Germany’s Bundestag – the lower house of parliament – approved new COVID-19 countermeasures on Thursday, a day after Germany’s Robert Koch Institute for Disease Control and Prevention (RKI) criticized the new countermeasures. Warned of a “terrible Christmas”.
The Bundestag, led by votes from Germany’s new ruling coalition, the Social Democrats, the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party, approved new rules that require people to show proof of full vaccination or recovery or a valid negative COVID-19. Testing at workplaces and on public transport.
The new parliament did not detail existing rules under the “Pandemic Situation of National Concern” introduced in March 2020, which allowed Germany’s federal government to take nationwide action such as imposing travel restrictions. The rules expire on November 25. German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged them to increase.
Merkel is serving as chancellor in a caretaker capacity until the new ruling coalition is officially formed. The new rules still have to be approved by the Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament.
The action comes as RKI reported 65,371 new cases on Thursday, the first time it reported more than 60,000 since the pandemic began. The institute also recorded a nationwide, seven-day infection rate of 336 cases per 100,000 people.
Speaking in a virtual call with the governor of the German state of Saxony late Wednesday, RKI President Lothar Weiler said those numbers could actually be much higher, as under-reporting of cases continues to rise. Saxony is currently considered the epicenter of Germany’s COVID-19 boom, with an infection rate of 761 per 100,000 people.
He called for new countermeasures immediately like closing clubs and bars, saying that if steps are not taken, “we will have a really bad Christmas.”
Some information for this report has been received from The Associated Press and Reuters.