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18 Nov, 2021 16:22

Germany sets ‘grim’ Covid record & eyes new curbs

Germany sets ‘grim’ Covid record & eyes new curbs

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the number of new daily Covid cases in Germany has exceeded 60,000, according to the country's disease control and prevention agency, the Robert Koch Institute.

Authorities fear that in reality the figure is even higher, as not all cases are immediately reported or detected. Just a week ago, the number of daily infections across Germany surpassed the 50,000 mark.

Among the country's Covid hotspots are Thuringia, Saxony and Bavaria. In the latter region, hospitals are so overwhelmed with Covid patients that they have had to put off any non-emergency surgery.

Against this grim backdrop, lawmakers in the Bundestag on Thursday backed a new set of measures aimed at containing the spread of the disease. The package was proposed by Germany's Social Democrats, the Green and Free Democratic parties, which are expected to form a new coalition government as early as next week.

If passed by the upper house, the rules would include mandatory daily Covid testing for employees of, and visitors to, care homes, regardless of vaccination status. Germans would also be required to show proof of full vaccination, recovery or a fresh negative Covid test in order to enter their workplace or use public transport.

On top of that, those caught selling and forging fake certificates and tests could face up to five years behind bars. Just like the Covid regulations currently in place, the new plan gives some leeway to regional authorities in terms of restrictions so that, for instance, the banning of recreational, cultural, and sporting events will be at their discretion. However, things like travel bans, curfews and massive closures of businesses would now be off-limits to local government.

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