Germany to open up as COVID-19 cases drop

FILE PHOTO: A woman walks during evening light near river Spree, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Berlin, Germany, April 22, 2021. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

BERLIN (Reuters) - Several German states, including the capital city Berlin, are planning to loosen coronavirus restrictions in coming days after more than six months of lockdown as the number of new infections keeps dropping nationwide.

Germany reported 6,125 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday to bring the total to 3,533,376, but the seven-day incidence per 100,000 people dropped to 115 from 141 a week ago, the lowest in a month. The total German death toll is 85,112.

The Berlin state government agreed on Tuesday to lift a night-time curfew and ease restrictions on shopping from May 19 and to allow outdoor dining from May 21, if the seven-day incidence remained below 100 for three consecutive days. It was at 94 in the German capital on Tuesday.

Other regions, such as the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate, are planning a three-stage opening scheme starting from Wednesday, with indoor restaurants opening on June 2 in areas of incidence below 50.

Health Minister Jens Spahn said federal states should go ahead with openings, especially for activities outdoor, but warned of the need to tighten again if infections rise again.

On Friday, Spahn said Germany's third wave of the pandemic appeared to have been broken.

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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