German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition has drafted legislation that would shift the power to impose Covid-19 restrictions to the federal government from regional leaders to combat a surge in infections.
Merkel’s administration plans to impose a nightly curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. in areas where the seven-day incidence rate of infections surpasses 100 cases per 100,000 people for three days in a row. All non-essential stores would have to close and companies would be required to test employees twice weekly, according to the 13-page draft law seen by Bloomberg. Schools would be shut again in areas with an incidence rate of more than 200.
Merkel is moving ahead with the contentious initiative after it became apparent that the country’s 16 states were unable to agree on common ground. While state leaders may try to soften some of the measures before cabinet approval Tuesday, parliament could pass the new law as early as next Friday.
The proposal’s biggest hurdle is likely to be a vote in the upper house, where state governments are represented and Merkel’s Christian Democratic-led governing coalition doesn’t have a majority.
Merkel and regional premiers have clashed over lockdown restrictions since the start of the pandemic, and some have failed to enforce rules agreed with the chancellor. Regular meetings to set policy have sometimes dragged on, leaving citizens confused about which measures apply to their state.
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