Germany extends distancing rules to end of June

People enjoy the sun on the banks of the River Rhine, amid COVID-19 restrictions, in Cologne, Germany, May 21, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 26 May 2020

Germany extends distancing rules to end of June

  • Up to 10 people will be allowed to gather in public places but Germans should be in contact with as few people as possible
  • Merkel’s government had been embroiled in disagreements with the least-affected states, some of which wanted to open up entirely

BERLIN: Germany has extended social distancing rules aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus epidemic to June 29, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government said on Tuesday.
Up to 10 people will be allowed to gather in public places but Germans should be in contact with as few people as possible, according to the rules agreed between the federal government and 16 states.
Merkel’s government had been embroiled in disagreements with the least-affected states, some of which wanted to ditch the measures and open up entirely.
Germany’s virus caseload now tops 179,000 with just over 8,300 deaths — much lower than European counterparts such as Britain, France, Spain and Italy.
“This success is mainly based on the fact that the rules on distance and hygiene have been implemented and respected,” the government and the regions said.
However, officials warned that further restrictions could be imposed if local outbreaks made them necessary.


More bodies found at Myanmar jade mine disaster

Updated 13 min 33 sec ago

More bodies found at Myanmar jade mine disaster

  • Disaster the worst in memory to strike Myanmar’s notoriously dangerous jade mines
  • ‘The search and rescue missions continued today and we now have 166 bodies’

HPAKANT, Myanmar: Rescuers Friday pulled several bodies from the scene of a landslide which killed over 160 jade miners in northern Myanmar, many of them migrant workers seeking their fortune in treacherous open-cast mines near the China border.
The disaster — the worst in memory to strike Myanmar’s notoriously dangerous jade mines — occurred on Thursday when a hillside collapsed in heavy monsoon rains.
A deluge of mud smothered workers scouring the land for the precious stone — a moment of horror captured on camera phone footage.
A woman cried over the body of her son who lay in the grim line-up of bloodied corpses retrieved from the mud, his clothes ripped off by the force of the landslide.
“The search and rescue missions continued today and we now have 166 bodies,” the Myanmar Fire Services Department said in a Facebook post, raising the overnight toll by four.
The area is close to the Chinese border in Kachin state, where billions of dollars of jade is believed to be scoured each year from bare hillsides by poor migrant workers seeking to strike it rich.
As photos of the dead circulated on social media Facebook users began to identify workers hundreds of miles from home, leaving moving tributes to friends and family members.
“Please bring my father back,” said Hnin Wati. “A daughter’s heart is breaking.”
Another, from a former miner, affectionately remembered one of the dead for his “kind-heart” and generosity with his food during tough shared times on the mountainside.
Myanmar is one of the world’s biggest sources of jadeite and the industry is supercharged by demand for the green gem from neighboring China.
Some jade brokers suspended online auctions on Thursday, and promised to donate money to their friends who were killed.
Scores of miners die every year in landslides and other accidents on unstable, over-excavated mountainsides.
They are often from impoverished ethnic minority communities, looking for scraps left behind by big firms.
Low-quality stones can be exchanged for food or sold for $20 to waiting brokers.
“Many of them (the dead) are Rakhine,” Phon Graing, a Hpakant township official said, referring to the ethnic group who live hundreds of kilometers away at the other end of the country, and who are among Myanmar’s poorest communities.
“But we don’t have specific numbers yet.”