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Covid-19: Germany relaxes shop closures

By Wendy Amarteifio
Covid-19: Germany relaxes shop closures
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Germany has reopened small shops, car dealerships and bicycle stores, in a tentative easing of the coronavirus lockdown imposed nearly a month ago.

The country has flattened the curve of new infections and last week said it had got the spread under control. But social distancing remains in force.

In Saxony it is mandatory for people to wear face masks in public - and that is strongly recommended elsewhere.

The only students back in school are those sitting leaving exams.

Germany's mortality rate from Covid-19 is significantly lower than for many of its European neighbours. Efficient, large-scale testing by diagnostic labs, and tracing of carriers, is seen as a major factor in that.

The country on Monday recorded 1,775 new cases for the past day, while the number of deaths linked to Covid-19 rose by 110 to 4,404, according to official figures.

READ ALSO:Zimbabwe extends coronavirus lockdown by 14 days

Spain registered 399 more Covid-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, pushing its total to 20,852.

That is the second-highest in Europe after Italy. In both countries the daily death toll is declining.

More than 200,000 are infected with the virus in Spain, but 80,587 have recovered, according to the latest official figures.

There are significant regional differences in how Germany's 16 states are implementing the partial relaxation of the lockdown.

For instance, the densely populated state of North Rhine-Westphalia has reopened large shops as well as small. Elsewhere only those with an area of less than 800sq m (8,611sq ft) are allowed to start operating again.

The government imposed the lockdown on 22 March, shutting schools and banning gatherings of more than two people outdoors. Germany's hotels, restaurants, and cafes are to remain shut, as are sports and leisure facilities.