German upper house backs new anti-Covid law

Photo: Bundesrat

Germany's upper house of parliament approved a law on Thursday to give Chancellor Angela Merkel's government more powers to fight a third wave of the coronavirus, news wires reported. The new law enables the national government to impose curfews, as well as limits on private gatherings, sport and shop openings.

The law still needs the signature of President Frank-Walter Steinmeier before it can come into force. The changes will apply initially until 30 June. Merkel drew up the law after some of Germany's 16 federal states refused to impose tough measures despite a surge in cases. Others such as Manuela Schwesig, premier of the northern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, said the amendment did not go far enough. "This law has a serious design flaw. This law will not bring down infection figures," she told ZDF television.

Germany reported a rise of 29,518 coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the total to 3.21 million. Some 80,893 people have died and doctors have warned that unless action is taken, intensive-care units may struggle to cope. The seven-day incidence rate rose slightly to 161.1 per 100,000.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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