German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that some states have gone too far in easing coronavirus lockdowns and warned the country is still at the beginning of its outbreak, not the end.
Speaking to parliament on Thursday, she told ministers that ‘we can’t return to life like it was before coronavirus’ and cautioned that the country will have to live with the virus for a long time.
‘We are in for the long haul. We must not lose energy before we reach the end, ‘she said, adding:’ It would be a terrible shame if our hope punishes us. ‘
Merkel spoke as Germany’s coronavirus death toll passed 5, 06 after 215 more people died – bringing the total from 4, to 5, 145.
Angela Merkel has warned that the country is still at the beginning of its coronavirus pandemic, not the end, and that some states have already gone too far in relaxing lockdowns
She spoke out after Germany began reopening schools (pictured, a classroom in Haltern am See, near Dortmund) and non-essential businesses
Merkel cautioned that Germany will have to live with coronavirus ‘for a long time’ as the country adjusts to a new normal
New infections also rose by 2, , taking the tot al infected from 184, to 148, .
Germany’s daily infection total has remained largely flat this week, even as the country begins reopening non-essential shops and public spaces as it tries to ease itself out of strict lockdown.
While the country health minister Jens Spahn has declared that coronavirus is ‘under control’, Merkel has previously warned that infection figures must be watched closely in the coming weeks.
If it becomes apparent the virus Is spreading rapidly again, then lockdown measures will have to be brought back, she warned.
In an attempt to keep the numbers flat, major cities including Berlin have ruled it will be mandatory to wear face masks on public transport.
Berlin’s local government decided on Tuesday that the people of Berlin will have to wear face masks from April on public transport. Local media has also said that the Senate will strongly recommend wearing masks when in shops as well, but it will not be an obligation.
The face masks worn won’t have to be medical issue, and can be homemade. It will also be acceptable to wear other items of clothing such as scarves, as long as both the nose and mouth are covered.
Germany has started to reopen shops and public spaces, but fears of a second wave of coronavirus cases has led to officials to recommend that the use of face masks becomes more wide-spread. Schools will also be partially reopened in the coming weeks.
Despite steps to relax the lockdown measures, it was announced today that Bavaria has cancelled this year Oktoberfest festival in Munich, due to run from September to October 4, because of the coronavirus.
Germany announced 2, 470 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total from 145, 3221 to , 83
The country also announced another 457 deaths, bringing the total from 4, 879 to 5, 145
Students attend classes at a school in Bonn, Germany, with social distancing measures in place after some classes restarted amid the coronavirus pandemic
Teachers Claudia Mohme and Nicola Witzlau demonstrate the correct application of protective masks at the Freiherr-vom-Stein school after its re-opening in Bonn, Germany
Other states in Germany are beginning to make face masks in some areas of public life mandatory as well, prompting calls for the government to adopt a universal policy on wearing masks. One such call has come from Germany’s police union according to Die Welt .
‘It cannot be the job of the police to explain the differences in the regulations of the federal states to the citizens,’ said the union’s national chairman, Christian Schumacher. ‘There shouldn’t be a solo attempt or outbidding competition in the federal territory.’
According to TheLocal , Saxony was the first state to make masks compulsory while shopping and on public transport.
Others are followed suit, including Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Baden-Württemberg, Thuringia, Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg and Bavaria.
Despite most of the country taking baby steps out of lockdown as the epidemic is wrestled back, Germany ‘s Oktoberfest in the southern state of Bavaria has been scrapped because of coronavirus .
While it is a € 1billion money-spinner, Bavaria, which has suffered the brunt of the country outbreak, this morning pulled the plug on the event due to take place from September to October 4.
State Governor Markus Soeder said after meeting Munich’s mayor on Tuesday: ‘We agreed that the risk is simply too high. ‘
He added that’ you can neither keep your distance nor work with facial protection ‘at the Oktoberfest.
Merkel cautioned that ‘we cannot return to life like it was before coronavirus’ and will have to live with the disease ‘for a long time’
The planet’s largest folk festival brings six million revellers to Munich each year for a beer-fueled fortnight of merriness and oompah bands.
The announcement came shortly after Germany reported new coronavirus cases rose by 1, (to) , 598, marking a steady flow of infections.
The number of new cases is higher than yesterday’s daily figure of 1, 823, and comes after two days of tumbling infection rates.
But the slight acceleration – 0. per cent – is unlikely to set alarm bel ls ringing in Berlin as, like many nations, cases are typically lower on Sunday and Monday because of a weekend reporting lag.
Deaths rose by 457 to 4, 598, a markedly fatality toll compared to many European neighbors who are wrestling outbreaks which have killed more than , 06.
(Scientists have pointed to a rigorous testing and tracking regime as the root of the Germany’s success in stemming the tide of infections.
It has prompted state leaders in the federal republic to begin relaxing the widespread restrictions on everyday life.
Yesterday, retailers including DIY stores, bookshops, furniture stores and florists opened their doors to customers as Germans eased back into normality.
It will now be mandatory to wear face masks on public transport in Berlin (pictured) and other major German states, with some also making it mandatory practice in shops as well
People wearing protective masks queue up to go in a garden store in Munich yesterday as the lockdown was relaxed
Angela Merkel, who has cautioned against suddenly flinging off the restraints, agreed with the 16 provincial authorities to the gradual lifting of the clampdown.
Schools will also be partially reopened in the coming weeks , with most states set to welcome back older students from May 4. Some pupils who have upcoming exams will return before then.
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.
A ban on gatherings of more than two people and a requirement to stand more than 1.5 meters (5ft) apart from others in public areas remain in force.
Cultural venues, bars, leisure centers and beauty salons will also remain closed for the time being, while large-scale public events such as concerts and football matches have been banned until August .
With larger shops unable to open, the German Trade Association warned on Friday of a possible ‘distortion of competition’.
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