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German schools to reopen in early May, citizens encouraged to wear MASKS shopping and on public transport

German schools to reopen in early May, citizens encouraged to wear MASKS shopping and on public transport
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that some shops can reopen next week and schools will gradually reopen from May 4, as the country plans to ease some of the measures in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

At a press conference on Wednesday after talks with the governors of Germany's 16 states, Merkel sought to reassure Germans that hospitals are not overburdened and thanked them for adhering to social distancing measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. 

Despite this, she said that most of the lockdown restrictions will remain in place until at least May 3. The ban on religious services will also be maintained for the time being. However, some stores will be allowed to reopen next week but the government will be encouraging citizens to wear protective face masks while shopping and on public transport.

The Chancellor said that any further relaxation of the restrictions will depend on how the infection rate develops. She told the assembled media that the measures had brought a "fragile intermediate success" in the fight against the pandemic. She also said that health authorities are working on an app that will enable them to track coronavirus cases.

Speaking at the same briefing, Bavarian premier Markus Söder said that the state’s ban on large scale gatherings will be in force until the end of August.

The Interior Ministry announced earlier on Wednesday that controls at Germany’s borders with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark were being extended by 20 days to early May.

The official death toll from Covid-19 in Germany stands at 3,254, while more than 127,000 people have been infected with the virus.

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