Britain’s Johnson Faces Virus Critics, But Israel’s Netanyahu Comes Out On Top: Live Coverage

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It was a grim day for the E.U., whose economy is expected to shrink 7.4 percent, and Vladimir Putin, whose approval ratings have plummeted. But Shanghai Disneyland is coming back.

RIGHT NOWDespite corruption charges against him, Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu will be allowed to form a new unity government forged amid the coronavirus crisis, a court rules.

Here’s what you need to know:

Germany, which showed the world how to mitigate a pandemic, has a hopeful message: We’re making progress.

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Face masks and, maybe, shorter lines as Shanghai Disneyland reopens.

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Germany, which showed the world how to mitigate a pandemic, has a hopeful message: We’re making progress.

Germany was a leader in the West in taking on the pandemic, and then a leader in the gradual, calibrated restarting of public life. Chancellor Angela Merkel had a hopeful message for the nation on Wednesday: It’s working.

Ms. Merkel announced the second major phase of lifting Germany’s lockdown, a milestone she said was made possible by the success the country has had in lifting some restrictions without allowing a resurgence of the virus. In that time, new infections have actually declined.

“We have reached the goal of slowing the spread of the virus,” the chancellor said after meeting with the heads of Germany’s 16 state governments.

“I think that we can say today that we have the very first phase of the pandemic behind us,” she added.

In the next few days, she said, schools, day care centers, stores and restaurants will be allowed to reopen, and hotels will follow by the end of the month.

That is welcome economic news not just for Germans but for Europe, which is looking to Germany, its largest economy, to show the way out of the paralysis the pandemic has caused.

But as she has before, Ms. Merkel warned that any backsliding in controlling the virus will lead to reimposing controls. If any state has a spike in cases, Berlin could impose regional restrictions.

Germany did much more testing early in the outbreak than any other big Western country, and it has done more contact tracing. That allowed it to get infected but asymptomatic people into isolation earlier, and sick people into treatment earlier.

Those are among the reasons the country has had a high number of confirmed infections, but relatively few deaths, about 7,000. Two weeks ago, it became the first major Western country to start lifting its lockdown.

But even as Germany reopens, things will remain far from normal. Students will attend school in staggered shifts. Social distancing in public will remain mandatory, as will mask-wearing in some places.

“We must be aware that we are still at the start of the pandemic and will continue to have to deal with the virus for a long time,” Ms. Merkel said.