German coalition parties to table coronavirus bill on Monday

FRANKFURT, Nov. 8 (Reuters) – The three German parties that are struggling to agree on a coalition government by early December will present proposals on Monday to tackle a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the daily Die Welt reported.

“On Monday we will present to parliament a bill for an appropriate and decisive fight against the corona,” said 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, who together hold a parliamentary majority, and will be discussed by the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, later this week.

It is expected to come into effect before the national epidemic state of emergency expires on November 25.

The newly convened Bundestag is expected to consult on the necessary legislative changes during the sessions on 11 and 18 November.

The Greens and the FDP in particular have pushed for free testing, which was abolished to entice people to get bitten, but those who refused to be injected so far are not moving.

Doctors have backed calls for testing fees to be reduced or eliminated. They say the benefit, in addition to serving the general cause of containing the virus, is to keep a good overview of its spread.

“Free citizen tests can be an important tool, especially in the fall,” said FDP health spokesperson Christina Aschenberg-Dugnus.

Germany will soon be opening its traditional Christmas markets which draw crowds.

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

Bavaria’s head of 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 testing, more decisive booster offers, and possibly mandatory vaccinations for certain professions. (Report by Vera Eckert, edited by Chizu Nomiyama)

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