Coronavirus | Germany relaxes lockdown for playgrounds, churches and zoos


German authorities agreed on Thursday to reopen playgrounds, churches and cultural institutions such as museums and zoos that have been shuttered because of the coronavirus pandemic, but they postponed a decision on whether to relax the rules for restaurants, hotels and kindergartens.

Also read: COVID-19 | Germany testing 450 residents of apartment complex after two infected families break quarantine

Chancellor Angela Merkel said that while there would be regional differences because of Germany’s federal structure, the overall goal remains ensuring the health system can cope with the country’s outbreak.

So far, we have managed to succeed in doing so, Ms. Merkel told reporters after a meeting with the governors of Germany’s 16 states. We have all together achieved a lot in recent weeks.

Germany, a country of 83 million people, has recorded almost 162,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 6,467 deaths, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That is about a quarter the number of virus-related deaths reported in Britain and France, even though the three countries have similar numbers of confirmed cases.

Over the past week, Germany recorded between 1,000 and 1,500 new cases a day, down from 2,000 the previous week.

Ms. Merkel said the federal and state governments wouldn’t make a decision on reopening hotels and restaurants at their next meeting on May 6, which will focus on further relaxing the rules for schools, childcare centers and sports facilities.

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