Germany To Ban New Year’s Eve Fireworks To Protect Hospitals
Germany is set to ban the sale of fireworks in an effort to prevent a surge of injuries amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Members of the public are only normally allowed to buy fireworks in Germany around New Year’s Eve, but it looks like the skies won’t be lit up with colourful explosions this year.
Political leaders are expected to announce the ban tomorrow, November 25, to prevent people buying fireworks and opening themselves up to injury.
Approximately €200m (£178m) is usually spent when pyrotechnics go on sale in the three days running up to New Year’s Eve, after which they are detonated from people’s back gardens, balconies and in public parks.
Firework displays go on through the night, often lasting from 6pm on December 31 until around 7am on January 1, but the colourful displays can often result in injury.
Hospitals have seen an increase in the number of injuries and people needing surgery around New Year’s Eve, but this year staff would struggle with an influx of patients.
The coronavirus outbreak has put great strain on hospitals, and an increasing number of patients are in need of intensive care. With this in mind, lawmakers and doctors have stressed that it would be irresponsible to allow the New Year’s Eve celebrations to go ahead as normal, instead opting to implement the ban for the first time, The Guardian reports.
According to The Berlin Spectator, the non-governmental agency Environmental Action Germany encourages the ban on private fireworks. It has previously shown support for the idea, with the arguments that it would help decrease air pollution and prevent respiratory issues.
The agency claims that particulate matter pollution caused by fireworks would be even more impactful this year, as coronavirus is also known to affect the respiratory tract.
The Green party in Berlin has expressed similar views, with Antje Kapek, floor leader at the Berlin House of Representatives, reiterating the fact that hospitals in the German capital already had to deal with coronavirus.
The Green party has also previously cited environmental reasons for a ban. It is arguing that Berlin should follow in the footsteps of the Netherlands, where Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced a complete ban on fireworks and firecrackers this year.
Rutte said the decision was ‘an important step to relieve hospitals, protect medics and avoid new Coronavirus infections’.
Germany has recorded a total of 953,772 confirmed cases of coronavirus since the outbreak began, as well as 14,513 deaths.
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CreditsThe Guardian and 1 other
The Berlin Spectator