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13 Apr, 2020 10:51

Most Germans oppose lifting restrictions as Merkel's govt set to talk loosening Covid-19 lockdown

Most Germans oppose lifting restrictions as Merkel's govt set to talk loosening Covid-19 lockdown

In a surprising show of discipline (or silent rebellion), the majority of Germans opposed easing shutdown restrictions, which Berlin and states will consider this week, with some demanding that it become even tougher than now.

It's been revealed that 44 percent of citizens supported the possibility of the nationwide lockdown being extended beyond the existing April 19 deadline, according to a fresh YouGov poll carried out for DPA news agency. Interestingly, 12 percent were in favor of making it even more stringent.

By sharp contrast, there were only 32 percent of those saying 'yes' to relaxing the shutdown, with 8 percent wanting the government to lift it completely — even though their country ranks fifth by the number of Covid-19 cases which exceeded the 127,000 threshold over the past days.

Other findings of the poll portray Germans as being stereotypically disciplined and responsible. 78 percent said they fully abide by the government's ban on public mobility and the standard social distancing rules, while 18 percent admitted doing so only partially.

The survey could put German leaders in a somewhat precarious position as they — like some governments across Europe — are about to discuss easing the restrictions in the coming days.

This Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel and heads of 16 German states will hear recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences, followed by discussing it with the federal government. That advice will weigh heavily in whether or not to allow the country to get back to normalcy.

Last week, the issue stirred up a heated debate among local politicians, with some voicing alarmist predictions if the restrictive measures are eased. "A second shutdown would be economically and socially difficult to cope with,"warned Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg Winfrid Kretschmann.

Meanwhile, his counterpart in Northrhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet called for "a roadmap that shows us the way to responsible normality," claiming that "the spread of the virus is slowing down every day." 

Germany is apparently keeping an eye on other EU nations — including Austria, Italy, and Spain — who moved towards the way out of the lockdown, allowing small businesses to reopen and non-essential staff to return to work.

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