German constitutional court rules partial lockdown lawful

Chairs stacked at a restaurant/cafe in Dresden during Covid restrictions in April 2021.
Chairs stacked at a restaurant/cafe in Dresden during Covid restrictions in April 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Sebastian Kahnert
Germany's constitutional court ruled Tuesday that sweeping restrictions to stem coronavirus infections such as curfews, school closures and contact restrictions were lawful, in a decision that could pave the way for further curbs.

The verdict came hours before Chancellor Angela Merkel was due to meet with her designated successor, Olaf Scholz, as well as regional leaders of Germany’s 16 states on whether to toughen up restrictions to tame raging infections.

Helge Braun, Merkel’s chief of staff, told the RTL broadcaster the court decision would show “which of two paths we should go down”.

READ ALSO: German leaders to discuss tougher Covid restrictions

The meeting, due to be held remotely, comes amid a record wave of infections in Germany.

The country recorded 45,753 new infections on Tuesday and 388 deaths, according to the Robert Koch Institute health agency.

READ ALSO: Germany’s Covid incidence falls slightly – but cases expected to rise

Hospitals have long been sounding the alarm, with many already over capacity and sending patients to other parts of Germany.

To tame the surge, Europe’s biggest economy has over the last weeks began requiring people to prove they are vaccinated, have recovered from Covid 19 or have recently tested negative before they can travel on public transport or enter workplaces.

Several of the worst-hit areas have gone further, cancelling large events like Christmas markets and barring the unvaccinated from bars, gyms and leisure facilities.

But with infections shooting to new records day after day, calls have grown louder for further curbs.

‘Lockdown for the unvaccinated’

Germany’s vice-chancellor-in-waiting Robert Habeck on Tuesday called for tougher restrictions to slow the spread of the disease.

“What has to happen is absolutely clear: contacts must be reduced,” the co-leader of the Green party said, also calling for unvaccinated people to be banned from “all public facilities” apart from essential shops.

“We will need new uniform measures to get through the winter,” Habeck said, also urging Germany’s federal states to apply the “range of options” they already have, such as cancelling Christmas markets.

“This is then – it must be said so harshly – a lockdown for the unvaccinated,” he said.


Member comments

  1. I hope a fireworks ban is imposed this year.

    Frontliners do not need the additional stress and the environment certainly needs a break.

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