German lawmakers have voted to repeal the country’s coronavirus epidemic despite an increase in nearly 300,000 new daily cases.
The Bundestag passed an amendment to the Epidemic Rules by 388-277 votes, with two abstentions. The upper house of Germany’s 16-state parliament is expected to consider the measure later Friday.
The changes mean that the requirement to wear masks will be eliminated for most public settings from Sunday, although they may still be required on public transport. Care home visitors will continue to need negative COVID-19 tests, but will no longer need them in other areas of life.
States may still impose new restrictions to curb the spread of the “hot spot” virus, but governors have complained that the measure is ineffective due to a rise in cases across the country.
The country’s disease control agency has reported 297,845 newly confirmed cases and 226 covid-related deaths in the last 24 hours.
Health Minister Carl Lauterbach is in favor of lifting the ban.
“We cannot continue to keep the whole country under one shield to protect a small group that is unwilling to be vaccinated,” he said. “The balance is shifting.”
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