The Museum Barberini art gallery in Potsdam opened its doors on Wednesday, reassuring visitors it has a “comprehensive catalogue of protective and hygiene measures." Credit: Handout.

Museums, galleries and gardens, as well as many shops, were allowed to reopen this week in Germany, The Independent reported.

A draft document prepared by federal chancellery chief Helge Braun, also said amateur open-air sports could restart and schools should gradually reopen from 11 May, the report said.

The German football league, the Bundesliga, has also been given the green light to kick off for the first time since March.

Germany has begun relaxing the lockdown measures put in place to control the spread of coronavirus, as the infection rate has been declining for several weeks, the report said.

It has been more successful at containing the outbreak than other big European countries, managing to keep its infection and death rate at a relatively low level. The country recorded 164,807 infections and nearly 7,000 deaths, the report said.

Cabinet minister Peter Altmaier told BBC’s Newsnight there had been “a decline in infections, for now, at least four weeks in a row.”

He said the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel is proceeding with caution in easing the lockdown, as having to re-impose the strict measures could have a “disastrous effect on the economy.”

“I think we can safely state that the very first phase of the pandemic is behind us,” Chancellor Merkel said. “But we need to be very much aware we are still in the early phases and we’ll be in it for the long haul.”

Berlin’s botanical gardens reopened to the public on Tuesday for the first time since mid-March, the report said. The Museum Barberini art gallery in Potsdam opened its doors on Wednesday, reassuring visitors it has a “comprehensive catalogue of protective and hygiene measures.”

The state of Bavaria announced a partial reopening for tourism later this month, with beer gardens allowed to operate on 18 May and restaurants opening a week later.

According to the document, federal and state governments agreed in preliminary talks that if the number of new infections rises after restrictions are eased, local restrictions should be reintroduced immediately to prevent a second outbreak, the report said.

However, the country’s top disease control official warned that second and third waves of infections can be expected “with great certainty.”

Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute, told reporters on Tuesday: “This is a pandemic. And in a pandemic, this virus will cause disease until 60 to 70 per cent of the population is infected.”

Meanwhile, the BBC reported that Bundesliga “ghost games” without spectators could start again as early as 15 or 21 May as long as a two-week quarantine is put in place for the players, in the form of a type of training camp.

The Bundesliga will be the first major football league in Europe to resume after the pandemic. However, it is not without risk. Ten positive cases were revealed this week by the German football league out of 1,724 tests across the top two divisions.

“The eyes of Europe and all of the world will be on us,” Germany and Bayern Munich captain Manuel Neuer wrote in an op-ed in German broadsheet FAZ.

The goalkeeper highlighted the responsibility on German football’s shoulders and said it has acted as a role model for society, ESPN reported.

Influential club chiefs such as Borussia Dortmund’s Hans-Joachim Watzke and Bayern Munich’s Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, had warned that cancelling the league would put around 56,000 jobs in the industry in danger. 

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