Germany will impose lockdowns on areas with high coronavirus infection rates under new law approved by the upper house of parliament on Thursday.
The law is designed to end a patchwork approach by the country's 16 federal states, giving German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government more powers to fight a third wave of pandemic.
Germany's President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is set to sign the new legislation into law shortly.
The law — set to become effective next week or even sooner —enables Germany's government to impose curfews between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. local time, as well as limiting private gatherings, sports and shop openings, in all areas registering more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents in one week.
Schools will close and return to online lessons if the virus incidence exceeds 165 cases per 100,000 residents.
The proposal sparked protests from opposition parties in parliament and in the capital Berlin, where hundreds took to the streets.
The new law comes into effect as Germany reaches its highest number of new Covid-19 infections since January.
On Thursday, Germany recorded an increase of 29,518 new coronavirus cases within the last 24 hours, according to data from the country's agency for disease control and prevention, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). The reported death toll in Germany has risen by 295, bringing the death toll to 80,893.
The country is now reporting a total of 3,217,710 known Covid-19 cases and the seven-day incidence rate stood at 161.1 cases per 100,000 people.
As of Thursday, nearly 22% of Germans have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine — and nearly 7% received their second coronavirus vaccine shot, the latest data from the RKI shows. German Health Minister Jens Spahn on Thursday said that he expects to offer coronavirus shots to all adults from June.