- ‘Germany hopes to combine the lifting of restrictions with a more efficient tracing of the spread of Covid-19, by increasing testing and aiming to produce approximately 50 million protective masks’.
By Andrew Atkinson
Germany took its first steps back to work on April 20, with shops in some regions opening up for the first time in a month, after politicians declared the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic ‘under control.’
Speaking to The Leader, Germany based businesswoman Gabriela, who has regularly visited Los Montesinos, Alicante, said: “I’m very good – and I’m happy to get back to work!”
A large number of shops, smaller than 800 square metres re-opened to customers, as a relaxation to strict measures on public life were eased.
Lockdown was introduced in Germany in March – following suit with Spain, Italy and latterly the UK – as COVID-19 swept across the world.
Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the decision to re-open, citing they have been careful to make sure it is no more than a ‘cautious’ first step.
Initially, certain groups of shops will open their doors, with Germany’s 16 states set to follow suit, lifting restrictions at a safe pace.
In Berlin, re-opening is expected to take longer, due to its dense population.
Merkel, who has been praised for her handling of the crisis, is hoping to kick-start the German economy – officially in recession.
With 139,897 confirmed cases and 4,294 deaths (April 19) Germany is one of the worst-hit countries by Covid-19.
The Robert Koch Institute announced that the rate of infection had dropped below one for the first time – leading Health Minister Jens Spahn to declare the virus ‘under control’.
Merkel, herself quarantined for two weeks during April, before testing negative for the virus, warned that Germany’s success remains fragile.
“We will not be able to go back to our normal lives – for a long time,” said conservative party colleague Armin Laschet.
Laschet warned some Coronavirus restrictions could last until 2021.
A ban on gatherings of more than two people and a requirement to stand more than 1.5 metres apart from others in public areas, remain in place.
Cultural venues, bars, leisure centres and beauty salons remain closed. Public events, including concerts and football matches have been postponed, until August 31 at present.
Schools will be partially re-opened in the coming weeks, with most states set to welcome back older students from May 4.
Education policy is traditionally decided at state level in Germany, and Bavaria, the region worst hit by the virus so far, will keep its schools closed for an extra week.
On April 29, regional education Ministers are set to announce plans on how social distancing can still be enforced in the classroom.
Germany hopes to combine the lifting of restrictions with a more efficient tracing of the spread of Covid-19, by increasing testing and aiming to produce approximately 50 million protective masks.
Merkel said the German government strongly advises to wearing a mask in public places.
Germany were one of the first nations to react to lockdown, as the coronavirus outbreak spread.
Speaking exclusively to The Leader, Gabriela, proprietor of Gold Veit, in Albstadt-Ebingen,
said: “We have had nice weather in Germany and hope you have too, in Spain.
“Hopefully everything will go very well. Please stay safe.”