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19 Apr, 2020 13:57

‘Don’t run around like bunch of chickens’: SECOND Covid-19 lockdown inevitable if Germany goes too lax on restrictions – minister

‘Don’t run around like bunch of chickens’: SECOND Covid-19 lockdown inevitable if Germany goes too lax on restrictions – minister

Germany’s economy minister issued an unorthodox warning to federal states, telling them to keep calm while relaxing coronavirus restrictions – or face the return of another nationwide shutdown.

“If we keep our nerve now, we can avoid a second lockdown. That is why a joint action by the federal and state governments is so important,” Peter Altmaier, Germany’s economy minister, was quoted as saying by local media. 

The nation shouldn’t go too far while Covid-19 is still raging across German cities – infecting close to 144,000 people and killing roughly 4,500 – Altmaier said, using an unusual metaphor to make his point.

We should not run around like a bunch of chickens, outdoing each other by alternately tightening and loosening [the lockdown].

Last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel allowed shops and markets of up to 800 square meters to open their doors, provided they are able “to maintain hygiene” and allow visitors to maintain social distancing. While calling for caution, Altmaier defended Merkel’s decision, arguing that smaller businesses have fewer reserves “to keep their heads above water.”

Starting from May 4, other ventures like bookstores, car dealers, and hairdressers can restart their activities, again, enforcing strict hygienic measures. Schools will open on that day “gradually and very slowly,” as Merkel put it, but each state was given the right to deviate from the nationwide timeline.

Also on rt.com Germany’s drop in Covid-19 cases may only be due to lack of testing at Easter, public health chief warns, amid lockdown debate

Large public events such as religious services will remain prohibited until at least August 31. Likewise, there’s no sign yet that bars, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, and music venues could open anytime soon.

The severe lockdown has stirred protests across Germany, as some people see them as unnecessary strains on their liberties.

However, the majority of Germans support extending the measures, with a sizeable portion even willing for them to be stricter.

Other countries in Europe are slowly emerging from the shutdown. Last week, small stores reopened in Italy and Austria, followed by Denmark where children returned to school and some churches conducted Easter services. Spain allowed non-essential staff in communications, food distribution, and sanitation to go to work following a 14-day quarantine.

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