since 2018, the Green MP has been a spokesperson for LGBT+ issues in Germany’s Bundestag. Cologne, his constituency, is home to one the largest LGBT+ communities in Germany.
After his appointment, he said that the Basic Law must guarantee protection for people based on their sexual or gender identity.
Lehmann stated, “Everyone should have the right to live free, safe, and with equal rights.”
Scholz presented new rules for bars and restaurants at a Berlin press conference. He also shortened quarantine periods and self-isolation times.
This was the first meeting between Scholz and the state leaders in the new year. It came at a moment when the new German government is looking for ways to boost vaccination and booster campaigns , following a surge in cases caused by the omicron version.
What are the new measures?
In bars and restaurants across the country, stricter regulations will be enforced.
Only those who have been fully vaccinated, or are considered to be recovered and can provide proof of either a booster shot (or a negative COVID-19) may have access to restaurants.
Scholz defended the measure, saying, “It’s not a strict rule but it’s necessary.”
Scholz stressed the importance of booster shots in the coming weeks and months, saying that they are the best protection against omicron.
German state and federal leaders also approved reducing required quarantine periods or self-isolation times, currently at 14 days.
The maximum period for self-isolation and quarantine will be 10 days. This period can be reduced to seven day if the person is given a negative rapid or PCR test.
The new rules allow people who have had a booster shot to no longer need to quarantine when they come in contact with someone who has been tested positive for COVID-19.
For “critical” workers such as emergency and police officers, shorter quarantine periods are also available.
It will not change the existing rule that allows private gatherings of vaccinated or recovered persons up to 10 people. Unvaccinated persons are still restricted from contact.