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Merkel Sets Path to Gradually Ease Germany's Covid Lockdown

Added 03-04-21 03:04:02am EST - “(Bloomberg) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel set out a plan to gradually unwind restrictions on Europe's largest economy, bowing to pressure from the pandemic-weary public.After hairdressers resumed operations this week, the next step…” - News.yahoo.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From News.yahoo.com: “Merkel Sets Path to Gradually Ease Germany’s Covid Lockdown”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

(Bloomberg) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel set out a plan to gradually unwind restrictions on Europe’s largest economy, bowing to pressure from the pandemic-weary public.

After hairdressers resumed operations this week, the next step will start on Monday when book stores, flower shops and gardening centers can reopen, Merkel said late Wednesday after more than nine hours of tense talks with regional officials.

Further easing steps can follow every two weeks depending on local contagion rates, while an “emergency brake” was set up to react to hot spots. Remaining restrictions -- including the closing of hotels, restaurants and other non-essential retail outlets -- were extended until March 28, with the next round of talks set for March 22.

“It is now the task of politics to take the next steps,” Merkel said. “These need to be easing steps, but at the same time they shouldn’t throw us back” and lead to a “dramatic third wave.”

Amid resistance from some state premiers, the chancellor backed off her hard line, effectively acknowledging that the targets she set for the contagion rate wouldn’t be reached anytime soon. She opened the door to the move last week, saying increased testing could provide a “buffer” to allow easing sooner.

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