Merkel says Germany will start reopening its economy on April 20

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel endorsed on Wednesday the idea of gradually easing lockdown measures in the country, including the re-opening of small shops and schools, provided that social distancing measures and strict hygiene conditions remain in place.

The Chancellor said during a press conference that the society has “to live with this until there is a medicine or a vaccine,” echoing scientists’ views that sporadic social distancing may be necessary for the following two years, unless effective therapeutics or a vaccine is found.

Germany’s not overwhelmed healthcare system, Coronavirus cases having reached a plateau and a death toll that has reached its peak is only a “delicate, intermediate success,” Merkel said.

As of Monday April 20, small retailers will reopen, while schools will slowly follow in May, with pupils in their last years of primary and secondary school having the priority. Hair saloons could resume business as of May 4, provided that strict protective measures are followed.

Gatherings remain prohibited and all sport and cultural activities will be banned until August 31. Until mid-May, strict border controls at the country’s borders will also remain in place.

“Return to normality” could be facilitated by an app that will surveil the movements of recovered and healthy individuals, added the Chancellor. Masks are not mandatory, but “strongly recommended” in shops and on public transportation.

To date of publication, Germany has recorded almost 135,000 cases and over 3,800 deaths.

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