Leaders of Germany’s newly created Bundestag – the lower house of parliament – said on Wednesday they would not extend the “national epidemic” when it expires next month, although certain public health measures will remain in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
A health emergency announcement allows the federal and state governments to order key coronavirus prevention measures without parliamentary approval. It was first established by the Bundestag in March 2020 and has been extended several times.
But speaking to reporters in Berlin, leaders of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) – the winners of last month’s parliamentary elections and likely members of the new government – said they plan to expire when it expires on November 25.
They said that while COVID-19 infection rates are on the rise, the situation has changed fundamentally, especially as about two-thirds of the population has been vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19.
But the deputy chairman of the SPD parliamentary group, Dirk Wiese, said November 25 would not be a “day of freedom” from all COVID-19-related security measures, and the country must face the coming winter responsibly. He said the group agreed to transitional measures that would allow German states to adopt “low-impact security measures” before spring. “
But Wiese said one thing is for sure: “There will be no more school closings, lockdowns or curfews as these measures are also disproportionate in the current situation.”
Lawmakers said some measures, such as compulsory wearing of masks in public places, restrictions on entry to certain places only for those who have been vaccinated, or financial support for workers hit hard by the pandemic, will remain in place until March.
In addition, if necessary, individual States may decide to apply more stringent measures.
Some information for this report was provided by the Associated Press.