BERLIN (AP) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government on Thursday approved a bill to impose restrictions on areas where the coronavirus is spreading rapidly.
The upper house, which represents the 16 German state governments, could have stopped the project by seeking revision talks, but allowed it to take place. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier signed the legislation shortly after, paving the way for its entry into force in the coming days.
Legislation to apply “emergency braking” in areas with high levels of infection is intended to end the package of measures that often characterize the epidemic response in 16 highly decentralized German states. Events include closing և 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., which is the most contentious element.
The bill was approved by the lower house of parliament on Wednesday. It will run until the end of June.
“Summer is not far off, vaccine is crucial through vaccinations,” said Health Minister Jens Span. “But for that we need action now to break this wave (of infections), this bill serves that purpose.”
Several governors clarified that they did not like the legislation, defending the management of their crisis, pointing out possible constitutional difficulties, arguing that it would do little to make Germany’s epidemic response more consistent.
But they preferred to resume talks, which some said delayed the bill but did not hinder.
Some parties, lawmakers, have said they plan to sue the German Supreme Court, the Federal Constitutional Court.
Legislation requires restricting personal contact, closing leisure and sports facilities, or closing or restricting access to many stores.
The events will start in areas where there are more than 100 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants per week for three consecutive days. Schools would have to move to higher distance learning at 165 rates.
Germany’s nationwide totaled 161 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants on Thursday, despite widespread regional fluctuations. The country’s slow vaccination campaign was initially rapid, with 21.6% of the population now receiving the first dose.
“I wholeheartedly believe that what we are doing now is successful,” said Hesse Governor Volker Buffer in a debate on Thursday. “Because something must be clear to us. “We will no longer be able to manage such interventions in Germany without serious disruptions, especially if they have no hope of success.”
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