Germany could be in a position to gradually lift restrictions related to the outbreak of the new coronavirus, according to new advice for the country.
In its long-awaited recommendations published on Monday, the Academy of Sciences Leopoldina advocated a “step-by-step” return to normal if, in particular, the figures for new infections “stabilise at a low level and if hygiene measures are maintained”.
On the basis of the findings of this institution, Chancellor Angela Merkel is to decide on Wednesday, together with the leaders of the sixteen Länder, on the continuation of the containment measures launched in mid-March and planned as they stand until 19 April.
As early as Sunday, Health Minister Jens Spahn hinted at the relaxation of the coercive measures, more or less strict depending on the region, which affect the more than 80 million Germans and severely affect the main European economy.
After Easter, “it will be a question of seeing how we return in stages” to a more normal life, he said, without specifying which sectors would be favoured initially. For its part, the Leopoldina Academy recommends reopening “as soon as possible” the schools closed for the most part since 16 March, starting with primary and secondary schools.
Shops and restaurants could also be reopened, as well as administrations, provided that “barrier gestures”, including regular hand washing and respect for social distancing, are scrupulously respected.
The President of the Leopoldina Academy, Gerald Haug, nevertheless warned that this relaxation could only take place if accompanied by an obligation to wear a protective mask on public transport.
The latest figures published by the Robert-Koch Institute for Health Surveillance seem to confirm a slight improvement in the situation. While Covid-19 caused 2,799 deaths in the country – a level well below that of its European partners, notably France and Italy – the daily rate of increase in the number of cases slowed to 2,537 on Monday.