Berlin, Apr 21 (EFE).- Lawmakers in Germany’s lower chamber of parliament, the Bundestag, on Wednesday approved a bill that would allow the central government override regional authorities to implement Covid-19 health and safety restrictions.
The bill now goes to the Bundesrat, the upper house. If passed, it could come into effect on Saturday.
Germany’s ruling grand coalition between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, and the center-left Social Democratic Party pushed it through the chamber.
The opposition Greens legislators abstained as they considered the measures have fallen short and should have been adopted earlier.
The far-right Alternative for Germany voted against the bill and accused the government of restraining fundamental individual freedoms.
Thousands of anti-restriction protesters, some 8,000 according to the German state-run TV, gathered outside Parliament before being dispersed for not respecting the social distancing rules and not wering on masks.
The new rules could include a curfew between 9pm and 5am in zones with a weekly incidence rate of more than 100 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people. Unlike countries such as Spain and France, Germany has resisted using a curfew so far in the pandemic.
Social gatherings would be limited to one person outside the household if the incidence rate hit 100 cases per 100,000 while schools would remain in-person until 200 cases per 100,000.
The bill was approved on April 13 by the cabinet before being presented to the Parliament on Friday. It is expected to find resistance when subject to vote at the Bundesrat from some states as it limits their capacity of action.
The German government aims for standardized moves to curb the coronavirus, compared to the current situation, where each state can impose its own rules. EFE