News World Germany edges out of lockdown with partial opening of shops, schools

Germany edges out of lockdown with partial opening of shops, schools

Germany has achieved a “fragile intermediate success” in its the fight against the coronavirus and will take small steps out of lockdown with the partial reopening of shops next week and schools from May 4, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday.

Social distancing rules would remain in place until May 3 under the measures that Merkel and the governors of Germany’s 16 states agreed at Wednesday’s meeting. They decided to meet again on April 30 to review how to proceed after May 3.

Under Wednesday’s agreement, retailers whose shops are up to 800 sq metres will be allowed to open next week, along with car and bicycle dealers, and bookstores, though they must practise strict social distancing and hygiene rules.

Schools would start opening from May 4, with priority given to final-year students. Hairdressers could also reopen from May 4. The federal and state governments “strongly recommended” Germans wear face masks on public transport and when shopping.

Religious gatherings will remain banned and restaurants, bars, cafes, cinemas and music venues shut, with big events banned until Aug. 31.

“We are now moving forward in small steps,” Merkel told a news conference. “It is a fragile situation in which caution is required, not exuberance.”

Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases have risen by 2,486 to 127,584, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases said earlier, with a reported death toll of 3,254 people.

Merkel’s Cabinet had already decided to extend border controls to Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark by 20 days to early May, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

Infectious disease experts say that four weeks of keeping schools, factories and shops shut has brought progress but warn that the epidemic is not yet contained and there is a long way to go before normal life resumes in Europe’s biggest economy.


Merkel said the virus reproduction or transmission rate, dubbed “R”, in Germany was around 1 – meaning one person with the virus infects one other on average.

With a transmission rate of 1.1, Germany’s healthcare system would hit its limits in October, she said. With a rate of 1.2, it would hit the limit in July, and in June with a rate of 1.3.

“So you see what little leeway we have,” Merkel added.

Companies and politicians are worried about the economic impact of a long shutdown although the government has tried to cushion the blow with a range of measures, including a 750 billion-euro ($818.78 billion) stimulus package.

“We are in a new normal that will not be short but will be with us for some time, until we have managed to develop better medicines and vaccines to prevent the spread of the pandemic,” said Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.

The Economy Ministry said Germany entered a recession in March and the slowdown is likely to continue until the middle of the year.

“Collapsing global demand, interruption of supply chains, changes in consumer behaviour and uncertainty among investors are having massive impact on Germany,” it said.

It said even if social distancing measures were eased, economic activity would continue to be very subdued and would only pick up gradually.

Some 725,000 companies in Germany had applied for short-time work by April 13, the Labour Office said on Wednesday, a roughly 12% rise from the previous week, said the Labour Office.

Short-time work is a form of state aid that allows employers to switch employees to shorter working hours during an economic downturn to keep them on the payroll. It has been widely used by industry, including Germany’s car sector


Top Stories

384 new cases of COVID-19, no deaths announced on Thursday

The Health Ministry announced 384 new Coronavirus cases out of 39,807 PCR and rapid antigen tests on Thursday, 4, March, taking confirmed infections to...

ECDC detects UK strain in three cases after testing another 94 COVID-19 samples from Cyprus

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) conducted specialized laboratory tests on another 94 COVID-19 positive samples, sent from Cyprus for sequencing...

22-year-old seriously injured after falling from nine meters’ height

The Police are investigating the conditions under which a 22-year-old fell from nine meter’s height and got seriously injured. The accident occurred just before noon...

St Hilarion Castle not damaged by the fire

Due to a fire that was caused b a lightning or lightnings yesterday fortunately only the coffee shop within the Saint Hilarion Castle was...

King Carnival goes around in the roads of Limassol (VIDEO)

King Carnival will today go around in the main streets of Limassol from 16:00 until 18:00. (philenews)


Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...


No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...