The Latest: German hair salons reopen as virus rules eased
BERLIN — Hairdressers across Germany are reopening for business after a 2 ½ month closure, another cautious step as the country balances a desire to loosen restrictions with concern about the impact of more contagious coronavirus variants.
Monday’s move came after many elementary students returned to school a week ago. It follows a decision Feb. 10 by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany’s 16 state governors. They will meet on Wednesday to decide how to proceed with the rest of Germany’s coronavirus restrictions, which at present run until March 7.
Some states also are allowing businesses such as flower shops and hardware stores to open. Most shops have been closed nationwide since Dec. 16. Restaurants, bars, sports and leisure facilities have been closed since Nov. 2 and hotels allowed only to accommodate business travelers.
Germany is expected to remain cautious because a decline in infection figures has stalled, and even been reversed in some areas, as a more contagious variant first discovered in Britain spreads.
On Monday, Germany’s disease control center reported 4,732 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, compared with 4,369 a week earlier. Another 60 deaths were reported, bringing the total to 70,105.
THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Calls grow for pharmaceutical companies to share vaccine know-how and technology more broadly to meet global shortfall
— India is expanding its vaccination drive to older people and those with medical conditions that put them at risk
— Optimism abounds as Major League Baseball begins a rite of spring that includes fans
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