Germany suffers highest coronavirus death toll for second day in a row but Merkel announces end to lockdown – The Sun

ANGELA Merkel has announced Germany's lockdown will begin to be lifted from next week – as the country suffered its highest daily death toll for the second day in a row.

Overnight figures revealed another 315 Covid-19 deaths – up from the previous high of 285 reported on Wednesday – taking the total to 3,569.

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The number of new confirmed cases rose by 2,866 – almost 10 per cent – to a total of 130,450.

It is the third day in a row the rate of infections has risen after almost a week of decline.

The encouraging figures last week heaped pressure on Mrs Merkel to lift restrictions to rescue the sinking economy, which is heavily reliant on manufacturing exports.

An influential report by the National Academy of Science recommended reopening schools as soon as possible followed soon after by factories and other workplaces.

And despite the setback of the spike in cases, the Chancellor pressed ahead today with plans for a gradual easing of the lockdown.

Shops under a certain size could open their doors as early as next week, following a similar move in Austria.

And schools will gradually start to reopen from May 4.

But bars, cafes, restaurants, cinemas and music venues will all remain closed, and social distancing rules will stay in place until at least May 3.

Large public gatherings including religious services will be banned until August 31.

Mrs Merkel also recommended wearing face masks in shops and on public transport.

She said the country had achieved "fragile intermediate success" through the strict measures so far but they "must keep focused and keep going", adding that they "do not have a lot of room for manoeuvre".

It is the latest country to begin easing coronavirus restrictions after Italy and Austria allowed some shops to reopen earlier this week.

In Spain thousands of non-essential factory and construction workers were allowed back to work on Monday, while Denmark is reopening schools for kids under 11.

But France has extended its lockdown for another month, and the UK is also delaying any decision to lift the lockdown until after the predicted peak in cases.

Yesterday Sweden – the only country in Europe which has rejected a lockdown – recorded its highest daily death toll of 170.

There are now more than a million coronavirus cases in Europe – half the official global tally – with more than 85,000 deaths.

The World Health Organisation has warned lifting restrictions too early could lead to a "deadly resurgence" of coronavirus.

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