Coronavirus: Germany to allow shops under 800 square meters to reopen

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday announced the first steps in undoing coronavirus lockdowns for the coming weeks, with most shops allowed to open although schools must stay closed until May 4.

Shops up to 800 square meters will be allowed to reopen once they have “plans to maintain hygiene,” Merkel said, while schools will gradually be reopened with priority given to pupils about to take exams.

Meanwhile, a ban on large public events will be upheld until August 31 to prevent possible mass transmissions of the virus.

Merkel also said that masks should be worn on public transport and in shops as Germany cautiously begins to ease curbs imposed to halt contagion of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: Which countries are reopening and how are they doing it?

“It is recommended that masks be used in public transport and while shopping,” Merkel told journalists after talks with regional leaders from Germany’s 16 states.

Germany slammed the US decision to suspend payments to the World Health Organization (WHO), as Merkel’s spokesman underlined the country’s commitment to international cooperation.

US President Donald Trump announced the funding freeze on Tuesday, accusing the WHO of “severely mismanaging” the spread of the virus.

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