Germany's Merkel, Scholz call COVID-19 meeting with state leaders




  • In World
  • 2021-11-29 17:27:06Z
  • By Reuters

BERLIN, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel and her soon-to-be successor Olaf Scholz will hold talks with German state leaders on Tuesday on further measures to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases and the spread of the new Omicron variant, government sources said.

The videocall is set to take place after the constitutional court delivers a ruling on the "emergency brake" law deployed last year to impose measures such as curfews and lockdowns when coronavirus incidence levels reached specific limits.

While the law has since expired, the ruling is expected to shed light on how constitutional the court deems such measures and whether they could be re-implemented as COVID-19 cases hit new record highs, straining intensive care units.

The fourth wave of infections comes with the national government in transition after a federal election in September.

Scholz is set to be sworn in as chancellor next week after his centre-left Social Democrats forged a coalition deal with the ecologist Greens and libertarian Free Democrats.

That three-way coalition already introduced a law to parliament that went into effect last week allowing only those who have been vaccinated, recently recovered or have proof of a negative test to gain entry to workplaces and public transport.

Germany's weekly COVID-19 infection rate hit a new record high of 452.4 per 100,000 residents on Monday, according to the national public health body, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). (Reporting by Andreas Rinke and the Berlin bureau Writing by Sarah Marsh Editing by Miranda Murray and Mark Heinrich)

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