Merkel on supporting culture, Portugal to open first beach

Madrid Desk, May 9 (efe-epa).- Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed to continue to help the culture sector in Germany to ensure its survival after the coronavirus pandemic has subsided.

“We will continue to look at which measures will be necessary for culture in the coming months, our objective is that our ample and diverse cultural panorama will continue to exist after we’ve overcome the pandemic,” she said in a video statement.

She said that the culture industry was managed at a federal state level and that each region had launched programs to help artists weather the impact of the lockdown.

Meanwhile, several regional leaders in Italy have asked the government to delegate the de-escalation of the lockdown to local authorities.

The president of the Liguria region, the conservative Giovanni Totti, told the Repubblica newspaper Saturday that the time had come for region authorities to take control of their own futures.

Italy began its first phase of rolling back the lockdown on 4 May after almost three months of confinement and on 18 May shops and museums can reopen while restaurants and bars will have to wait until 1 June.

“I think on 18 May the region should have the prerogative and decide on their own reopening,” the regional leader added.

Authorities in the United Kingdom on Saturday said that 346 people had died from coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 31,587. The UK remains the worst-affected country in Europe and second-worst in the world, after the United States.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Prime Minister Boris Johnson would give some details about the country’s de-escalation of the lockdown on Sunday.

The Times newspaper earlier reported that the government was mulling a measure to place anyone arriving in the UK from abroad into quarantine for 14 days.

The beach on the island of Porto Santo, in the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira, will be the first to open to swimmers and sunbathers from Sunday but the rest of the country will have to wait until June to take a dip in the Atlantic.

The regional president of Madeira Miguel Alburquerque said the restaurants and changing room facilities will remain closed, however.

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