Berlin will reportedly put Germany’s 16 states in charge of relaxing lockdown measures, allowing shops to open up, students to return to school, and the Bundesliga to start again – as long as the epidemic doesn’t make a comeback.
Heads of German states will be in charge of emerging from the weeks-long quarantine under a new plan which Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has drafted ahead of high-level talks on the issue, DPA news agency reported citing a copy of the document.
Key points of the draft provide a glimmer of hope for Europe’s wealthiest nation, still suffering from the coronavirus shutdown. It says that all businesses, regardless of their size, could resume services for their customers, who will have to remain 1.5m apart – like anywhere else in public.
Students will be allowed to return to school before the summer break – again, as long as the schools and universities ensure there is no risk of catching the contagion. People in nursing homes could also receive visitors again, on condition there are no active Covid-19 cases in their facilities.
Finally, football clubs are also expected to receive permission to resume their matches in the second half of May, but they will have to play without fans, as the ban on large public events – including festivals and games – has been extended until late August. Still, children and non-professional athletes could start practicing outdoor sports soon.
The plan, however, includes emergency brakes if the epidemic surges beyond a certain threshold. Should the number of infections rise within a week above 50 per 100,000 residents in any city or region, local governments will have to make a U-turn and bring the restrictions back immediately.
Germany has reported over 167,000 Covid-19 cases, lagging behind the US, Spain, Italy, the UK, and France. Its death rate remains markedly lower than in the aforementioned nations, standing at almost 7,000.
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