Germany set to consider relaxing coronavirus restrictions

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Top German scientists have said that the country could begin to reduce public restrictions after April 19. Chancellor Angela Merkel will take this into account when her government decides how to proceed.

The top German scientific academy recommended Monday that the country could begin to reduce restrictions on public life in place to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences, said the government could begin to safely reopen some schools while still observing hygiene rules. Stores and restaurants could also be reopened, if social distancing regulations are strictly enforced.

Read more: Berlin police bust 16th birthday party amid coronavirus lockdown

The academy also said the government should introduce requirements for citizens to wear face masks in public.

“Every citizen should in the future have this type of protection for their mouth and nose and wear it each time social distancing measures can’t be respected,” said the academy’s head Gerald Haug to German newspaper Der Spiegel.

The academy also said that government offices should gradually reopen, but stressed that private and public travel and the vast majority of public events should only slowly and incrementally be re-introduced.

The state of Lower Saxony’s economy minister also called for business “restart programs” to begin soon, amid fears that coronavirus is sending Germany hurtling to a recession.

“I maintain that limited restart programs are necessary as soon as we can bring a bit of normality back to the business world,” Bernd Althusmann told German newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Monday.

Merkel set to consider relaxing restrictions

Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to chair a virtual meeting of the leaders of all 16 states on Wednesday, taking into account the advice given by Leopoldina.

The restrictions as they stand are set to expire this Sunday, April 19. Health Minister Jens Spahn indicated last week that the government is hoping to be able to relax some of the restrictions currently in place after Sunday.

Germans have consistently shown a high compliance with the restrictions, and lockdown measures have been met with general public approval. However, according to surveys carried out by German news agency DPA, discipline has slightly slipped since the restrictions were introduced in March.

According to the survey, which featured a cross-section of the German public, 78% said they comply with regulations in full, 18% only partially and 2% not at all.

At the end of March, the same survey showed that 83% were fully complying, 12% only partially and 2% not at all.

Daily case numbers have begun to slowly reduce. There have been 127,854 confirmed cases in Germany and 3,022 people have died.

Source: ayanewz/agencies, report.

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