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Germany is using three pop concerts to enable scientists to investigate the risks of such mass indoor events during the pandemic.

Some 4,000 healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 50 were urged to sign up for August 22 study in Leipzig, carried out by Halle University.

Singer-songwriter Tim Bendzko agreed to perform at all three successive gigs.

The study came as Germany recorded its highest number of Covid-19 infections since the end of April.

More than 2,000 cases were recorded in Germany in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases to 232,082, the Robert Koch Institute reported.

The concert study, called Restart-19, was created “to investigate the conditions under which such events can be carried out despite the pandemic”, researchers said.

Scientists planned to run three different scenarios with some 4,000 visitors at the Quarterback Immobilien Arena in Leipzig during the course of August 22.

The first aims to simulate an event before the pandemic; the second with greater hygiene and some social distancing; and the third with half the numbers and with each person standing 1.5 meter apart.

Each staged scenario involves arrivals and departures from the stadium and performances by Tim Bendzko “in order to depict spectator behavior as realistically as possible.”

All participants are being tested for Covid-19, and given face masks and tracking devices to measure their distancing. Exactly how many volunteers came forward to participate remains unclear.

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German researchers are reportedly using fluorescent disinfectants to track what surfaces audience members touch the most.

The project received 990,000 euros ($1.17 million) funding from the states of Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony with the aim of helping to pave the way for the resumption of major indoor sporting and music events by ascertaining realistic levels of risk.

Saxony-Anhalt’s Minister of Economics and Science, Prof. Armin Willingmann, said before the event: “The corona pandemic is paralyzing the event industry.

“As long as there is a risk of infection, major concerts, trade fairs and sporting events cannot take place. This is why it is so important to find out which technical and organizational conditions can effectively minimize the risks.”


Germany is slowly easing restrictions brought in to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced.

Social distancing rules will stay in place until at least May 3, with the chancellor also recommending the use of face masks in shops and on public transport.

However, as of next week stores under a certain size could open their doors.

Schools will gradually start to reopen from May 4.

Angela Merkel said Germany had achieved “fragile intermediate success” through the strict measures.

She said the country “must keep focused and keep going”, adding that they “do not have a lot of room for manoeuvre”.

Large public gatherings including religious services will remain banned until August 31. Bars, cafes, restaurants, theaters and music venues will all remain closed.

According to Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany has 127,584 confirmed cases and has reported 3,254 deaths.

Angela Merkel’s announcement makes Germany the latest European nation to start easing restrictions.

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Denmark has reopened schools and nurseries for children up to the age of 11.

In Spain, construction and manufacturing work is back under way.

In Austria, thousands of smaller shops reopened on April 14, and the country will allow outdoor sport such as tennis, golf and athletics from May 1.

In Italy, some regions have reopened bookstores and children’s clothing stores.

France, however, has extended its lockdown measures for four more weeks until May 11. Belgium will maintain its restrictions until at least May 3.

In Russia, veterans groups have called for President Vladimir Putin to postpone the World War Two 75th anniversary victory parade planned for May 9, because of the risk it could pose to participants.

After a video conference with the heads of Germany’s 16 lands, Chancellor Merkel announced the gradual loosening of the strict lockdown measures.

Schools can reopen “gradually and very slowly” after May 4, she said, with new safety measures for breaks and school buses, and priority given to those students with exams.

She said: “It will be a great logistical effort and it needs very careful preparation.”

Stores of up to 800 square meters (8,600 sq ft) could be able to restart their businesses from Monday, provided they have “plans to maintain hygiene”, the chancellor said.

Car dealers, bike stores and bookstores can all reopen, regardless of their size. Hairdressers will be allowed to open their doors from May 4, provided they too comply with strict hygiene measures.

Angela Merkel strongly recommended people don protective face masks while shopping and while taking public transport, saying this “will help to protect other people”.

It makes Germany the latest country to issue guidance on face masks in public – although Chancellor Merkel did not make it mandatory.

German economy, the Europe’s biggest, entered a recession in March, its economy ministry said, citing “collapsing global demand, interruption of supply chains, changes in consumer behavior and uncertainty among investors”.

Last month, the German government passed a stimulus package worth €750bn ($816 billion) in a bid to help ease the effect of the coronavirus.


Germany has extended its restrictions on social interactions to try to contain the coronavirus outbreak, banning public gatherings of more than two people.

People will not be allowed to form groups of three or more in public unless they live together in the same household, or the gathering is work-related. Police will monitor and punish anyone infringing the new rules.

In a TV address, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said “our own behavior” was the “most effective way” of slowing the rate of infection.

The measures included closing hair, beauty and massage studios. Other non-essential shops had already been shut.

Restaurants will now only be allowed to open for takeaway service. All restrictions apply to every German state, and will be in place for at least the next two weeks.

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Shortly afterwards, Chancellor Merkel’s office said she would quarantine herself.

A doctor who vaccinated Angela Merkel on March 20 against pneumococcus, a pneumonia-causing bacteria, had tested positive for coronavirus.

The 65-year-old chancellor will be tested regularly in the next few days and work from home, her spokesman said.

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, has so far confirmed 18,610 cases and 55 deaths from Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Chancellor Merkel urged citizens to keep contact outside their own household to an absolute minimum and to ensure a distance of at least 1.5m (5ft) from another person when in public.

She said: “The great aim is to gain time in the fight against the virus.”