Germany divided over restrictlions end

There is a growing friction in Germany between the federal government and state governors over plans by some regional leaders to put pandemic-related restrictions to an end despite fresh clusters of cases across the country, AP reported.

Germany has seen a steady decline in the overall number of Covid-19 cases thanks to measures imposed 10 weeks ago to limit personal contacts. But as restrictions have slowly been lifted there have also been case spikes across the country linked to slaughterhouses, restaurants, religious services, nursing homes and refugee shelters.

The governor of Thuringia, Bodo Ramelow, said on Saturday that he hopes to lift the remaining statewide lockdown rules on 6 June and tackle outbreaks locally. The neighboring state of Saxony governor said on Monday that it, too, is aiming for a “paradigm change” on pandemic rules from 6 June if infections remain low.

But German Health Minister Jens Spahn cautioned on Monday against giving the impression that the pandemic is over. He told tabloid paper Bild that “on the one hand we are seeing whole regions where there are no new reported infections for days. And on the other hand local and regional outbreaks in which the virus is spreading quickly again and immediate intervention is required.”

Federal and state officials agreed earlier this month that restrictions would be re-imposed if there are more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in a city or county within a week. Germany has reported more than 180,000 cases of the coronavirus and nearly 8,300 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

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