Germany can now look to cautious reopening, Merkel says

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a news conference after a meeting with state leaders to discuss options beyond the end of the pandemic lockdown, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Berlin, Germany, March 3, 2021. Markus Schreiber/Pool via REUTERS

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany is entering a new phase of the coronavirus pandemic in which a staged reopening of society is possible, Chancellor Angela Merkel said, but added that an "emergency brake" will let authorities reimpose curbs if case numbers get out of control.

More curbs would be lifted from next week with shops reopening provided case numbers are below 50 cases per 100,000 people over 7 days in the relevant region. That move would be reversed if that metric was above 100 on three consecutive days.

Later stages would see restaurant terraces, museums and sports establishments reopen.

"We are at the threshold of a new phase of the pandemic that we can go into not carelessly but still with justified hope," Merkel told reporters on Wednesday evening.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Paul Carrel)

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