Europe

Bavarian premier says Germany should keep COVID state of emergency

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Christian Social Union (CSU) party leader Markus Soeder leaves after a news conference in Berlin, Germany, September 28, 2021. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/Pool

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BERLIN, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Bavarian premier Markus Soeder said on Thursday Germany should not let its COVID-related state of emergency expire as cases rose again.

Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn earlier this week said the state of emergency in place since March last year could end on Nov. 25 given the progress of the vaccine campaign, according to media reports. read more

The exceptional pandemic-control measures expire automatically unless extended by parliamentary vote.

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"If this state is ended, then there is de facto no legal basis anymore for anything, whether that be testing in schools or masks," Soeder told local radio station Bayerischer Rundfunk.

Society could find itself "defenceless" to some extent, with each individual responsible for his or her own personal safety, he said.

Soeder is the leader of the smaller of the parties that make up Germany's conservative bloc which will remain in government until a new coalition is formed and sworn in after elections last month.

Germany currently has a weekly average of around 1,000 cases per million inhabitants, up from 50 in early July, albeit still half the peak seen last December, according to the research portal Our World in Data.

Around 65% of residents are fully vaccinated, compared with 37% of people worldwide.

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Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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