Weekly update: Germany hits recession amid coronavirus crisis

The effects of coronavirus caused Germany’s economy to shrink by 2.2% in the first quarter of 2020, its biggest fall since 2009. Despite the downturn, it has fared better than surrounding nations.


Restaurants and cafes in Germany and Austria were reopened on Friday with new ruleson face coverings, 1.5 metre distancing and recording guest details to enable contract tracing.


German meatpacking plants will be required to improve hygiene standards and end the use of subcontractors, after investigations highlighted ignored social distancing and breached hygiene regulations.


A parcel delivery centre in Heinsburg, North Rhine Westphalia, was closed after an outbreak of 42 Covid-19 cases.


More anti-lockdown protests took place in Berlin and other cities. According to sociologist Matthias Quent, the protests were dominated by right wing extremist narratives.


Elsewhere


Angel Merkel accused Russian intelligence services of email hacking in a 2015 incident, claiming there was ‘hard evidence’ of Russian interference. The Chancellor stated the evidence ‘pains’ her and has negatively affected her relationship with Moscow.


In response to a 2017 anti-Israel rally in Berlin, the burning of foreign state flags has been banned in Germany, which includes that of the European Union.


In another blow to the Russia-Germany Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, Germany’s federal energy regulator refused to exempt the operator from EU gas directives.

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