Germany lifts most COVID-19 restrictions after “difficult compromise” | News | DW
Germany lifts most COVID-19 restrictions after “difficult compromise” |  News |  DW

Germany lifts most COVID-19 restrictions after “difficult compromise” | News | DW

Germany’s parliament on Friday approved a new law that lifted most restrictions to contain coronavirus.

The new infection protection law was a “difficult compromise,” said Health Minister Karl Lauterbach.

Wearing masks will continue to be mandatory on public transport, hospitals and nursing homes, but not in shops, restaurants and schools.

The new rules were a compromise between Lauterbach’s Social Democrats (SPD) and the business-focused ones The Free Democratic Party (FDP)part of SPD Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s governing coalition.

Without the new law, everything previous COVID-19 restrictions would have expired Saturday.

“We can not continue to screen the whole country to protect a small group of those who are not willing to be vaccinated,” Lauterbach said.

The opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) criticized the bill, saying it was a sign that the federal government no longer wants to take responsibility for fighting COVID-19.

Germany’s 16 states have the power to impose restrictions if they identify hotspots where both infections and hospitalizations peak.

Coronavirus infections hit record highs in Germany

Germany has recorded its highest proportion of COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic.

The country’s benchmark infection rate, which measures infections per 100,000 people over the past week, hit a pandemic height of 1,585.4 on Tuesday.

Germany’s disease control agency reported 297,841 new cases on Friday. The Robert Koch Institute said there had been an additional 226 COVID-related deaths, which has taken the toll since the start of the pandemic to 126,646.

Lauterbach stressed: “Unfortunately, the pandemic is not over yet. We need further protection measures.”

The German parliament has been discusses a vaccine mandatebut a final decision to make vaccinations mandatory for all adults in Germany was not expected in weeks.

Opponents of this measure have proposed mandatory vaccination only for people over 50, while others reject the idea altogether.

lav / wd (dpa, epd, KNA)

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