German coalition parties to table coronavirus draft law on Monday

  • World
  • Monday, 08 Nov 2021

FILE PHOTO: People queue to receive a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), during a night of vaccinations with music, at the Arena Treptow vaccination centre in Berlin, Germany, August 9, 2021. John Macdougall/Pool via REUTERS

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The three German parties working to agree on a coalition government by early December will present proposals to combat a raging fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country on Monday, daily newspaper Die Welt said.

"On Monday, we will present to parliament a draft law for a suitable and decisive fight against corona," said the deputy parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats (SPD), Dirk Wiese.

The plan, which includes the reintroduction of free tests, comes from the SPD, Greens and Free Democrats, which together hold a parliamentary majority, and will be discussed by the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, later this week.

It is aimed to come into force before a national state of epidemic emergency expires on Nov. 25.

The newly convened Bundestag is scheduled to consult on necessary law changes in sessions on Nov. 11 and Nov. 18.

The Greens and FDP especially have pushed free testing, which was abolished to incentivise people to get jabs, but those refusing to be injected up to now are not seen budging.

Doctors have supported calls for the reducing or waiving of test fees. They say the advantage, aside from serving the general cause of containing the virus, is to retain a good overview of its spread.

"Free citizen tests can be an important tool, especially in autumn," said the FDP's health spokeswoman, Christina Aschenberg-Dugnus.

Germany will soon open its traditional Christmas markets which attract crowds.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious disease reported 23,543 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, up by 6,656 from a week ago.

The leader of Bavaria state, Markus Soeder, called for more aligned strategies between the federal level and the country's 16 states to avoid a patchwork of regulations.

On broadcaster ARD's Anne Will talk show, he called for more mandatory tests, more decisive offers of booster shots, and possibly mandatory vaccinations for certain professions.

(Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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