Germany to ease lockdown as Merkel hails end of very first phase of pandemic

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a news conference after an online meeting with German state governors on the loosening of the restrictions to reduce the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Berlin, Germany May 6, 2020. Michael Sohn/Pool via REUTERS

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday announced a range of steps agreed with Germany’s 16 federal state leaders to ease the coronavirus lockdown, saying the first phase of the pandemic had passed, although there was still a long way to go.

“We are at a point where our goal of slowing the spread of the virus has been achieved and we have been able to protect our health system .. so it has been possible to discuss and agree on further easing measures,” Merkel told reporters.

People from two households will be allowed to meet and more shops will open, provided hygiene measures are in place, but guidelines on keeping a distance of 1.5 metres and wearing mouth and nose masks on public transport remain.

Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Michelle Martin

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