The three parties negotiating the formation of the next German government have agreed on a package of measures to tackle the record number of Covid-19 cases. An attempt was made to avoid far-reaching restrictions, such as school closures and curfews.
The legislation, which the SPD, the Green Party and the FDP want to bring to parliament next week, should provide a national framework. For example, they should give districts the space to tighten restrictions in coronavirus hotspots. The regulations should replace a law that expires on November 25. The measures – many of which are already in place – include distancing and hygiene rules, mandatory wearing of masks and some restrictions on public events and travel.
SPD general secretary Lars Klingbeil said in an interview with Deutschland Funk radio. “We want to provide legal certainty and guide this country through a difficult period.”
Lawmakers from the three parties decided to drop existing legislation and draft a new framework, fearing that some previously agreed measures seriously conflict with citizens’ rights and may have violated the German constitution.
According to the latest data from the National Institute of Public Health (RKI), the number of cases in Germany has continued to rise to a record high of 213.7 in seven days. This number is increasing across Europe. The continent fears it will have to enter another devastating lockdown.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that hospitals in some hot spots are under increasing pressure. He therefore called for national coordination of measures.
Health Minister Jens Spahn described the latest situation as a “massive pandemic of unvaccinated people” and called on them to get vaccinated after all. By Monday, more than 67 percent of the population had been fully vaccinated, and less than 70 percent had received at least one dose.
Spahn and his regional colleagues agreed last week to push for booster vaccinations for all adults. He added that enhanced protection six months after full vaccination “should be the rule, not the exception.”
“All necessary measures have been included”
Michael Mueller, the mayor of Berlin’s Social Democrats, said he and his fellow regional leaders would likely meet with Merkel and Spahn “in the next week” to coordinate policy.
Some of the 16 German states with the highest infection rate, including Bavaria and Saxony, have made measures stricter than other regions.
Mueller said in an interview with ARD . TV.
He added that all the measures Germany needed to combat the virus – in addition to the vaccination campaign – would be included in the new legislation.
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