The Bundestag has passed the controversial amendments to the national Infection Protection Act that significantly tightens Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. The bill passed despite harsh criticism from the opposition.
The bill introducing new binding lockdown rules for the German states with high infection rates was approved by a narrow majority in the Bundestag on Wednesday. It received support from 342 MPs while 250 lawmakers voted against it and 64 abstained.
Some restrictions introduced by the amendments have been eased in comparison to the draft published by the German media in April.
Walking and jogging alone will be possible until midnight, unlike what German media has previously predicted. Schools and universities will have to switch to distance education only when the average incidence rate reaches 165 per 100,000 people. Non-essential shops will be able to allow customers with negative Covid-19 tests until the infection rate reaches 150, instead of just closing. After that, people will still be allowed to pick up preordered goods.
All federal states where an average seven-day Covid-19 infection rate rises over 100 per 100,000 people will have to impose a night-time curfew starting from 22:00 (and not 21:00 as it was originally intended).
Currently, 15 out of 16 German states fall under the restrictions of the bill, which is yet to be approved by the Bundesrat – another chamber of the German parliament representing the states.
Germany’s northernmost Schleswig-Holstein is the only one that has an incident rate lower than 100 per 100,000. In Saxony it is around 200 per 100,000 people, and in Thuringia it has surpassed 240.