Germany’s highest court deems COVID-19 “emergency brake” measures lawful

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Xinhua News

30th November 2021 – (Berlin) The “emergency brake” measures implemented by the German government in spring this year to contain the COVID-19 pandemic were fundamentally in line with the country’s Constitution, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday.

The court said in a statement that the measures were compatible with the country’s basic law because of the “extreme danger” posed by the pandemic.

Back in April, the government introduced local and nationwide measures to fight the third COVID-19 wave if the number of new infections per 100,000 people within seven days exceed 100 for more than three days. The new rules included nighttime curfews, school closures as well as stricter opening regulations for shops.

Germany is currently hit by the fourth COVID-19 wave with record infection numbers. The court’s decision came in the runup to a meeting of the country’s minister presidents with Chancellor Angela Merkel and her designated successor, Olaf Scholz, later on Tuesday in order to discuss tougher COVID-19 measures.

After the number of daily infections exceeded 76,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic last week, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases registered 45,753 new COVID-19 infections within one day on Tuesday, slightly above last week’s level.

According to the German Intensive Care Availability Register (DIVI), the number of COVID-19 patients requiring treatment in intensive care units is nearing record levels and climbed to 4,636 on Tuesday.

Helge Braun, acting head of the Chancellor’s Office, called for a renewed “emergency brake” to deal with the fourth wave. “We are now in a situation in Germany that we always wanted to avoid: Our healthcare system is regionally overloaded,” he told the Funke media group.

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