Merkel panic: Germany may need to bring back lockdown as infection rate spikes by a THIRD

may be forced to reconsider her plans to ease lockdown measures across Germany after the reopening of some shops was followed by a spike in the infection rate. Germany last week allowed shops up to 800 sq m to open up and German Education Ministers on Tuesday agreed to gradually bring students back to school on a rotating basis. But Sky News Brussels correspondent Michelle Clifford suggested Chancellor Merkel will have to revise her plans to avoid a resurgence of the virus.

Ms Clifford said: "They eased restrictions last week, allowing shops up to 800sq m to open and also bigger bicycle shops and bookshops.

"Since then, the R number – that’s the rate of the virus reproduction – has gone up to 1.0. Earlier this month it was 0.7.

"That’s what health officials say it’s absolutely critical, it needs to stay below one. So we wonder if Germany will rethink lifting more restrictions."

The Sky News correspondent continued: "Certainly, there was a decision by the Education Ministers of the 16 states in Germany to gradually reopen schools, rotating children so that there are smaller class sizes. Will that now happen?

"The German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to speak to the heads of those states tomorrow and the figure of 1 is going to be weighing heavily on her mind.

"What Germany does not want to do is allow the virus to spread again because they’ve been pretty effective in getting a hold of it.

"Their death rate is much lower than the European countries."

Ms Clifford also warned Chancellor Merkel has also been facing pressure from doctors and nurses about the lack of appropriate protective gear to care for coronavirus patients.

The Institute said: “The coronavirus crisis is striking the German economy with full fury.

“Demand for industrial products has collapsed.

“Companies have never been so pessimistic about the coming months.”

The Institute for Employment Research (IAB) said unemployment across Germany is set to rise by 520,000 and is likely to exceed three million in 2020 because of the lockdown.

Germany is still recovering from a catastrophic fall in the country’s stock market, the Dax Performance Index, in February.

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