German court upholds disputed national COVID-19 measures

BERLIN – Germany’s highest court on Tuesday dismissed complaints about curfews and other restrictions imposed by federal law earlier this year in regions where the coronavirus is spreading rapidly – a decision decisions could help the country’s leaders as they struggle to tackle a sharp rise in infections.

The ruling from the Federal Constitutional Court comes hours before outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel and her designated successor, Olaf Scholz, are scheduled to hold talks on the situation with 16 state governor of the country.

There have been calls from experts and politicians for tougher restrictions, but Germany’s federal structure and transition from Merkel’s national government to a new one under Scholz slowed down the decision-making process.

The court found that the most controversial measures contained in the federal “emergency braking” law, which was in place from April through the end of June, were constitutional. Those include a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and school closures in areas with high rates of coronavirus.

Act to apply consistent measures in areas with high infection rates during Germany’s last major COVID-19 wave to end the patchwork of measures that often characterizes the pandemic response across 16 state of Germany.

New infections have skyrocketed in recent weeks in the European Union’s most populous country – particularly in the east and south, with hospitals there having moved intensive care patients to regions other from Germany. They have reached levels much higher than the levels the whole country saw earlier this year, although more Germans are vaccinated now than they were then.

On Tuesday, the country’s seven-day infection rate fell for the first time in more than three weeks, but at 452.2 new cases per 100,000 residents, just short of Monday’s record of 452.4. The country’s center for disease control, the Robert Koch Institute, said 45,753 cases had been reported in the past 24 hours. Another 388 deaths have been recorded, bringing the German total so far to 101,344.

At least 68.4% of the population of 83 million is now fully immunized, but this is less than the minimum 75% threshold the government hopes.


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