Angela Merkel allows Germany to make moves to return to normality today as Coronavirus outbreak is deemed ‘under control’

© Aleph, Wikipedia
Angela Merkel Credit: Wkipedia

GERMANY has taken its first steps back towards normality today, with shops in some regions opening up for the first time in a month after politicians declared the Coronavirus “under control.”
A large number of shops smaller than 800 square metres will be reopened to customers again, in a first wave of relaxations to strict measures on public life introduced last month.
Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the decision to reopen last week, though they have been careful to make sure it is no more than a cautious first step.
While the first shops will open their doors on Monday, each of Germany’s 16 states is set to lift the restrictions at a slightly different pace.
For the capital Berlin, reopening is expected to take a little longer due to its dense population.
Merkel, who has been praised for her handling of the crisis, is hoping to kick start the German economy, which officially entered into recession last week.
With 139,897 confirmed cases and 4,294 deaths as of Sunday, Germany has been one of the worst-hit by Covid-19, but also one of the quickest to react.
On Friday, the Robert Koch Institute announced that the rate of infection had dropped below one for the first time, leading Health Minister Jens Spahn to declare the virus “under control.”
Yet Merkel, who was herself quarantined for two weeks earlier this month before testing negative for the virus, has warned that Germany’s success remains “fragile.”
“We will not be able to go back to our normal lives for a long time,” said her conservative party colleague Armin Laschet.
Last week, Laschet warned that some Coronavirus restrictions could last until 2021.
A ban on gatherings of more than two people and a requirement to stand more than 1.5 metres apart from others in public areas remain in force.
Cultural venues, bars, leisure centres and beauty salons will also remain closed for the time being, while large-scale public events such as concerts and football matches have been banned until August 31.
Schools will also be partially reopened in the coming weeks, with most states set to welcome back older students from May 4.
Education policy is traditionally decided at state level in Germany, and Bavaria, the region worst hit by the virus so far, will keep its schools closed for an extra week.
On April 29, regional education ministers are set to present concrete plans on how social distancing can still be enforced in the classroom.
Germany hopes to combine the lifting of restrictions with a more efficient tracing of the spread of Covid-19 by ramping up testing and aiming to produce around 50 million protective masks.
Though not yet obligatory, Merkel said her government “strongly advises” wearing a mask in public.


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