This is the live blog for March 21, 2020.
Head here for today's news: https://www.lengoo.de/blog/03-31-2020-live-blog-for-covid-19-updates-in-germany-in-english/
Many non-German native speakers are facing quite a challenge to stay on top of the news concerning the development of the situation of CoViD-19 specifically in Germany. Because of that, we curate a live blog in English for all people living in Germany. The information published on this site is translated from German and is based on the live blog of Tagesschau | We are publishing translations between 09:00 am CET and 18:00 pm CET
18:38 That's it for today. Join us tomorrow for more live updates!
From now on, please head over to Tagesschau to follow the updates (German only).
17:55 Minister Heil plans social aid package
The economic consequences due to coronavirus are not predictable, many people, especially self-employed people, are left with nothing as a result of income losses. Minister Hubertus Heil wants to take countermeasures with a social aid package. According to "Bild am Sonntag", the bill provides, for example, that the access restrictions for Hartz IV be eased. Among other things, the assets examination and the examination of the size of the apartment will be dropped for now. The payments of the "Grundsicherung" would be granted quickly and unbureaucratically so that nobody would fall into a bottomless pit.
The Federal Ministry of Labour expects up to 1.2 million additional recipients of the "Grundsicherung" during the crisis. According to the legislative proposal, "up to 700,000 of the 1.9 million self-employed people and up to 300,000 of the 1.6 million self-employed people with employees could be eligible for an application".
The access to the child supplement - a maximum of 185 euros per month - is also to be greatly simplified. Parents' income will no longer be checked for the past six months, but the income statement of the last month before the application is sufficient. According to calculations by the federal government, this will lead to one-time additional expenditures of 200 million euros. In order to make it easier to bring back pensioners from urgently needed occupations during the Corona crisis, Heil also wants to raise the annual additional income limit from 6,300 to 44,590 euros. This regulation is to be limited until the end of 2020.
17:42 More infected, more deaths in Germany
The Johns Hopkins University and the news agency dpa report, that there are more than 21,600 infections due to coronavirus in Germany so far. North Rhine-Westphalia has particularly high figures, with more than 6,700 cases, as well as Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg with more than 3,600 cases each. 73 people infected with Sars-CoV-2 have died nationwide so far.
17:11 Berlin imposes stricter measures
Gatherings of more than ten people are from now on prohibited in Berlin. Restaurants may only offer pick-up and delivery services.
16:31 How the Federal Government plans to protect tenants
What should tenants do if they can no longer pay their rent or debts after their wages or other sources of income drop out due to the coronavirus pandemic? The government wants to help out quickly. A draft law of the Federal Ministry of Justice specifies that tenants cannot be given notice because of back rent from April to September. However, the general obligation to pay rent should continue to apply.
16:15 Call to observe the curfew
The Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza called on people to help in controlling the coronavirus outbreak. There must be a "great alliance" between citizens and institutions. The behavior of each individual counts. Italy imposed strict curfews almost two weeks ago, but the number of infected people keep rising.
16:08 Corona patients from France heading to Baden-Württemberg?
The State Ministry of Health of Baden-Württemberg has requested clinics in the state to take over care for severely ill corona patients from France. "The French hospitals near the border are reaching the limits of their treatment capacities for patients who are in need of ventilation," is written in a letter from the Ministry to the hospitals, according to source in the AFP news agency. "We therefore ask you to assume care for patients from France in need of ventilation, within the scope of your free capacities." This would concern people who would die without artificial ventilation in the coming days. Coronavirus cases are rising steadily in regions such as Alsace.
15:37 Supermarkets are gearing up
Supermarkets are applying unusual measures as a result of the coronavirus: Distance markers on the ground, "spit protection" at the tills, cash-free payments, as well as disinfectants and gloves for employees. In this way, supermarkets and discount stores are aiming to curb the spread of the coronavirus and at the same time protect their cashiers from infection. Extended opening hours, such as the new regulations in Bavaria to spread out the number of people visiting the shops, however, are hardly a topic, as a survey of supermarkets and nightclubs by Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) revealed. This measure was also introduced to protect employees.
15:27 Ice Hockey World Championship cancelled
The Ice Hockey World Championships, scheduled to be held from May 8-24 in Switzerland, have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the International Ice Hockey Federation.
15:23 150-billion-euro rescue package
Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has confirmed a comprehensive rescue package in the amount of 150 billion euros due to the coronavirus pandemic. The package is to be adopted quickly, the SPD politician said in Potsdam. The Federal Government also wants to put emergency legislation in place, which will enable it to become much more indebted during the coronavirus crisis than was previously allowed.
15:03 Discussion about the Olympic Games
The Brazilian and Norwegian Olympic Committees are calling for a postponement of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. They should be postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Brazilian Committee demanded in a statement, adding that it was currently difficult for athletes to train for the competition. The Norwegian Committee had already written to the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, on Friday. The Games in Tokyo should only take place once the outbreak had been brought under control worldwide, said the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports (NIF). The Olympics are scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9. IOC President Bach is holding on to this schedule. "Cancelling would destroy the Olympic dream of 11,000 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees and the IOC Refugee Team,” he said in an interview with SWR today. “Such a cancellation would be the least fair option.” It would also not be possible to postpone the Olympic Games the same way you would postpone a soccer match to the following Saturday.
14:21 Curfews are largely being complied with
People in Germany are largely complying with extensive curfews in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Stricter regulations have been in place in several federal states since Saturday. Roads were often empty nationwide. On Sunday, Chancellor Angela Merkel and the state premiers will discuss whether there should be uniform requirements nationwide. So far, Bavaria, the Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Hesse have imposed stricter regulations. Read more here:
14:14 Correction to new debt figures
The news agency Reuters had previously reported a new debt of 350 billion Euros due to the coronavirus crisis. This figure has since been corrected. As a result of the virus crisis, the Federal Government is heading for a new net debt of around 156 billion Euros, Reuters now reports, referring to the Federal Government's draft supplementary budget. The sum of approx. 350 billion Euros is incorrect. This figure had also taken into account mere credit authorizations.
13:59 Number of coronavirus deaths rises sharply
In Spain, the number of coronavirus deaths has risen by more than 300 to 1326 within a day. The number of confirmed cases now stands at 24,926, compared with 19,980 on Friday. Portugal has also reported rising numbers: According to the authorities, the number of people who have died from coronavirus doubled overnight to twelve. The number of infections increased from 1059 on Friday to 1280.
13:49 350 billion Euros new debt?
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Government is aiming for additional net debt of around 350 billion Euros. This was reported by the news agency Reuters. Approximately 150 billion Euros are planned for the supplementary budget, about 100 billion Euros for an Economic Stabilisation Fund (WSF) and about 100 billion Euros for a loan from the WSF to the development bank KfW to lend credit aids to companies. The state can acquire direct stakes in companies via the WSF. The Cabinet will decide the various packages on Monday.
1:23 Media reports: Federal Government demands more competences
In the fight against the coronavirus, the Federal Government demands more competences for itself, according to a media report. The Infection Protection Act should be amended to increase the ability to intervene on a national level, reports the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Subsequently, the federal states would be partially disempowered. The newspaper refers to a legal draft of the Federal Ministry of Health. Accordingly, for example, the Federal Government would be able to prohibit cross-border transport of people, find contact persons of infected people using cellphone location data, control the supply of medicines and protective equipment centrally, and be able to force medical staff into service. The draft is to be passed in the Federal Cabinet on Monday and will move on to the Federal Parliament and the Federal Council next week, reports the newspaper. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) said to the FAZ: "We can pool competences like this. And even more importantly, in a future situation like the one at hand, we can reduce democracy, adjust rules, and increase remuneration for doctors, caregivers, pharmacists, and all those who go far beyond the normal level."
1:14 Musicians will play from windows and balconies
Tomorrow evening at 6 p.m. musicians from all over Germany want to unite in the coronavirus crisis and play "Ode to Joy" from balconies and open windows. The call to participate and the sheets are currently spread on social networks. ARD host Michail Paweletz will also join in, he plays the violin.
12:28 John Hopkins University reports 20,142 infections in Germany
According to John Hopkins University in the USA, which counts all globally reported coronavirus infections, there are now 20,142 recorded cases in Germany, 70 of which have have been lethal.
12:02 Some Spaniards get creative during curfews
Catching a breath of fresh air is becoming seemingly difficult in Spain, so some find creative ways to do so. Background: Citizens with a pet are allowed to take it outside for a walk. Although the government's regulation probably addressed mainly dog owners, citizens have been seen talking goats, pigs and even Canary birds for a walk writes the newspaper "La Vanguardia".
11:51 Beverage industry warns against "hoarding" bottles
The beverage industry appeals to its customers not to store massive numbers of bottles in their cellars and rooms, despite coronavirus fears. "There must be a sufficient number of empty bottles to feed back into the recycling system," says Julian Schwarzat from the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (GFGH). "The multi-way system is circular. It depends on people returning empty bottles." The system is facing stress, especially with mineral water, but not yet on the brink of collapse. There is no reason to hoard bottles by the box, says Schwarzat. Several large associations had previously issued a joint statement urging people to bring back empty bottles and crates.
11:42 Tighter curfew in French cities
In the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the first French cities will intensify curfews. Nice wants to impose a total curfew from 11:00 p.m. until early in the morning, starting today. The tourist towns of Vallauris and Menton, which are also located on the Côte d’Azur, have for the first time implemented this measure yesterday.
The curfews in Paris have also been intensified before the start of the weekend. There are more controls. The city also blocked the banks of the Seine and lawns on the Esplanade des Invalides and on the Champ-de-Mars, where the Eiffel Tower stands.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in France, 12,612 people have been infected and 450 have died from the lung disease.
11:33 Case statistics in Germany
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin reported this morning that the number of people infected with the coronavirus in Germany has risen to 16,662 – an increase of 2,705 over the previous day. Johns Hopkins University (JHU), based in the US city of Baltimore, reported 19,848 infections. The RKI, which only takes into account the electronically transmitted figures from the federal states and updates its statistics once a day, has recorded 47 deaths so far, while the US university has already recorded 68 deaths.
11:26 The Bundeswehr (German Federal Army) continues to search for reservists
The Federal Army continues to search for reservists for deployment in health services. Women and men who have not yet had any relationship with the troops can also report for duty.
11:17 Legislative Proposal: No notices for arrears of rent
Lenders should not be given notice for their arrears in rent during the corona crisis. This is stipulated in a draft law of the Federal Ministries of Justice, the Interior, and Economic Affairs, which news agency dpa has seen. The regulation is set to cover rent payments from April 1st to September 30th, 2020. However, the general obligation of tenants to pay their rent remains. Other debtors who cannot fulfil their contractual obligations as a result of the corona pandemic will not be facing any legal consequences either. A legal deferment regulation is to be applied to loans. The draft is set to be passed by the Federal Cabinet on Monday and the Bundestag on Wednesday.This will include the possibility of payment deadline extensions by a year. "If it becomes that the period from April to September 2020 does not suffice, (...) The Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection will be granted (...) the possibility to (...) extend deadlines (...) until July 31st, 2021 at the latest."
11:06 Doctors: Intensive care will soon reach capacity limits
According to doctors, the coronavirus pandemic will bring the intensive care of patients in Germany to the limits of capacity within a few days: "The curve of the number of patients will increase gradually over the next two weeks, and jump up afterwards," says Professor Dr. Gernot Marx, spokesman of the Intensive Care Working Group of the German Society of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine. Large clinics are already faced with a heavy burden, and they would then be pushed to the edge in the next few weeks. The doctors are also concerned about the scarcity of materials and medications. The anaesthetic Propofol, of which there were already supply bottlenecks before the outbreak of the Coronavirus, will no longer be available in the required quantities. Within a few days, the price has already increased by a factor of more than twenty. This is joined by increasing shortages in disposable gloves, masks, and suction kits.
10:52 Still thousands of German tourists in India
The German Embassy in India is urging German tourists who have stayed in the country to register online at www.rueckholprogramm.de. The government has launched a repatriation campaign. According to Ambassador Walter Lindner, tourist visas can be extended online and free of charge. The embassy has information that tourists have been rejected by hotels in India.
The Ambassador has been in talks with Indian authorities to solve the problem, according to information from New Delhi. Thousands of German tourists are expected to still remain in India. India is preparing a country-wide curfew from tomorrow onward. As a result, foreign airlines will no longer receive landing permits for a week.
10:42 Expert in social studies: Small group of ignorant young people
Social studies expert Klaus Hurrelmann sees that the group of ignorant young people during the prevailing Corona crisis is relatively manageable . To be fair, it's just a small group of young people, said the Professor of Public Health and Education at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin to RBB-Inforadio. The huge majority follow the example of their own parents and other adults and observe the rules imposed by the government to curb the pandemic. It's just a small group that either doesn't understand or doesn't want to understand the situation. When asked for the reasons behind this, Hurrelmann said: "Everything comes together here, youthful spite and youthful rejection of norms and the feeling that they are invincible anyway."
10:23 Herrmann: Curfews are widely respected
According to Bavaria's Minister of the Interior Joachim Herrmann (CSU), the curfews that have been in place in Bavaria since midnight are widely respected. “There have been a few groups of young people here and there with smaller parties at a public space. They were then sent home by the police,” he said on Saturday morning to Bayerischer Rundfunk. “By and large, we haven't identified any particular problems last night.” The police will monitor people’s compliance with the measures all day long.
10:20 Newspapers launch window poster action to motivate all to stay at home
With a poster campaign, newspaper publishers in Germany want to appeal to the general public to stay at home during the coronavirus crisis. In the next few days, publishers can address readers with full-page or double-page advertisements, stating "We stay at home. And we thank all those who keep the store running." They can then attach the advertisements to an outside window, as The Association of German Newspaper Publishers (BDZV) announced in Berlin.
10:03 AfD "Flügel" (English: wing) cancels meeting
According to the ARD Studio in Berlin, the far-right "wing" within the AfD has refused to meet today because of the coronavirus pandemic. Yesterday, the Federal Chairman of the Party had demanded that the national-popular group whould declare its intent to dissolve by 30 April during the talks.
09:45 Head of SPD Esken demands pandemic premium for workers
Saskia Esken called for a coronavirus bonus for people who work in grocery retailing, general supply, or care and are thus highly relevant to keeping the system running during the crisis. "I believe a pandemic premium is justified," Esken said to the "RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland". Through this, appreciation would also be reflected in the form of monetary compensation. "In general, this is also about upvaluing these professional groups, without whom we really could not get by," she emphasized. These professional groups included supply, care, social services, but also mobility and security. "This must be reflected in the respective collective agreements."
09:45 Athletics president: Sport wishes quick decision on the Olympics
In the light of the Corona pandemic, German athletics president Jürgen Kessing expects the International Olympic Committee to make a quick decision on the Summer Olympic in Japan: "I would have liked to see the example of football being followed and the Olympic Games in Tokyo to be postponed by one year." He insists that the IOC should quickly clear the air, in spite of economic turmoil and reiterates that sport in general wishes for a clear decision. "It cannot be assumed that the pandemic is over in four months," says Kessing.
09:29 Boeing bosses to waive their salary
The bosses of the US aircraft manufacturer Boeing waive their salaries due to the coronavirus crisis until the end of the year. The company has issued a statement that Chairmen David Calhoun and Larry Kellner have agreed on this.
Furthermore, dividend payments to shareholders as well as all share buybacks will be stopped until further notice. The 62-year-old Calhoun would have received a basic salary of $1.4 million (€1.3 million) this year.
9:29 a.m. High demand for condoms and sex toys
People spend a lot of time at home these days to help prevent a further spread of the virus - and many of them stock up on sex toys and condoms. Ritex, the condom manufacturer, stated that sales of condoms have doubled in comparison to the previous month. "Especially bulk packages have been sold." The Berlin-based manufacturer Einhorn also explained that people buy more condoms. Sex toys have also seen a surge in demand since the outbreak of the pandemic. Online erotic shop Eis.de reports an increase in line with the emergence of the Coronavirus. A spokesperson of the online shop of Orion said the company is seeing growing popularity during the coronavirus crisis.
9:04 Physician: Risk of virus underestimated - also younger patients in intensive care
The intensive care units in Germany are treating more and more young patients infected with coronavirus. This has already been the case in Italy - and it now also happens in Germany, said chief physician Clemens Wendtner from the Clinic for Infectiology at München Klinik Schwabing. "The most recent patients showing CoViD-19 symptoms were in their early twenties. Overall, we see the entire demographic age spectrum represented, both in normal and intensive care." Wendtner had already treated the first patients infected with the Sars-CoV-2 virus in Germany at the end of January. "Young patients can also develop serious cases", warns the doctor. "This should be a wake-up call to pay close attention to the hygiene regulations and the taken measures." The danger caused by the novel virus was initially underestimated by both politics and science.
08:58 Global smartphone sales drop
Global sales figures for smartphones collapsed due to the coronavirus. Market observers from a company called Strategy Analytics report a 38 percent drop in sales of devices. This was the strongest decline in the history of global smartphone sales, said Neil Mawston from Strategy Analytics. As a result, the industry experienced both production delays and lower demand. Supply and demand in China and other Asian countries collapsed and slowed down in the rest of the world.
08:41 Söder hopes for common rules for all federal states
Bayern’s prime minister Markus Söder (CSU) hopes that the federal states will take a joint action in fighting the coronavirus. He said this in an interview with the radio station "Antenne Bayern".“Some other [states] have also made moves yesterday.”
Also on the subject of school shutdowns, there were discussions last Thursday at an assembly of the prime ministers, almost all of them had been against it. After Bavaria then announced to close all schools and daycare facilities a day later, other federal states had followed on this path. “I really regret that we sometimes have to do it like this,” said the CSU chief.
8:20 a.m. Weidmann expects recession due to coronavirus
Jens Weidmann, the President of the German Federal Bank, expects the coronavirus pandemic to cause a recession in Germany. This is most likely inevitable now, he said to the newspaper "Die Welt". First and foremost, we need to stop a further spread of the virus. According to Weidmann, Germany is in a favorable position to deal with the crisis right now, thanks to healthy state finances. He also said that consolidating state finances during good economic conditions was the right thing to do.
08:27 More people shop at weekly markets
Deutsche Marktgilde, an association of marketers selling on weekly markets, has stated that demand on weekly markets in Germany has been increasing. However, no precise figures were published. According to the Deutsche Marktgilde, one reason, among other things, is that weekly markets offer open-air shopping. "I assume people feel a bit safer there," said Ingo Johnson, Assistant to the Board. Additionally, people would also spread out more on a market than in a supermarket.
08:30 Summary of last night
The German Federal Government plans 3 billion Euros emergency aid for German clinics and expects the country's deficit spending to fight Coronavirus to amount to 150 billion Euros. While China reports zero new infections numbers in Germany to increase and climb to 19,848 cases. The US shuts the Mexican and the Canadian border for the next 30 days.