This is the live blog for March 28, 2020.

Head here for the latest news: https://wwww.lengoo.de/blog/05-26-2020-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 residents of Germany. The information published here is translated from German and based on the live blog of Tagesschau.

We are using the combination of custom-trained machine translation models and expert linguists to provide these translations.  

We are live-translating between 09:00 am CET and 17:30 pm CET

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Short Facts

  • Nearly 6300 new cases in Germany
  • Measures in Germany are not up for discussion until April 20th
  • Air Force transports patients from Italy to Germany
  • China ends the isolation of Wuhan and reports over 50 new cases
  • Total number of cases in the US climbs over 103,000

17:32 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).


17:15 FDP: Identify immune people through an app

In the Bundestag, the FDP has proposed using an app to voluntarily identify people who are immune against coronavirus. Smart apps and mobile phone data could help to curb the spread of the virus," the party's vice chairman Frank Sitta said to the newspaper "Handelsblatt." "This will involve starting to register already immune people very soon." He hopes that it will only be a matter of weeks until large quantities of antibody tests are available. "Individuals with verified immunity will then be able to identify themselves via their smartphone, which could also allow greater freedom of movement for these people in sensitive areas," said Sitta.


16:43 Most people are following prohibitions

Beautiful spring weather from the Baltic Sea to the Alps has drawn many people outdoors - but because of the restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus crisis, they largely refrained from extensive excursions. The police only had to intervene in a few cases during patrols, as shown by police reports from the federal states. The patrols focused on green spaces.

In Berlin, the popular square Boxhagener Platz in Friedrichshain had to be closed off. According to a police spokesman, around 150 people had gathered here. Loudspeaker announcements asking them to leave the square did not have the desired effect.


16:33 Twelve dead in Wolfsburg nursing home

Following a coronavirus outbreak in a nursing home in Wolfsburg , twelve people have now died as a result of a CoViD-19 infection. This was reported by the city's crisis unit. 72 residents of the nursing home tested positive for Sars-CoV-2. On Friday, the city reported that eight people between the ages of 76 and 100 had died from coronavirus.  

Lower Saxony's Social Minister Carola Reimann was dismayed by the high number of deaths. She said that this tragedy demonstrates the destructive power the virus can unfold. It clearly shows that seniors in particular must be protected: "In light of the terrible events in Wolfsburg, I want to warn against premature debates on lifting the gatherings ban and spreading false hope that the crisis will pass quickly."


16:06 Protective masks from China arrive in Europe

An airplane carrying around four million protective masks has landed in the Spanish town of Getafe near Madrid. The equipment is to be distributed in Spain, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, as reported by the airline group Airbus. In last few days, the company had already arranged flights between Europe and China to equip numerous European hospitals with masks, a spokesperson said.


15:51 Portugal wants to classify migrants as residents

Portugal wants to give migrants the same status as residents during the crisis. For this to apply, they must be able to show applications for residence permits, such as asylum applications, the authorities reported. The aim is to ensure that migrants are also guaranteed access to the healthcare system, social benefits, bank accounts, and rental contracts. The provisions are to apply from Monday until July 1. Last year, according to government data, of the 135,000 of the 580,000 immigrants living in the country received a residence permit.


15:49 Mexico's President calls for avoidance of contact

After weeks of hesitation, the Mexican government is now also advising  its citizens to avoid social contact because of the coronavirus crisis. "We want everyone to retreat, stay at home with their families, keep distance, and pay attention to hygiene," said President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in a video message published during the night. Non-essential civil servants do not need to come unto work until further notice.

In recent weeks, critics had repeatedly accused the head of state of not taking the pandemic seriously enough. López Obrador continued to travel through the country, shook hands, embraced supporters, and kissed children. Even last weekend he said that those who could afford it should continue to take their family out to eat. Only this week did schools in Mexico close, and events with more than 100 participants have been banned.

So far, 717 people have been infected with the novel coronavirus in Mexico. Twelve patients have died. However, since hardly any testing has taken place, the real figure is likely to be much higher.


15:43 Death toll exceeds 1,000 in the UK

In the UK, the number of deaths caused by coronavirus has risen to 1,019. The number increased by 260 in the 24 hours leading up to 6:00 p.m. CET on Friday. By Saturday morning, 17,089 people had been infected with the virus, the government reported.


15:41 "Treat the rising numbers with caution"

The increase in the number of cases is not yet an indication that the corona pandemic will continue to spread unabatedly, says Markus Grill from the research group of NDR, WDR, and "Süddeutsche Zeitung". After all, the number of tests is also increasing. "This goes hand in hand with the expectation of finding many more cases."


15:13 No protests on the Gaza border on "Land Day"

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip do not plan to hold mass protests on the Israeli border on this year's "Land Day" in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This was reported by the organizers of previous protest marches on Saturday. Instead, on the day of protest on Monday, Palestinians were encouraged to wave Palestinian flags and burn Israeli flags. Traffic will stop for one hour at noon. Sirens will sound. A press conference with a few participants is also planned.


14:58 TÜV deadline extended

In order to relieve drivers during the coronavirus crisis, Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer has said they will receive a temporary extension to renew their TÜV certification. The deadline for late renewal has been extended from two to four months, the CSU politician said to the newspaper "Bild".


14:52 Bundeswehr prepares for further patient transports

The Bundeswehr is preparing its fleet for further transports of Covid-19 patients. Currently, an A310 and an A400M are ready for medical evacuations, said a spokesperson of the German air force. Each aircraft could accommodate up to six intensive care patients. In addition, another A400M and a C-160 Transall would be equipped as flying intensive care stations. In addition, a specially equipped type CH-53 helicopter could also be deployed. In the afternoon, a Bundeswehr MedEvac airbus landed in Cologne with six Italian Covid-19 patients on board.


14:50 Shopping centers and parks close in Moscow

Russia is stepping up its efforts in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. In Moscow, all shopping centers, restaurants, and large parks are to close for at least a week. There have been fewer people than usual on buses, subways, and out on the streets. Nevertheless, many people are being drawn outdoors by the spring weather.

The representative of the World Health Organization in Russia, Melita Vujnovic, complained to the Russian news agency Tass that many people are not maintaining a distance of at least two meters: "I have just travelled through Moscow and the sight is painful."

In the fight against the virus, Russians are being sent on enforced annual leave for seven days from Monday onwards. There are also no international flights or rail services.


14:31 Poland wants to enable postal vote

In order to be able to hold the presidential election on 10 May, Poland intends to allow the elderly and people in quarantine to cast postal votes. The Polish parliament, in which the National Conservative Government Party for Justice and Justice (PiS) has the majority, has decided to amend the electoral law accordingly. As a result, voters who are over 60, are quarantined, or are in voluntary social isolation, may vote by post.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the influential PiS President Jaroslaw Kaczynski had previously declared that they did not see any reason to postpone the election. However, the liberal former head of government Donald Tusk and current president of the European People’s Party (EPP) said in an interview that “only a fool or a criminal” would allow the election to take place in spite of coronavirus. The opposition has also heavily criticized the plan.


14:26 Albania tightens curfews

The Albanian government has tightened curfews, announcing that people now need to apply for permission to go outside for essential activities. Applications can be made online via e-albania.al or via text, Prime Minister Edi Rama informed. Only one person per family is allowed out. The only shops that remain open are grocery stores or those that sell medicines and other basic necessities.

In Albania, people are only allowed to leave their homes from Monday to Saturday between 5:00 am and 1:00 pm. Between Saturday at 1:00 pm and Monday at 5:00 pm, no movement outside or business activities are allowed. Police and military forces are to patrol the streets.


14:19 More than 600,000 confirmed cases

More than 600,000 people worldwide are confirmed to have contracted the novel coronavirus. On Saturday afternoon, the Johns Hopkins University reported 614,884 cases. More than 28,600 people have died as a consequence of the lung disease Covid-19, which can be triggered by the virus. Experts believe the real figure to be much higher. There are barely enough testing kits in any country to test people for the disease comprehensively. Around 105,000 infections have been detected in the U.S. alone, whilst in China there are approx. 82,000.


13:33 More than 13,000 people infected in Switzerland

In Switzerland, the number of coronavirus cases has risen to more than 13,200, according to the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. Yesterday, around 12,160 infections were reported.

In addition, 38 people died as a result of infection during this period. Thus, Switzerland has now recorded 235 deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic.


13:29 Johannesburg: Rubber bullets fired at crowd

In Yeoville, a district in the South African capital, Johannesburg, policemen fired rubber bullets at residents who had been waiting in a densely packed group outside a shop.

There is currently a curfew in place in Johannesburg. Shopping is allowed, but people should be maintaining the required safety distance between one another.


13:21 Pope warns of poverty caused by coronavirus crisis

Pope Francis has expressed concern about an increase in poverty caused by the coronavirus crisis. There are "people going hungry because they cannot work because they don’t have a stable job," he said at a mass in the chapel of his Santa Marta residence in the Vatican. Some families were starting to experience the economic consequences of the pandemic "first-hand".


13:09 Berlin also to receive patients from France

Six severely ill coronavirus patients are to be flown from Strasbourg to Berlin today to be treated at the Charité, a spokesperson for the Senate of Berlin announced.


13:05 "Bild": Already more than 360,000 applications for emergency assistance

The newspaper "Bild" has reported that self-employed people and micro-enterprises have already submitted more than 360,000 applications for emergency assistance from the Federal Government. The findings are based on a survey which the newspaper carried out in the federal states.


12:49 "European House" could lose its foundations

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has warned that the coronavirus pandemic could have dramatic long-term consequences for the EU. In an interview with the newspaper "Il Sore 24 Ore", he said the "entire European structure" could lose its "right to exist" should the EU make mistakes now.

Conte is particularly concerned about the economic losses caused by the crisis and has called for a recovery plan for the EU. Immediate measures were necessary so that the next generations would not have to bear the "immense costs of a destroyed economy".

"If Europe does not face this unprecedented challenge, there is a risk that the entire European house loses its foundation before the eyes of our own citizens," said Conte.


12:36 Australian repatriation operation to go ahead as planned

Repatriation of passengers on the cruise ship "Artania" in Australia is now likely to take place as planned. In the morning, local media reported that a high increase in infections among travellers was threatening to delay flights.

There are about 800 non-Australian passengers on board the "Artania", including Germans. They were to be flown from Perth to Germany in a charter aircraft.

In the morning, it was reported by the media that the number of infected people on the ship had increased since yesterday evening from nine to about 70. However, according to state authorities, it has now been found that only 46 people need to be tested for the virus - 30 passengers and 16 crew members.

Symptom-free passengers can be flown home.


12:28 Imperial College London expects hundreds of thousands of deaths in South Asia and Africa

Imperial College London expects that this year about 800,000 people in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa will be killed by the coronavirus pandemic - and this estimate is based on early action with lots of testing, consistent isolation, social distancing, and good treatment of the infected.

Failure to take such steps against the spread of the virus could increase the number of deaths in those regions to four million, the experts estimate.


12:22 Criminal proceedings could be suspended for months

According to Federal Minister of Justice, Christine Lambrecht, major criminal proceedings could be suspended for long periods of time during the coronavirus crisis. The Bundestag had already agreed to the relevant regulations.

If there are concerns that precautionary measures against the coronavirus are not being observed during the proceedings, a trial can now be suspended for a maximum of three months and ten days.

Previously, main hearings could only be suspended for three weeks or - if they had lasted more than ten days - for a maximum of one month.

Lambrecht had announced solutions in "the shortest space of time" so that trials would not have to stop and then start again.


12:15 Afghanistan introduces curfew

So far, the official number of infections in Afghanistan is still quite small, with about 100 cases - but there are growing concerns that the actual figure could be a lot higher. As such, a three-week curfew is in place from today.


12:07 EU Commissioner: Do not ease measures because of the economy

The European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, has called on EU states not to ease the precautionary measures against the spread of coronavirus because of economic aspects. Health and human life should be "our most important priority" he told the "Süddeutsche Zeitung".

The Slovenian EU politician demanded: "We should not alleviate economic consequences by becoming lax with our protective measures, instead we should introduce economic countermeasures - and economic and financial solidarity between the states."


12:01 First death in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

The state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has recorded its first coronavirus death. The victim was a 57-year-old man from the Ludwigslust-Parchim district, who had been on a skiing holiday in Austria at the beginning of March, the Ministry of Health informed.


12:00 Turkey significantly restricts traffic

According to the country’s railway authority, rail services in Turkey will stop running between cities during the day. Domestic flights will also be reduced. As Bilal Eksi, CEO of Turkish Airlines, tweeted, only airports in large cities will remain in operation from midnight.


11:52 India fears numerous infections from contact with guru

In the north Indian state of Punjab, 15 villages have been placed under strict quarantine. The authorities there fear that many of the inhabitants may have contracted the disease from a guru who preached in the villages. The responsible district administration estimates that there are up to 20,000 people in the villages. There is already a 21-day curfew in place in India. However, much more stringent restrictions now apply to the affected villages. People are not even allowed to leave their homes to go shopping. Authorities are organising the supply of food. A total of 19 inhabitants have already tested positive for coronavirus, and the results of 200 further tests are still pending, the authorities said.


11:46 German tourist dies in Cyprus

A 67-year-old German tourist has died in Cyprus following a coronavirus infection. This was reported by a hospital in the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island, according to Cypriot national television. Two days ago, on the Greek island of Crete, a 42-year-old German mathematics professor died of a lung embolism as a result of an infection.


11:44 Spain brings in military to transport bodies of coronavirus victims

In Spain, the military is being brought in to help transport the bodies of coronavirus victims. Italy had previously introduced similar measures. Members of the armed forces could be brought in to provide support during the ongoing state of emergency, according to the official publication of the Spanish Ministry of Health. These measures would remain in place until April 11. According to the ministry, almost 5,700 people have died nationwide from the coronavirus. Funeral parlors are completely overloaded. Spain is the worst-affected EU country after Italy. Since yesterday, the number of those infected has risen from just under 64,000 to more than 72,200.


11:33 EU calls for transparency

EU High Representative Josep Borrell has called for cooperation during the coronavirus crisis and in the fight against fake news in a phone call with U.S. Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo, according to a spokesman of Borrell’s. Concerns about false information are growing, as such it is all the more important to provide transparent and accurate information.


11:19 Ireland hoping to ease restrictions in two weeks

Ireland’s Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has raised the prospect of easing the protective measures against coronavirus to some degree from April 12, providing the number of infections were on the decline, he said in an interview with the radio station RTE. However, Harris emphasized that the country will not be ready to return to normal for some time.


11:12 Media: Repatriation flight from Australia hangs in the balance

This weekend, hundreds of passengers on the cruise ship "Artania", are scheduled to be flown from Australia to Germany. However, according to the Australian media, this repatriation flight could be delayed. The reason: the number of infections among passengers has risen sharply - from nine to more than 70 cases. Originally, three charter flights were to fly the 800 non-Australian travellers from Perth to Germany. According to reports, the government of the state of Western Australia is now considering not allowing infected persons or passengers showing symptoms to fly. The German Embassy in Perth informed they were in contact with the Federal Government as well as with the governments of the individual states in order to carry out the repatriation operation.


11:00 EU not planning corona bonds

The European Commission is not planning to use its own bonds to absorb billions of debts during the coronavirus crisis. President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, stressed in an interview with the news agency dpa: "There are very clear legal limits, this is not the plan. We are not working on this." The corona bonds are highly controversial within the EU. While Italy, among others, supports the joint debt absorption, Germany is strongly opposed to it.


10:48 Iran reports 140 more deaths

According to the Iranian health authorities, 139 people died within 24 hours from the coronavirus infection. More than 2,500 people have died in the country thus far due to the pandemic. The authorities have recorded more than 35,400 corona cases in total.


10:44 Shrine of Saint Corona restored

Saint Corona - the holy Corona - is actually the patron saint of money, treasure hunters, and butchers. But even in times of epidemics believers have called on her for help. The cathedral in Aachen has had the shrine of the patron saint restored. Work was completed a few days ago.


10:33 Parliamentary Secretary of State pleads for use of mobile phone data

In order to better understand the movements and contacts of people infected with the coronavirus, the Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Stephan Mayer, has spoken out in favour of the use of mobile phone data. However, the CSU politician said on Deutschlandfunk radio that data protection would not have to be put on hold for this purpose. Users could make their data available voluntarily, for example via app.


10:27 "Thank you, thank you with all my heart"

In her video podcast, Chancellor Angela Merkel once again thanked the citizens for adhering to the restrictions imposed: "When I see today how almost everyone has completely changed their behaviour, how the vast majority of you are really avoiding any unnecessary contact, precisely because it may also contain a risk of infection, then I would simply like to say: Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart". At the same time Merkel repeated her appeal to people's patience. No one can say yet "how long this difficult time" will last.


10:22 NRW to also accept patients from France

In addition to severely ill patients from Italy, North Rhine-Westphalia will also be accepting patients from France in the coming days, as announced by the State Chancellery. Four French nationals are currently scheduled to be admitted. In the course of the day, the first six of a total of ten patients from Italy are expected to arrive in North Rhine-Westphalia. They, like the patients from France, will be distributed to six clinics in the state. In addition to North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Bavaria, Saxony, and Brandenburg have also agreed to accept patients from Italy.


10:11 Infections increase sharply nationwide

The Robert Koch Institute has registered 6,294 new corona cases since yesterday. This brings the number of infections nationwide to 48,582. Within 24 hours, 55 more affected persons have died as a result of the infection bringing the total number of fatalities in Germany to 325.


09:48 Russia suspends doping controls

Russia temporarily waives doping tests. The national anti-doping agency Rusada is thus following the government's orders, said Rusada director Yuri Ganus. It is not yet clear when the controls will be resumed. Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered a work-free week as a measure against the coronavirus pandemic. Ganus promised that Rusada would continue to provide comprehensive support in the fight against doping. The World Anti-Doping Agency had banned Russia for four years from major international competitions, Olympic Games, and World Championships as a result of doping violations.


09:41 Germany to participate in a WHO study

According to Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek, Germany will participate in a study from the World Health Organization (WHO) on the coronavirus. The cross-border clinical study will be used to test existing drugs for their effectiveness against the coronavirus. Karliczek further emphasised that the German government is prepared to "provide further funds if there are promising projects. Coronavirus research will not fail for lack of funding. We are doing everything in our power", said the CDU politician.


09:35 Kretschmann thanks religious communities

Baden-Württemberg's Minister President Winfried Kretschmann thanked the religious communities for their "invaluable contribution to our social cohesion" during the coronavirus crisis . He wrote in a letter that they have organised neighbourhood help, taken over shopping, and were available by telephone to support those living alone. The fact that churches, mosques, synagogues, and religious assembly rooms are closed is "an unprecedented event that hurts", continued the Green party member. He said he had great respect for the fact that the religious communities had implemented these measures quickly, given that it was a "deep encroachment on religious freedom".


09:30 Crash course about the the virus

The World Health Organization is offering an online course in 13 different languages with facts and behavioural rules about the coronavirus.


09:07 Data protection officer warns against access to mobile phone data.

In German politics there is a debate about whether mobile phone data should be used to better understand the spread of the coronavirus. The Federal Data Protection Commissioner Ulrich Kelber advises against this.

"Basic rights should not be thrown overboard" because of the coronavirus crisis. In addition, Germany does not have the necessary infrastructure to collect mobile phone data in order to establish precise conclusions about the whereabouts of infected persons.

According to Kelber, the Robert Koch Institute is currently working on an app based on a model from Singapore: There, users can voluntarily indicate if they are infected and share their movement profile. Other users can use Bluetooth to determine if someone who has been infected is approaching.


08:57 Over 100 new cases in Thailand

Thai authorities have registered 109 new infections with coronavirus and one death. That puts the national numbers to 1,245 cases and 6 deaths. The Thai government has declared a state of emergency until 30 April.


08:29 Media reports: 50 new cases in Tokyo

The Japanese news station NHK reports 50 new infections in Tokyo within the last 24 hours, making it the day with the highest increase in cases yet. The Japanese capital has imposed a curfew until 12 April, residents should remain in their homes and only go outside for the most necessary errands.


08:00 Here's what happened last night

Merkel's Chief of Staff Helge Braun stated that the current measures in Germany are not up for discussion until April 20th. China ends the isolation of Wuhan and reports over 50 new cases, all of which have occurred in people returning to the country from abroad. Kabul imposes a 3-week long curfew. The US sees about 18,000 new cases in one day, the countrywide total climbs over 103,000. Germany's Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek does not expect a vaccine to become available to the public before the end of the year and states that research progress is "not a question of money".