Germany eases coronavirus lockdown
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that the nationwide lockdown will be eased noting that the coronavirus pandemic’s first phase is over.
Germany’s lockdown was imposed in March to curtail the spread of covid-19. According to Merkel, the rate of infection has been slowing consistently and the virus’s reproduction rate is stably below 1, meaning that one patient on average infects less than one other person.
People from two different households will be permitted to meet and a considerable number of businesses will be allowed to reopen, subject to their adherence to hygiene measures. The public will still be expected to wear masks on public transport.
Residents of nursing homes will be able to receive visits from one ‘permanent contact person’.
There are provisions for reintroduction of lockdown measures where infection rates rise in excess of 50 per 100,000 inhabitants within a week-long period.
“We are following a bold path,” Merkel said. “We can afford to be a bit bold but we must remain cautious.”
The development comes as other countries continue to emerge from lockdown. Italy, Europe’s second-worst hit country, has allowed four million of its citizens to go back to work. The United Kingdom, whose official death toll surpassed that of Italy earlier this week, is putting together a three-stage process for leaving the lockdown.