Germany Planning to Extend Lockdown Again

Germany's national government and states are set to extend the COVID-19 lockdown by three weeks, to March 28, according to media reports on Tuesday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of Germany's states will hold discussions on Wednesday. However, it's been fairly common in recent months for parts of their plans to be floated in the press ahead of time.

What changes are on the table?

Merkel and the state premiers are working on a draft agreement to allow shops to reopen in areas where the number of coronavirus infections is considered reasonably low.

Coronavirus cases would have to fall to a seven-day average of 35 per 100,000 people.

Some outlets, such as florists, book and gardening shops would be able to re-open even if rates are higher.

A relaxation on the number of people allowed to gather from different households may also be on the cards from March 8.

The German government is also expected to appeal to citizens to avoid domestic and foreign travel over the Easter period.

Hairdressers in Germany reopened for business on Monday, along with hardware stores and flower shops in certain states.

What are Germany's lockdown measures like now?

Elementary school pupils returned to their classrooms across much of Germany last week, after a decision last month to extend most, but not all, lockdown measures until March 7.

Most shops have stayed closed since tighter restrictions were introduced on December 16.

Restaurants, bars, sports and leisure venues have all been closed since November 2.

Hotels in Germany are currently closed to all but business travelers.

Current lockdown measures have been credited with helping bring down daily new infection numbers.

However, experts last week warned that the declining infection rate had stabilized and even started climbing slightly, with growing concerns about the spread of new virus variants.

The number of coronavirus cases in Germany went up by 3,943 to 2,451,011, according to figures released early on Monday by the country's Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases. COVID-linked fatalities went up by 358, to 70,463 in total.

You can read this article as it originally appears at Deutsche Welle here.

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This article originally appeared at Deutsche Welle.