Weekly update: Germany set to ease lockdown

Merkel announced on Wednesday that Germany would begin to reopen, initially with only some types of shops (including Bookstores, car dealerships and bike shops and stores that are 800 square metres or less). Schools are planned to open on 4 May.


A video clip featuring the Chancellor explaining of Germany’s strategy was shared thousands of times on social media, drawing on her background in quantum chemistry.


Health Minister Jens Spahn announced on Friday that the outbreak had become ‘manageable’ in Germany with higher rates of recovery than new infections over the preceding week.


Finance Minister Olaf Scholz suggested the pandemic response requires greater EU co-operation and solidarity as the bloc is headed for a steep recession.


Lower Saxony state governor Stephan Weil suggested a mandatory mask rule may soon be introduced there, after Saxony became the first German state to require masks on public transport and in public buildings.


Privacy concerns are at the fore in a new app to contact trace coronavirus cases in Germany, which will use Bluetooth ‘handshakes’ to identify contact between people.


A man in Heinsberg has been 3D printing face masks to provide protective equipment for care homes and other businesses, including an automotive company.


Elsewhere


Auto industry lobby group VDA called on the government to incentivise demand for low emission vehicles and revive the industry in the wake of the ongoing pandemic.


42 unaccompanied under-14s were admitted to Germany from Greek refugee camps, in a move that Interior Minister Horst Seehofer called a ‘concrete sign of European solidarity’.

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