Amid concerns over the resurgence of coronavirus infections, the German government is committed to lifting the lockdown step by step.
Germany, the economic powerhouse of Europe, has put up an effective fight against the novel coronavirus, earning a reputation of being one of the most successful countries in the world to contain the spread of the virus and keep the fatality rate low.
In light of this, the German government has decided to ease the lockdown restrictions, which were imposed on March 22.
From Monday, Germany will re-open museums, churches and playgrounds. It had already allowed small businesses to resume work earlier this week. The reopening of schools and sporting events are next on the agenda of steering the country toward normalcy.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who gained the support of her citizens during the pandemic crisis, urged caution, asking people to be responsible towards each other, maintain social distancing in public and minimise the chances of the second wave of the coronavirus infection.
“We must work to make sure we bring the number of new infections down further,” Merkel said. “If the infection curve becomes steep again, we need to have a warning system to notice it early and be able to act.”
When it comes to dealing with the pandemic, Germany has done far better than the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy and several other global powers. The German government placed its focus on widespread testing and strict lockdown measures from day one and achieved the desired results.
Since April 20, when the lockdown was eased to a marginal degree, only a maximum of two people have been allowed out for physical exercise together within a certain distance. Small businesses were asked to observe social distancing measures and limit the number of costumers entering the shop premises.
Face masks were also declared compulsory for all citizens in most states.
Germany’s 16 federal states are also working on a plan to reopen bars and restaurants and allow some sport to take place.
But, more significant events such as concerts and sporting games will not be able to take place before August 31.
The risk of a resurgence of the coronavirus
After partly easing lockdown restrictions, the spread of Covid-19 has increased in the country.
The “R” factor which calculates the average number of people to be infected by a single coronavirus case was lowered about 0.7 on April 20 when the government first eased the lockdown.
However, on Tuesday, the R factor reached 1.0, which is the threshold for the keeping threshold or not, after the easing decision.
If this rate keeps going above the 1.0 for a long time, even a robust healthcare system like Germany's could fail.
The fluctuation of R-number could see the virus make a comeback, and take the German government by surprise. Although the Merkel administration has managed the crisis well, the country has 162,000 positive coronavirus cases. It remains to be seen whether its decision of easing the restrictions will offer a blueprint to other countries or a firm warning.