Merkel: Germany to extend social distancing rules until at least May 3

German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds a news conference after discussing with German state premiers on whether to prolong or phase-out the lockdown to combat COVID-19 at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, April 15, 2020, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Munich. Bernd von Jutrczenka/Pool via REUTERS

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday that social distancing rules to contain the spread of the coronavirus would remain in place until at least May 3 but some shops could reopen next week.

Speaking after talks with the governors of Germany’s 16 states, Merkel told reporters that the measures had brought a “fragile intermediate success” in the fight against the pandemic.

Merkel added that the government recommended citizens to wear protective face masks while shopping and on public transport and that schools across the country would be allowed to open gradually, starting from May 4.

Reporting by Paul Carrel; Writing by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Joseph Nasr