German lawmakers OK ‘emergency brake’ on virus

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, talks to German Health Minister Jens Spahn, left,

German lawmakers have approved a proposal by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to mandate uniform restrictions in areas where the coronavirus is spreading too quickly.

The legislation to apply an “emergency brake” consistently in areas with high infection rates is intended to end the patchwork of measures that has often characterized the pandemic response across highly decentralized Germany’s 16 states.

The lower house of parliament voted 342-250 for the plan on Wednesday, with 64 abstentions. The upper house, where state governments are represented, is due to consider the legislation Thursday.

It features plans to impose a 10 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew, limit personal contacts, close leisure and sports facilities and shut or restrict access to many stores.

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