German Lawmakers Back Lockdown Exemptions for Fully Vaccinated

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German residents who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus will be exempt from most lockdown rules under legislation approved Thursday in the lower house of parliament.

The law, which also covers people who have recovered from Covid-19, is set to be voted on by the upper house on Friday and will likely take effect this weekend. For people considered immune, mandatory tests for trips to the hairdresser and non-essential stores will no longer be required, and the need to comply with curfews and quarantine rules will be waived.

Germany vaccinated more than 1 million people in a single day for the second time on Wednesday, lifting the number who have received at least one shot to more than 25 million, or 30.6% of the population, according to the latest data. More than 7 million, or 8.6%, are fully vaccinated.

German Lawmakers Back Lockdown Exemptions for Fully Vaccinated

The acceleration in the country’s inoculation drive after a slow start has raised hopes curbs can soon be lifted after months of partial lockdown that shuttered restaurants, gyms and cultural venues.

Germany’s incidence rate over seven days per 100,000 people has been dropping steadily since a peak of almost 170 on April 26 and fell further to 129.1 on Thursday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed legislation through last month that triggers lockdown restrictions if the incidence rate rises above 100. It must fall below and stay there for five days for curbs to be removed.

The controversial legislation was upheld after a preliminary review by Germany’s highest court. The judges rejected emergency bids to suspend elements of the law late Wednesday, meaning the the government can continue to impose nighttime curfews until a final decision is made.

Some federal states had already moved to exempt fully vaccinated people from lockdown rules, and the new law extends that to the whole of Europe’s biggest economy.

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