Authorities in Germany have begun to ease lockdown measures brought in to limit the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

Germans are now allowed to visit some public spaces - including playgrounds, churches, museums and zoos - while all shops can now reopen.

The measures also allow for members from two different households to meet.

Strict social distancing measures remain in place, however, as restrictions imposed since March begin to ease.

Chancellor Angela Merkel set out the plans following a meeting with Germany's 16 state governors to discuss the lockdown.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on her way to a press conference on the easing of lockdown. Credit: AP

The country has reported more than 167,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 since the onset of the outbreak - according to figures from Johns Hopkins University - but infections have slowed in recent weeks.

Germany's death rate from the outbreak stands at at least 6,993.

The country has, however, been widely praised for its handling of the pandemic with praise for its early actions such as social-distancing regulations and aggressive testing.

Cars and trucks are driven on a relatively empty highway in Frankfurt, Germany. Credit: AP

The most recent easing of measures follows the reopening of non-essential shops, car showrooms, bike shops and bookshops.

Cultural institutions like the Museum Ludwig in Cologne have now opened their doors after two months of closure.

Staff and visitors at the museum must wear face masks and the ticket office has been separated from the visitors by glass panels.

A visitor attends one of the exhibition rooms in the Chemnitz Art Collections in eastern Germany. Credit: AP

Throughout the museum, distance markings have been placed on the floor to help visitors maintain a safe distance while the number of entrants is limited to 400 at a time.

The Barberini Museum in Potsdam is another site to reopen, with visitors welcomed to enjoy an exhibition of works by French impressionist Claude Monet.

One visitor, Anke Riegel, said: "It's just nice that this normality is starting again. Culture is a part of normal life, at least for us.

"It's good that things are slowly opening".

  • Journalist Alex Forrest Whiting explains the situation in Berlin:

Former ITV News Correspondent Alex Forrest Whiting - who lives in Berlin - outlined how the easing of measures is having an impact already.

"We've seen shops reopening, this week schools are starting to reopen, hairdressers [and] museums".

She added that social distancing measures will remain in place "at least" until June.