Apr 15, 2020 - World

Merkel lays out Germany's plan to ease lockdown

Dave Lawler, author of World

Merkel and other top officials arrive to brief the press. Photo: Christian Marquardt - Pool/Getty Images

Germany will begin a "gradual" and "very careful" loosening of its coronavirus lockdown next week, though social distancing rules will remain in place through at least May 3, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday.

Where things stand: After previously rebuffing calls for a plan to reopen the economy, Merkel laid out a general roadmap as much of Europe remains locked down.

  • Smaller shops will be able to open next week, once they've established “plans to maintain hygiene." Car dealers and bookstores of any size can reopen Monday, but beauty salons will have to wait until May 4.
  • Schools will “very slowly” begin to reopen on May 4, with students who have exams taking priority and new precautions being taken, including for school buses.
  • Restaurants and bars will remain closed for the time being. Religious services and other large events won’t return until Aug. 31.

Why it matters: Germany has one of the world’s largest confirmed caseloads but far fewer deaths than countries like the U.K. and France. A widespread testing program and Merkel’s decisive leadership have been praised for containing the threat and potentially easing the road to recovery.

  • Merkel is far from declaring victory. She said Germany had seen only "fragile intermediate success,” and she urged Germans to remain vigilant.

Go deeper

Jun 3, 2020 - Health

DeSantis says Florida bars and clubs can reopen this week

Outdoor restaurant in Fort Lauderdale on May 18. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that bars and clubs will be allowed to reopen on Friday, as the state continues to scale down restrictions it put in place because of the coronavirus, WCTV reports.

Why it matters: DeSantis ordered bars and clubs to close in mid-March as one of the first actions the state took to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Updated 11 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.

As techlash heats up again, here's who's stoking the fire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As controversies around online speech rage against a backdrop of racial tension, presidential provocation and a pandemic, a handful of companies, lawmakers and advocacy groups have continued to promote a backlash against Big Tech.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Google got a reputational boost at the start of the coronavirus lockdown, but that respite from criticism proved brief. They're now once again walking a minefield of regulatory investigations, public criticism and legislative threats over antitrust concerns, content moderation and privacy concerns.