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Germany’s highest court confirms night curfews in the COVID-19 fight | World news


BERLIN (Reuters) – The German Constitutional Court on Wednesday dismissed urgent complaints against the government’s decision to impose night curfews in areas with high COVID-19 infections, as some regions are considering easing the lockdown restrictions.

Germany passed a law last month that gives Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government more powers to fight a third wave of the coronavirus, including curfews between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in regions with high infection rates.

The Federal Constitutional Court said in its ruling that the rejection of the urgent motions did not mean that the curfew was compatible with the Basic Law, adding that the judges would deal with the issue in more detail at the main hearing.

Merkel set the stricter rules after some of Germany’s 16 federal states refused to impose tough measures despite an increase in cases.

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The court ruling came when data suggested the stricter measures appear to have helped break the third wave of cases and contain infection.

The confirmed new coronavirus cases in Germany rose by 18,034 to 3,451,550 on Wednesday, but that 24-hour number was 4,000 lower than a week ago and the seven-day incidence per 100,000 people fell from 141 on Tuesday to 132 , the lowest level in three weeks.

Laws passed last month allowed the federal government to impose night curfews in areas where cases exceed 100 per 100,000 residents for three consecutive days, and even tighter restrictions when cases are above 165 per 100,000.

Three federal states are now below the decisive threshold of 100 cases per 100,000 – Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein – while three others are close – Berlin, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

The southern state of Bavaria said Tuesday it will resume outdoor dining in areas where the incidence is below 100 from May 10, and the tourism sector will reopen from May 21, when school holidays are in that part of the country .

The state of Lower Saxony has also agreed to relax the rules for gastronomy, tourism and retail for areas under 100.

Health Minister Jens Spahn called on the federal states to give priority to the opening of outdoor activities so as not to risk a new wave of infections.

The federal cabinet decided on Tuesday to relax restrictions on people fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19, a decree that could come into effect over the weekend.

After a slow start, the pace of vaccination is increasing in Germany and the number of people with coronavirus who need intensive medical treatment in hospital is beginning to decrease.

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber, additional reporting by Andreas Rinke, editing by Mark Heinrich and Giles Elgood)

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