RESTRICTIONS – Germany is entering a new phase of lockdown on its public life this Saturday, April 24, including national curfews after the adoption of a highly controversial new law strengthening Angela Merkel’s power to fight the pandemic.
While many countries, such as Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, have programmed the upcoming easing of restrictions, Europe’s largest economy is going against the grain by activating what it calls “an emergency brake. ”Provided for in the reform of the law on protection against infections.
Adopted this week in the Bundestag under protests in the streets of several thousand hard-line opponents of Angela Merkel, the text imposes a tightening of health rules as soon as the incidence rate, which measures infections over a week, is greater than 100 for three days. Its duration is limited until June 30.
Beyond a threshold of 165, face-to-face lessons in schools are prohibited.
Friday, April 23, the incidence increased to 164 on average in the country, whose confinements have never been so harsh as in some of its neighbors, such as France or Spain.
“It’s hard, it weighs on all of us. But it is necessary for a temporary period ”, assured the conservative Minister of Health Jens Spahn.
It is a question of “breaking the third wave of the virus”, and then “gradually re-opening with an increased use of tests”, he affirmed.
The automatic triggering of measures should put an end to tensions with the regions, competent in health and education, but some of which had so far developed, or even ignored, strict measures yet decided with their approval.
For the government, it is essential to take control over the management of the pandemic. It has killed more than 81,000 people in the country for a year and the third wave of infections – marked by a rapid spread of variants of the virus – has not yet reached its peak, according to virologists.
In detail, the device includes further reductions in private contacts, the closure of non-essential stores or museums, increased recourse to teleworking, and above all, the most criticized measure, the establishment of curfews between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. , with the possibility, however, of taking the air alone or jogging until midnight.
This measure, very sensitive in a country which has known two dictatorships, during the Nazism, then the GDR-Communist, is considered contrary to the constitution, in particular by the liberals of the FDP.
The Karlsruhe Supreme Court has already received 25 appeals against the law, according to a spokesperson. Like that of the Bavarian party Freie Wähler, partner of the conservatives of the CSU in the government of the region, who want to obtain the cancellation of curfews and store closings.
Exit bans also risk disrupting travel by train or plane. A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior advised on Friday people who have no reason, especially professional reasons, to travel to postpone their project.
The regions have also declared themselves very skeptical about these curfews, the head of government of Hesse Volker Bouffier considering in particular that they should be applied only locally and “as a last resort”.
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