This is the live blog for March 27, 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/
Non-German native speakers have a hard time 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 based on the live blog of Tagesschau
We are live-translating between 09:00 am CET and 17:30 pm CET
- British Prime Minister Johnson tests positive for CoViD-19
- North-Rhine Westphalia postpones high school examinations by three weeks
- According to RKI now 42,288 infected and 253 deaths
- Repatriation of travellers will take an additional two weeks
- Court rules: No forced evictions during coronavirus crisis
- France extends curfew
17:43 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).
17:27 The number of deaths in New York rises to 519
The number of people who have died as a result of coronavirus has risen from 385 to 519 in one day in New York. "The number of people infected has climbed from 37,258 to 44,635 now," said Andrew Cuomo. the Governor of New York City. The school closure will be extended by two weeks until April 15. Cuomo expects demand for hospital capacity to peak in three weeks. The state plans to build up to eight interim hospitals to deal with the increase. New York is most affected by the epidemic in the United States. The United States now has the largest number of infections worldwide.
17:14 France extends curfew until 15 April
In France, the strict curfew has been extended by a good two weeks. French people should remain at home at least until 15 April, announced French Prime minister Édouard Philippe. "This period can be extended if the health situation requires it," said Philippe. Strict rules have been in force in France for a week and a half, and people are only allowed to leave the house when it is necessary. In addition, an hour of sport or walking the dog is allowed every day within the a one kilometer radius of the house. The restrictions were originally to apply for 15 days until the end of March – it has, however, already been clear that the measures will be extended.
17:09 Argentina closes borders for its own citizens as well
Argentina is closing its borders completely. Up to next Wednesday even Argentinian citizens are no longer allowed to enter their own country, as the government announced in Buenos Aires. Argentina had already closed its borders for foreigners almost two weeks ago. According to a report by the newspaper "La Nación", about 12,000 Argentinians have been brought back from abroad since then. Another 10,000 ought to be stranded abroad.
17:03 ESA: Less air pollution in Europe
Air pollution in major European cities has decreased since the introduction of the initial curfews according to data from the European Space Agency (ESA). Satellite data had shown a sharp decline in nitrogen dioxide concentrations, particularly in Milan, Paris and Madrid, said ESA. In Italy, Spain and France, strict curfews are in force in the fight against the spread of Sars-CoV-2. People there are only to leave the house for good reasons.
16:50 Many reservists want to help
According to the words of Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the Federal Army has many reservists who can help to deal with the coronavirus crisis. There is a great willingness to help among the reservists, she said to the ZDF. This means that there are enough people willing to help in the crisis, even if the crisis lasts longer. 28,000 reservists have already been ordered to certain places. In addition, there are a lot of reservists freely available. Almost 10,000 of them have already enlisted. 240 highly qualified reservists have already been deployed, for example as paramedical personnel in federal military hospitals.
16:44 Cherry blossom festivals cancelled: Tokyo closes popular parks
In Japan, the cherry blossoms are blooming into their full splendour, but you can only see them from a distance in Tokyo. On Friday evening, the well-known Ueno Park closed its gates; usually a popular place to look at the cherry blossoms. "No parties" and "Danger, no entry" were written on signs.
The cherry blossoms will certainly bloom next year," said the Governor of the Tokyo prefecture, Yuriko Koike. "Our priority is now to overcome this difficult time" she explained in reference to the coronavirus crisis. She called again upon the 13 million inhabitants of the capital to stay at home this weekend. The metropolis is on the verge of an explosion in infection numbers. If the outbreak does not slow down, it is possible there will be a tougher curfew.
16:44 The number of deaths in the United Kingdom is rising sharply
The number of deaths due to coronavirus in the UK increased by just under a third from 578 to 759. According to authorities, the number of people tested positively for the virus was 14,579 on Thursday night.
16:20 Curfew in South Africa leads to run on dog homes
A far-reaching three-week curfew in the fight against coronavirus has led to a run on dog homes in South Africa. As walking the dog as well as jogging is prohibited, many South Africans were looking there for a home for their four-legged friends. Dog home operator Megan Wylie told TV station News 24 that she had hardly had 48 hours time to find emergency homes for 117 dogs. “We were almost flooded out with emails,” she said. The curfew began on Friday.
16:17 Brandenburg wants to double coronavirus bailout
Brandenburg intends to increase the country’s planned coronavirus bailout to two billion euros. This has been agreed upon by the state government and the three coalition party groups of the SPD, the CDU and the Greens, the state Chancellery said. The bailout is to be adopted at the Landtag (State Parliament) meeting on 1 April. SPD group leader Erik Stohn said the funds are needed to support hospitals and doctors, to reimburse day care contributions to parents, to safeguard employees and businesses.
16:13 Lower Saxony is also to shift Abitur tests
Lower Saxony, following NRW, has also postponed the start of school-leaving examinations to May. The written examinations are scheduled to begin on 11 May, the oral examinations on 3 June. Lower Saxony’s Minister of Culture Grant Hendrik Tonne (SPD) said that the new timetable gives students and schools the necessary time for preparation. He stressed, however, that the decision for Lower Saxony will take place “at the present time” subject to further developments in the coronavirus crisis. The school-leaving examinations and also the re-arranged examinations for other school graduations would only be held if the protection against infection was ensured. If this was not possible in the time window selected, the examinations would be expected to be cancelled completely.
16:10 Steinmeier signs Law Package for Coronaviurs Aid
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has signed a law package for billions of aid for businesses and citizens in the coronavirus crisis. A spokesman for the Federal Office of the President told us that the laws are now to be published in the Federal Law Gazette. The first funds are to be received by the people affected before 1 April.
Only a few hours before, the Federal Council had unanimously agreed on the aid package with measures to save jobs and businesses, to support hospitals and to secure livelihoods and housing for citizens.
15:59 Thuringia sends medical team to Italy
While other federal states, such as Saxony, are taking coronavirus patients from Italy, Thuringia is sending medical staff to the country. A team of doctors and carers from the Jena University Clinic will travel to Lombardy in the next few days, the Ministry of Health in Erfurt told us. Four ventilators will also be taken to Italy by the experts from the University Clinic. According to the clinic, the carers are Italian employees who came to Jena four years ago. They are now returning to their home country with the medical team volunteers to help in the coronavirus crisis.
15:33 ARD extra after the Tagesschau
There is an ARD special broadcast tonight about the coronavirus situation in Germany - right after the Tagesschau at 20:15.
15:15 Italy extends school closures
Schools in Italy will stay closed longer. They will also have to stay closed beyond the originally planned date of 3 April, stated Minister of Education Lucia Azzolina to the Italian broadcaster RAI. "Our goal is that students only return to school when we are absolutely sure that it is safe. Health has priority." Schools and universities in Italy have been closed nationwide since 5 March.
14:56 More than 64,000 infected by coronavirus and 4,900 dead in Spain
The number of people infected and also the number of deaths continues to increase sharply in Spain which is particularly severely affected by the coronavirus crisis. Nearly 8,000 new cases of infection have been registered in the past 24 hours, which means that the total number has risen to about 64,000 according to the Ministry of Health in its daily report. The number of deaths has risen to almost 4,900 after about 4,300 on Thursday. Spain continues to be the country in Europe most affected by the Sars-CoV-2 virus after Italy.
14:35 Companies no longer pay shop rentals
From April onwards, the sports goods manufacturer Adidas, the shoe chain Deichmann and many other companies will no longer pay rent for their shops which are closed due to the coronavirus crisis. At least in Germany, the companies do not have to fear any consequences for the time being: an emergency law regulates that the tenants cannot be evicted for rent arrears due to the coronavirus crisis.
14:29 How threatened is the Queen?
"Queen Elizabeth II last met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was already infected with the coronavirus, more than two weeks ago,” stated Buckingham Palace. The 93-year-old continues to be in good health. A statement was issued: "The Queen last saw the Prime Minister on March 11 and has followed the appropriate advice regarding her well-being,".
Elizabeth II and Prince Philip (98) had already moved to Windsor Castle in advance for Easter last week. The Queen and her husband are considered to be particularly vulnerable to the Covid-19 lung disease caused by the coronavirus due to their high age. It was already known on Wednesday that Prince Charles, the successor to the throne, had also been infected with the Sars-CoV-2 pathogen. However, his symptoms are also be mild, but at 71, Prince Charles already belongs to an increased risk group.
14:26 British Health Minister infected with coronavirus
The British Minister of Health Matt Hancock has also been positively tested positive for coronavirus, following the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Hancock has shared this on Twitter. He only has mild symptoms as well. Both have started self-isolation and announced they are working from home office.
13:58 No Easter marches for the first time in decades
The coronavirus is also hampering the traditional peace movement Easter marches this year. The measures taken to curb the pandemic "make carrying out events or demonstrations impossible," the organizers said. Many grass-root initiatives are calling for hanging out for example: peace signs, banners, flags, and symbols from windows over Easter instead or putting them on cars, bicycles, and jackets.
13:49 Hardly any new asylum seekers
There are significantly less asylum seekers currently coming to Germany than before the start of the corona pandemic due to border controls and curfews in many European countries. The measures have led to "a drastic reduction in cross-border transport", said the Federal Ministry of the Interior. There was also "a great decline in the number of documented illegal entries". The figures are currently "very, very low".
13:30 Söder accuses EU Commission of not taking action
Bavaria's State Premier Markus Söder has accused EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen of being too hesitant in the coronavirus crisis. “Really, this crisis should mean that the time has come for Europe and the EU Commission. But it is strangely quiet in Brussels,” the CSU politician said to “Der Spiegel”. Aid transport to Italy and Spain should be organized by Europe. “The Commission should have done this.” Border transport in the internal market should still be possible too. “We now have to solve everything bilaterally. We would have real problems without the German Chancellor,” said Söder.
13:07 Travel industry calls for suspension of refunds
The German travel and air transport industry is calling for a temporary suspension of paying refunds for cancelled package trips and flights. The companies are facing considerable fixed costs with practically no revenue. This is according to a joint letter to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen from the German Travel Association (DRV), the Federal Association of the German Aviation Industry and the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry. "If companies in this precarious situation are forced to refund the travel fees to their customers within 14 days, many will be brought to their knees," said DRV President Norbert Fiebig.
13:00 Würzburg Retirement Home is not evacuated
The Würzburg Retirement Home St. Nikolaus, where eleven inhabitants have died so far from coronavirus is not going to be evacuated. This was announced by the Mayor Christian Schuchardt and the Head of the Würzburg Health Department, Johann Löw. Isolating the positively tested people in units within the institution is the most medically sensible solution. There are currently 161 people living there, most of them are very old and dementia patients.
12:56 Kinderhilfswerk Children's Aide Organization warns against excessive media consumption
The German Children's Aide Organization Kinderhilfswerk has warned parents not to lose sight of their children's media consumption during the corona crisis. Many parents are currently overburdened by schools and kindergartens closing, while additionally worrying about their work, said President Thomas Krüger to the "Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung". Many children and young people are currently using digital devices and the Internet much more and for longer than usually. The educational and gaming offers cannot replace "educational accompaniment" by parents.
12:51 Initial admission facility with 848 residents under quarantine
After a case of coronavirus has been confirmed, the central intake facility for asylum seekers of the State of Saxony-Anhalt in Halberstadt is now under quarantine. 848 inhabitants are affected. The measure has initially been instated for two weeks.
12:45 64,000 cases in Spain
In Spain, the number of infected persons, as well as the death toll, continues to spike. Over the last 24 hours, nearly 8,000 new cases have been registered – putting the total at 64,000, reports the Spanish Ministry of Health. The death toll has risen by almost 600 to just short of 4,900. After Italy, Spain is currently experiencing the worst effects of the outbreak in Europe.
12:42 Corona case in the Kremlin
The first employee at the Kremlin has been infected with the coronavirus. Spokesman Dmitri Peskow confirmed that there is one case. However, the employee has not been in contact with President Vladimir Putin.
12:38 Reduced hours at Lufthansa
Lufthansa has applied for reduced hours for thousands of employees in Germany. The measure is planned for around 31,000 employees in the cabins and cockpits and on the ground, according to a spokesperson. Reduced hours are initially in place until August 31st. Lufthansa has announced that around 700 of the group’s approximately 760 aircraft will be grounded and will only fly again once demand increases.
12:35 Mayor has banks dismantled
The mayor of a northern French community has had all banks dismantled. "I could see them every day out of the window of my town hall office," said Sébastien Leprêtre, mayor of La Madeleine, to daily newspaper "Le Parisien" about the people sitting on the benches. "In bright sunshine, inhabitants gathered to chew the fat, and not just for ten minutes, but for a good part of the afternoon. This is unacceptable." The city administration has decided to dismantle around 40 benches on squares, streets, and lawns.
12:25 British Prime Minister Johnson tests positive
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the corona virus. “Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for corona virus," says Johnson. "I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government's response via video-conference as we fight this virus."
12:10 Third test scheduled for Chancellor Merkel
Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to be tested for the corona virus for the third time on Monday. If this test – like the two previous tests – turns out negative as well, she will end her self-isolation from Wednesday, according to a government spokeswoman.
12:03 Picking up bread rolls through the car window
The crisis boosts creativity: To avoid close contact, a baker in the Weil am Rhein region of Baden-Württemberg switches to drive-in selling instead of serving the customers in person.
11:53 Media report: Another corona case in the Vatican
A priest of the Vatican Secretariat of State is said to have been infected with the corona virus. This raises the number of cases in the Vatican to six, as reported by the Italian newspaper "Il Messaggero". The Vatican itself does not provide information about possible infections or the Pope's current state of health.
Around 600 people live in the Vatican State, but the number of employees is many times higher.
11:46 No forced evictions due to corona crisis
The looming forced eviction of a Berlin tenant has been postponed thanks to a ruling of the Berlin District Court. At the end of last year, a ruling in first instance already forced the tenant to clear his apartment by the end of March.
In the appeal, the judges have now decided to suspend the forced eviction until at least the end of June. Due to the corona crisis, it would be virtually impossible to find a new apartment on the overheated housing market at the moment, justified the judges their ruling.
11:33 Federal Council approves multi-billion-euro aide package
The Federal Council has agreed the package of measures suggested by the government to handle the coronavirus crisis. The Federal Government can now take out new debts of EUR 156 billion to support health care, businesses, and workers. The Bundestag had agreed on the measures on Wednesday and they should now be implemented in a timely manner.
The supplementary budget submitted by the Federal Government is based on calculated crisis-related tax losses of EUR 33.5 billion as well as additional expenditures of EUR 122.5 billion. The government no longer pursues the famous “black zero” balanced budget. The balanced-budget amendment in German basic law is to be suspended. The Federal Council convened with a small group of state representatives. Contributions are limited to records in the minutes. Besides Federal Council President Dietmar Woidke from Brandenburg, most Prime Ministers of state did not attend in person.
11:22 1,500 protective masks stolen from clinic
Unknown perpetrators have stolen around 1,500 protective masks from a hospital in Hamburg. The police has stated that only authorized persons had access to the mask depot – this should narrow down the field of suspects. The masks were stolen from the clinic in the Eilbek district in the period between March 20th to 25th.
11:15 Federal Army deploys 15,000 soldiers
The Federal Army will deploy 15,000 soldiers to support federal states and municipalities. The personnel is currently not involved in other projects such as ongoing foreign operations and are now "in a reduced state of readiness," said Lieutenant General Martin Schelleis, who coordinates and leads the military support operation. So far, 200 requests for official assistance have been received, an increase of 15 percent over the previous day, said Schelleis. At the same time, he nipped hopes for massive medical support in the bud. At the moment, many requests are addressed to the troops as a reflex, even with sufficient capacities still available from the civilian area, said Schelleis.
11:07 Refugee Council demands protection for refugees
The Refugee Council of Lower Saxony has called on the state and the municipalities to take measures to also help protect refugees and homeless people against the corona pandemic. An example includes urgently reducing the population density in initial reception facilities and joint accommodations. Only one person should be accommodated per room, or a maximum of two persons for families. This would require renting apartments, hotel rooms, and guesthouses across the state, specified the Refugee Council. These rooms would be empty at the moment either way, because of the corona crisis. Furthermore, Christian churches should make empty apartments available.
10:59 Macron announces international initiative
President Emmanuel Macron of France has announced a new initiative with the US and other countries. He had a very good discussion with US President Donald Trump, Macron wrote on Twitter. “As we face the covid-19 crisis, we are preparing a new important initiative together with other countries over the next few days.” The G20 Heads of State and Government had decided on a joint approach to the crisis on Thursday.
10:44 FC Barcelona cuts salaries of star players
After negotiations on salary waivers with its star players have failed, FC Barcelona has decided to still cut the working hours of its team and many employees, and with that their salaries. The Spanish soccer champion justified changing the contracts with the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. According to Spanish law, companies can take such measures in the event of force majeure. Previously, the club had been unable to reach an agreement on a voluntary reduction of salaries with the squad of pros surrounding superstar Lionel Messi. The Spanish League has also temporarily suspended all matches.
10:35 Stricter measures in Russia and Hungary
Russia and Hungary are ramping up their efforts. In Russia, all cafes and restaurants are to be closed for over a week starting Saturday. Regional authorities have also been instructed to recommend citizens restrict traveling. In Hungary, the first curfews will be in place from Saturday. People will only be allowed to leave their homes for work, to buy groceries and pharmaceuticals, for sports activities, and some other essential activities.
10:26 Eiffel Tower to light up and express thanks with "Merci"
As an act of solidarity with those who help fight the corona virus, the Eiffel Tower will have a special display of lights every evening from now on. At 8 p.m. each night, the word "Merci" will be projected onto the landmark, according to a statement of the City of Paris. From 8.30 p.m. to 11 p.m., the Tower will remind Parisians to stay at home, with the words "Restez chez vous" and "Stay at Home" alternating. Recently, the Eiffel Tower sparkled for longer than usual to express gratitude to the hospital staff.
10:16 Comprehensive, nation-wide testing hardly possible
Nation-wide corona testing in a similar way as took place in South Korea is not possible, according to the Doctor's Association. "We do not have the laboratory capacity and staff to do so ," said Ute Teichert, Chairwoman of the Federal Association of Physicians in Public Health Service to news portal "t-online". Staff has been cut to save money over the years – the number of public service doctors by around a third over the past 18 years.
10:08 North-Rhine Westphalia postpones high school examinations
The high school examinations in North Rhine-Westphalia will be postponed. The main examinations are now scheduled to begin on May 12th, said State Minister of Education Yvonne Gebauer.
09:55 Blutritt in Weingarten cancelled
Europe’s largest equestrian procession, the “Blutritt” in Weingarten, has been cancelled. A procession with thousands of riders and tens of thousands of spectators is not feasible, the head of the Allgäu-Oberschwaben deanery, Ekkehard Schmid, told the “Schwäbische Zeitung”. The “Blutritt” was scheduled for May 22 and is being cancelled for the first time since the end of World War II. However, the various services and the blessing with the Holy Blood relic will still take place, albeit not publicly. They may instead be shown online.
9:48 Still no trend change in Italy
Northern Italy is not yet over the worst, according to an expert. The peak of the outbreak is still to come, the Medical Director of Bergamo’s health authority, Carlo Alberto Tersalvi, told the German radio. The situation in the province’s six hospitals is still "very critical". The clinics are full of intensive care patients and "at capacity". Primary care was providing some degree of relief.
9:39 U.S. actor Mark Blum has died of coronavirus
The U.S. actor Mark Blum has died from coronavirus at the age of 69. His infection led to complications to which the actor eventually succumbed, according to the actor’s union Screen Actors Guild. Blum was known for films like "Crocodile Dundee" and "Desperately Seeking Susan".
09:33 Dax slips below 10,000 points
Following its recent recovery from the coronavirus crash, the German stock market index has slipped back below the 10,000-point mark. After the start of trading, the leading DAX index fell by 1.87 percent to 9,813 points.
9:24 Europol: Increase in coronavirus-related crimes
Europol is seeing a rapid increase in crime during the coronavirus crisis. Criminal and organized gangs have adapted their methods very quickly, the European police authority warns. The sale of counterfeit protective products and medicines has increased considerably. Counterfeits include antiviral drugs, the anti-malarial chloroquine, as well as vitamins. Europol also warned against cyber criminals. Many people are now working from home and are accessing company networks via less secure home computers.
9:13 Volkswagen does not want state subsidies
Volkswagen intends to manage without state subsidies. "I’m ruling that out as things currently stand," financial director Frank Witter told the "Börsen-Zeitung". The group has "a strong cash flow and an orderly net liquidity." However, short-time allowances will be used by VW. Due to supply bottlenecks and a loss of sales, the Wolfsburg company wants to request this for around 80,000 employees.
09:01 U.S. and China want to work together
U.S. President Donald Trump has spoken with Chinese President Xi Jinping over the phone and emphasized the good collaboration in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. “China has already made much progress and has developed a great understanding of the virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!” Trump tweeted.
Xi explained that bilateral relations were at a “critical point”. Collaboration was beneficial to both sides and “the only right choice,” he told the state broadcaster CCTV. China would “continue to share all information and expertise with the U.S.”
08:53 50 percent less turnover in trades
Revenue generated by skilled trades in Germany has fallen by about 50 percent. In a survey of 4,900 companies by the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH) this week, 77 percent of the companies reported a decline in revenue, 55 percent reported cancelled contracts, and 36 percent reported a lack of staff, because, for example, employees could not appear for work due to being in quarantine or lack of childcare.
08:50 German Ethics Council: No preferential treatment for those with higher chances of survival
The German Ethics Council has made recommendations on how to proceed if there is a lack of intensive care beds. "If there are too few ventilators, only medical criteria must be counted," said President Peter Dabrock. "No one can expect the state to approve measures that mean patients with an unfavorable prognosis stop receiving ventilation." Situations where care is discontinued to save another patient with higher chances of survival are particularly problematic. Furthermore, it must be ensured that decisions are made regardless of social status, origin, age, or disability.
08:20 Here's what happened last night
The US now has the most CoViD-19 cases globally, reporting more than 85,000 infections and over 1,000 deaths. The repatriation of Germans stuck abroad continues, with some 50,000 still to return to Germany. China reports 55 new infections, one of which cannot be traced back to immigration from another country.