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Corona restrictions: Governments relax some rules, keep others in place: Contact ban extended until start of May

Corona restrictions: Governments relax some rules, keep others in place : Contact ban extended until start of May

When will Germany return to at least some degree of normality in the Corona crisis? That's what the Chancellor was discussing with the state premiers. It quickly became clear that patience is still needed.

The federal and state governments have decided on relaxing somewhat the corona-related restrictions in Germany - but the strict contact ban is to remain in force generally until the beginning of May.

The German Press Agency learned this from participants in a telephone conference between Chancellor Angela Merkel and the federal state premiers. According to the announcement, schools are to slowly resume classes only from the beginning of May. On the other hand, under certain conditions, shops will be allowed to reopen as of next Monday.

EXTENSION OF CONTACT RESTRICTIONS UNTIL AT LEAST MAY 3

The contact restrictions imposed to slow and/or stop the spread of the corona pandemic in Germany are to be extended generally until at least 3 May. This was agreed on by Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the leaders of the federal states in Berlin on Wednesday, as the German Press Agency learned from participants.

At the same time, they agreed on cautious relaxation of restrictions on daily life. For example, shops with a sales area of up to 800 square meters will be allowed to reopen on Monday, subject to certain conditions. School operations are to begin on May 4, starting with the graduating classes, the classes that will take exams next year, and the top primary school classes. Major events, on the other hand, will continue to be prohibited in principle - until 31 August.

GERMANY EXTENDS BORDER CONTROLS

The controls at German borders introduced during the Corona crisis are to remain in place for another 20 days until 4 May. This was announced by a spokesperson from the Federal Ministry of the Interior in Berlin on Wednesday. For one month now, the borders to Austria, France, Luxembourg, Denmark, and Switzerland have been monitored. At the crossings to Belgium and the Netherlands, however, there are no controls. Since mid-March, people who are neither Germans nor permanently resident here are only allowed to enter Germany for a "valid reason to travel". EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen made it clear in Brussels that she does not expect a quick end to border controls in Europe.

AROUND 130,000 INFECTIONS AND 3200 DEATHS IN GERMANY

In Germany more than 130,300 infections with the new coronavirus have been registered by Wednesday afternoon (previous day: 127,900 infections). At least 3456 (previous day: 3143) people infected with the pathogen Sars-CoV-2 have so far died nationwide. This is the result of an evaluation by the German Press Agency, which takes into account the latest figures from the German states. According to estimates by the Robert Koch Institute, approximately 72,600 people in Germany have survived the infection. Experts also expect a high number of unreported cases in Germany.

The highest figures are in the state of Bavaria - with more than 34,600 confirmed infections and at least 995 deaths.

MORE THAN 225,000 GERMANS BROUGHT BACK FROM ABROAD

A good four weeks after the start of the German government's recall campaign, more than 225,000 Germans stranded abroad because of the Corona crisis are back home. As the German Press Agency learned from the Federal Foreign Office, only a "medium four-digit number" of travellers now need to be flown back, most of them out of South Africa, Argentina and Peru. The largest repatriation operation in the history of the Federal Republic is thus likely to be completed in a few days. After that, however, the embassies will continue to deal with individual cases.

EIGHT BILLION EURO ALREADY APPROVED FOR SMALL COMPANIES

In the Corona crisis, direct grants totalling around eight billion Euro have so far been awarded to small companies and solo self-employed persons. This was announced by the Federal Ministry of Economics in Berlin on Wednesday. The approved applications had exceeded the one million mark. The federal government will provide a total of up to 50 billion euros for the aid. The money will be paid out via the states. The package is a significant pillar of the aid measures taken by politicians to save jobs and companies. In addition, on Wednesday a new programme of the state development bank KfW was launched, which involves fast loans.

PETROL AS CHEAP AS (LAST) IN 2009

Not least due to the drop in demand for petrol as a result of the Corona crisis, the prices of petrol and diesel have fallen to long-term lows. With daily averages of 1.181 Euro per litre of E10 and 1.096 Euro for diesel, refuelling on Tuesday was again cheaper than in the previous week, as the ADAC announced on Wednesday. It was already the eighth consecutive week of decline. Diesel was last as cheap in September 2016 as it is now. With petrol you have to go back even further to the beginning of 2009 to find lower prices. At that time, however, the price was not yet determined for E10, but for classic super gasoline.

G20 HOURS OF DEBT FOR THE POOREST COUNTRIES

In the face of the Corona crisis, the leading economies are granting the world's poorest countries a postponement of payment of their debts. Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) spoke on Wednesday of an "act of international solidarity of historic dimensions". The G20 members had agreed to defer all interest and redemption payments of the 77 poorest countries this year, the Vice Chancellor told the German Press Agency.

"In this way, we are giving the countries concerned greater financial leeway to invest, for example, in the health protection of their populations - immediately and without time-consuming individual case-by-case examinations." He added that the G20 members had agreed to this.

Original texts (2): dpa, Translation: Mareike Graepel