Merkel urges virus vigilance; Germany loosens border checks

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel is urging Germans to be “courageous and vigilant” as the country emerges from its shutdown. She called on them Wednesday to avoid a relapse into tougher restrictions even as officials set out plans to relax border controls. Germany started loosening coronavirus restrictions on April 20, about a month after they were introduced. The easing has gathered pace in the past week, with the country’s 16 state governments — which are immediately responsible for imposing and loosening lockdowns — gradually opening restaurants, schools, gyms and other facilities. Physical distancing rules remain. Some regions have been less patient than others. Merkel said she sees “an obligation not to endanger what we have achieved.”