Friday, April 30, 2021

German gov't grabs lockdown powers from states

Germans confront new Covid lockdown rules that could last until June | CNBC - Holly Ellyatt:

April 26, 2021 - "Germany has implemented tough lockdown rules in a bid to curb a third wave of [Covid-19] infections, issuing a set of new measures expected to last until June. Protests have been seen in several German cities after the restrictions were introduced this weekend on coronavirus hot spots. A curfew, limits on customers in shops, leisure center closures and limits on household contacts are part of the measures....

"Enacting a 'nationwide emergency brake,' cities or districts that exceed a seven-day incidence rate of 100 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants over three consecutive days must now implement the lockdowns. Schools are to close if incidence rates are above 165 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants for three days in a row. Data from the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s public health body, shows that all but one of Germany’s 16 states are above the threshold for the emergency brake to kick in.... 

"The measures, set out in the Infection Protection Act, effectively expand the federal government’s authority to control the pandemic. Germany’s states have been largely able to set their own rules....

"[T]he measures — and, particularly, the curfew, which will run from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and allows people to leave their homes only if they must go to or from work, seek medical assistance or take a dog for a walk — have provoked fury among some members of the public, with small demonstrations taking place in several cities at the weekend, notably Frankfurt and Hanover.

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the new rules, urging compliance. 'If we succeed now in reducing infections significantly and quickly, step-by-step relaxations will be possible in the foreseeable future,' she said in her weekly video podcast.... Finance Minister Olaf Scholz told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that he didn’t think the measures would be eased before the end of May."

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