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Germany's "traffic light" coalition moves to bring back free COVID tests

Germany's "traffic light" coalition moves to bring back free COVID tests

Germany's "traffic light" coalition moves to bring back free COVID tests

With Germany already in the grip of a fourth wave of coronavirus, the parties set to form the country’s next government have laid out their plans to tackle the pandemic. Alongside the reintroduction of free COVID-19 testing, politicians are calling for extra financial aid for hospitals and more sick days for parents. 

Coalition parties prepare new COVID legislation

Despite still being in the middle of complex coalition negotiations, the “traffic light” parties that will likely form the next government have begun making plans to curb Germany’s spiralling COVID infection rate. Added urgency was given to the situation on Monday, when the federal republic recorded its highest-ever seven-day incidence rate.

According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine, the SPD, Greens and FDP were on Monday working on a new draft law, which they are planning to debate in the Bundestag on Thursday. If passed, it could come into effect as soon as November 18, n-tv reports. 

The measures currently being considered include: 

  • Reintroducing free COVID testing: The free testing scheme was scrapped in October, but many politicians now say that this was a mistake. 
  • Daily testing for employees and visitors at care homes: Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people would need tests.
  • Reintroducing the “corona fee”: The federal government previously paid hospitals in Germany to keep intensive care beds free for COVID patients. Under current plans, this would be revived.
  • Promoting booster jabs: All doctors in Germany would be asked to write to elderly patients recommending they get a booster shot. 
  • Extra sick leave for parents: Parents in Germany would be entitled to extra child sickness days to use if their children contract COVID, have to self-isolate, or if their childcare is closed. 

Nationwide 2G rules not on the table

Currently, the parties have ruled out the possibility of introducing so-called “2G rules” nationwide across Germany. This controversial rule - which is currently in place in some federal states - would effectively ban people who have not been vaccinated against coronavirus or recovered from the disease from certain public places. Compulsory vaccinations are also not currently on the cards. 

The potential coalition partners are also rushing to assemble a new law because the current “nationwide epidemic situation” declared by the Federal Health Ministry last year is set to expire on November 25. 

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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