lively debate on the curfew in Germany

It took a little over a year after the start of the pandemic for Angela Merkel to consider establishing a curfew in Germany. But the measure, which appears in a bill which the Bundestag began to debate on Friday, April 16, arouses such opposition that it is understandable why the German Chancellor did not propose it earlier.

The will of the government is to impose a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. in the boroughs (Landkreise) where the incidence rate is greater than 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Currently, nearly 80% of them are in this case. But at the rate at which the “third wave” is progressing in Germany, where the average incidence rate has fallen from 50 to 160 since mid-February, almost the entire territory should soon exceed the threshold beyond which Mme Merkel wants to impose a curfew.

It would still be necessary for the measure to be effectively adopted. However, the Chancellor is encountering resistance, including within her majority. “To be effective, the curfew must be accepted by the population”, the leader of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) in the Bundestag, Alexander Dobrindt, said on Friday. For this, his party demanded that the bill be amended so that the curfew begins at 10 p.m. and not at 9 p.m.

“Too general” exit bans

Also a member of the “grand coalition” of Merkel, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) has also expressed its reservations. “As planned, the exit bans are too general. For example, it should be allowed to go out at night to go for a walk with your partner or to play sports ”, said Johannes Fechner, one of the spokespersons for the Bundestag’s justice committee. The government wants only nightlife “For valid reason” are allowed, in other words if it is to go to work or to go to the doctor, but not to stretch the legs.

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Within the scientific community, the measure is also controversial. In an open letter to the federal government and the heads of the Länder, published Thursday, April 15, the German Aerosol Research Association – founded in 1972 within the prestigious Max-Planck company – insisted that “The transmission of viruses of the SARS-CoV-2 type occurs almost exclusively in closed spaces” But ” very rarely “ outdoors. “If we want to control this pandemic, we have to make people aware that the danger is inside”, write the researchers, who add: “We share the goal of reducing contacts that can be problematic. But curfews promise more than they bring. They do not prevent clandestine meetings indoors and only increase the desire to evade even more from the orders of the State. “

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