Germany will continue easing coronavirus lockdown measures by reopening all shops and schools, the government announced on Wednesday.

Speaking at a news conference in Berlin following a video conference with the premiers of federal states, Chancellor Angela Merkel said they agreed on new steps towards normalization.

“We have been successful in reaching our target of slowing down the spread of the virus,” Merkel said, adding that coronavirus reproduction rate has fallen below 1 and the number of daily new infections has remained under 1,000.

According to the the new guidelines, Merkel said, all shops will be allowed to reopen, regardless of their size, provided that they comply with physical distancing and hygiene regulations.

She urged citizens to wear face masks in public and keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters from other people.

According to the new guidelines, kindergartens and primary schools will gradually reopen under rules which will be laid out by each federal state.

An earlier ban for gatherings of more than two people in public was also relaxed amid decline in the number of coronavirus infections and deaths.

Merkel told reporters that from now on members of two separate households will be allowed to meet outside provided that they maintain the physical distance.

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