Germany’s new lockdown law, which automatically imposes tougher curbs in places where new infections exceed a certain threshold, came into effect on Saturday after both houses of parliament backed Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bill.
Merkel’s ruling coalition pushed the legislation through after her government failed to find common ground with regional leaders on measures needed to fight the pandemic. The law — which expires at the end of June — triggers tighter restrictions in virus hotspots, including nighttime curfews and closing schools and non-essential stores.
“This is something new in our fight against the pandemic and I am convinced it is urgently needed”, Merkel said in her weekly podcast, published on Saturday. “We are in the middle of the third wave. The more contagious variant of the virus has also taken hold in Germany.”