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

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

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Short Facts

  • Federal and State governments looking to extend gatherings ban until after Easter
  • Potsdam hospital stops admitting patients
  • RKI: Total of 67,366 cases and 732 deaths in Germany
  • 500 deaths on one day in the UK
  • Wimbledon canceled
  • More than 100,000 infected in Spain

17:35 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).

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17:26 Merkel: "Pandemics don't have holidays"

People in Germany should not travel or visit each other during Easter, due to the corona pandemic. Chancellor Merkel and the Prime-Ministers have extended the initial restrictions until April 19th.

17:22 Edinburgh cancels Fringe Festival

The legendary Fringe Festival in Edinburgh has been canceled for the first time in over 70 years. This is due to the corona pandemic, according to the organizers in the Scottish capital. Four other major cultural events originally planned for August have also been canceled: the International Festival, the Art Festival, the International Book Festival, and The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Fringe is considered the largest cultural festival in the world with theatre, comedy, dance, and musicals. All five festivals together hosted thousands of events in the summer, with over 25,000 authors, actors, and other artists from 70 countries. The events attract more than four million visitors from all over the world each year. Fringe is the name for an alternative form of theatre. It originated when free theatre groups organized their own performances on the "fringe" of the official Edinburgh Festival.

17:16 Champions League and Europa League suspended

The European Soccer Association (UEFA) has suspended the Champions League and Europa League games for now. All internationals will also be postponed, says the association in a tweet. There are no new dates for the next matches in the Champions and Europa Leagues.

According to a report by ZDF, the international competitions will not be resumed until July with the competitions ending in August. This would free up the necessary space in the schedule for the Bundesliga to finish its games by June 30th as is currently hoped.

17:11 Wimbledon canceled

Wimbledon has been canceled for the first time since World War II. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the tennis tournament originally scheduled for June 29th to July 12th will not be held, said the organizers. They also announced that the next edition will take place between June 28th and July 11th, 2021.

17:09 Tschentscher asks for "patience and caution"

Hamburg’s Head of Government Peter Tschentscher stressed the need for a nationwide and uniform approach to fight the corona crisis. The virus “does not respect state boundaries,” said the SPD politician during the press conference. Tschentscher emphasized that any successes that can be made in the fight against the pandemic should not be jeopardized by over-eager easings of agreed restrictions. “Patience and caution are imperative." The press conference is now over.

17:03 Söder: No "premature exit debates"

The Prime-Minister of Bavaria Markus Söder has stressed during the audio press conference that there should not be any “premature exit debates”, which would only jeopardize the strategy of slowing down the spread of the virus. The imposed restrictions will remain in force until April 19th. And it is cannot be expected that life will completely return to normal on April 20th. There is a slightly positive trend, “but there is absolutely no reason to let our guard down”.

17:00 Merkel: No statement on when the rules will be eased

Chancellor Merkel has said, during the press conference that is still ongoing, that a relaxation of the regulations cannot yet be predicted: "From a pandemic point of view, it is still impossible to make any statements". She expects that people will understand the necessity of the measures. It is crucial to prevent an overburden on the health system.

16:52 More than 60 corona cases: Potsdam hospital stops admitting patients

The largest hospital in Potsdam will not admit any new patients as a result of an increase in the number of people infected with corona. This was announced by Mayor Mike Schubert. On Friday, the Robert Koch Institute will reassess the situation together with the city. It is not yet clear for how long the measures at the Ernst von Bergmann Clinic apply. Only emergencies such as acute heart attacks and childbirth will still be handled in the hospital.

16:47 Intensive debate on care homes

Merkel reports that she has had intensive discussions with the heads of the state governments about the situation in nursing homes and facilities for the disabled. Their residents deserve special protection.

16:45 p.m. Chancellor: "Follow the rules!"

Merkel: "Stay strong and follow the rules!"

16:39 Technical problems during audio press conference

With Chancellor Merkel still self-quarantined, an audio press conference is being held, and there have been technical problems for a few minutes. Merkel is now reading her statement again from the start.

16:31 Merkel: "Too early to think about easing restrictions"

Ms. Merkel said that, in line with the Robert Koch Institute’s evaluation of the restrictions, a further evaluation will be made on April 14th. It would still be too early to think about easing the restrictions.

16:22 Audio press conference starts: "Ban on gatherings until April 19th"

Chancellor Merkel has announced that the gatherings bans which apply throughout Germany will be continued up to and including April 19th. "I would like to thank all citizens. The majority of people observe the restrictions - and this helps protect people and save lives."

16:16 Merkel and the Heads of the State Governments to share information on gatherings bans soon

Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bavaria's Prime-Minister Markus Söder, and Hamburg's First Mayor Peter Tschentscher will shortly inform the public on the results of the video conference of the Federal and State Governments.

16:10 US Coast Guard: Sick people must stay on board cruise ships

The US Coast Guard has intervened in the dispute over cruise ships stranded off Florida with covid-19 patients on board. The state has instructed all cruise ships to stay at sea, where they can be quarantined indefinitely during the coronavirus pandemic. Shipping companies should bring seriously ill passengers to the countries where the ships are registered. Most of the cruise ships off South Florida are registered in the Bahamas, and the islands have not yet recovered from last year's hurricanes.

Representatives of several US levels of government are negotiating whether two ships of the Carnival subsidiary Holland America are allowed to dock in Port Everglades. The "Zaandam" had been refused entry into several ports over the last weeks. She is now joined by her sister ship "Rotterdam", which has allowed almost 1,400 passengers without symptoms of the "Zaandam" to board. 450 passengers and 602 crew members have remained on board of the "Zaandam", including 190 sick persons. Holland America Line reports that nine people have tested positive for the coronavirus, Four people have died on board, with at least two deaths attributed to the lung disease covid-19.

15:48 Ban on gatherings extended – new decision after Easter

Citizens are requested to "generally refrain from private travel and visits, including to and by relatives". This also applies to trips across the country, according to a paper available to news agency dpa, which the Chancellor and State Prime-Ministers are discussing today.

According to this information, the corresponding regulations will initially apply until April 19th. In almost all Federal States, the Easter holidays of students will end on that day.

According to information provided by the dpa, Ms. Merkel has warned, together with the Bavarian Premier Markus Söder (CSU), on behalf of the Federal Government and the heads of the state governments, that any discussions about easing the bans before Easter are pointless.

On April 14th – the Tuesday after Easter – they will discuss the situation again. A broad agreement has also been reached to reject any obligation to wear protective masks. Even when wearing such masks, people have to observe the existing requirements.

15:35 Dpa: Federal and State governments looking to extend gatherings ban until after Easter

The Federal and State Governments want to extend the strict restrictions on gatherings to fight the corona crisis to at least the end of the Easter holidays. Citizens "are still instructed, even over the Easter holidays, to reduce contact with those who are not members of their own households to an absolute minimum, in accordance with the effective regulations," specifies a draft decision to be discussed between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Prime-Ministers of the federal states during a video conference, reports the dpa.

15:23 Coronavirus: Daily death toll exceeds 500 for the first time in the UK

For the first time, Great Britain has reported more than 500 corona deaths in a 24-hour period. According to the Department of Health in London, 563 people have now died of the lung disease covid-19 since yesterday, bringing the number of deaths in the UK to 2,352.

Almost 30,000 people have been verifiably tested positive. The actual number of infected people is probably much higher. Contrary to Germany, the UK has so far carried out only a few tests, initially hesitating for a long time in introducing strict measures to contain the pandemic.

15:16 Rental payments: Adidas apologizes

Adidas will still pay rent for April for the stores closed due to the virus pandemic. "We made a mistake and have lost a lot of trust," admitted the world's second-largest sporting goods company. This is how Adidas responds to
the blizzard of criticism that hit the company and CEO Kasper Rorsted.

The Herzogenaurach-based company had announced just under a week ago that it would halt rent payments for its stores, with many stores in various countries closed due to official orders to combat the corona crisis. "We have paid our landlords the rent for April," Adidas now explained.

"Fairness and team spirit have always been closely linked to Adidas and it should stay that way". An open letter titled "Adidas says sorry" will be published as an advertisement in major newspapers on Thursday, says the company.

15:07 Chemistry industry builds emergency supply with disinfectants

In the corona crisis, the German pharmaceutical and chemical industries are joining forces to supply the healthcare providers with disinfectants. A digital marketplace will be used to efficiently coordinate assistance for hospitals, care facilities, and doctors' practices nationwide, according to the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI).

Every effort will be made to "supply disinfectants to core facilities of the healthcare system throughout Germany", explained the new VCI President Christian Kullmann. This was also promised to Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn. The platform "Emergency Supply of Disinfectants" will gradually launch over the coming days, striving to support supply chains, facilitate contacts between stakeholders, and pool information. The platform, which is intended as a temporary solution, should "only intervene in market activities and established supply chains to the extent necessary".

The initiative is backed by both large and medium-sized companies, which supply several thousand tonnes of the chemicals they need every week, as well as containers for their transport. Chemical giant BASF, for example, supplies disinfectants free of charge to hospitals and medical practices in the Rhine-Neckar region. In addition, the cosmetics company Beiersdorf produces disinfectants and the chemical company Dow supplies ethanol for hygiene products.

14:56 Hungarian government looking to withdraw powers from mayors

The Hungarian government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban is now also looking to take away powers from mayors. Previously, the government had already received extraordinary powers from Parliament to deal with the corona crisis.

Orban's deputy Zsolt Semjen introduced a bill to Parliament late Tuesday night, which, in times of emergency, will strip elected mayors of decision-making powers and transfer them to so-called protection committees. Their members are nominated by the government.

Hungary has been in state of emergency since March 11th. In the municipal elections last October, the opposition recaptured the capital of Budapest and many major cities. The planned law provides that mayors must present all measures taken in connection with the corona pandemic to the respective territorial protection commission. The commissions have five days to approve or reject the measure.

14:44 Four more have died from covid-19 in Wolfsburg nursing home, now 22 dead

In the Hanns-Lilje care home in Wolfsburg, 22 people have now died after becoming infected with the coronavirus. In the past 24 hours, there were four more victims, said a spokesperson for the Diakonie Wolfsburg, which runs the home. At the same time, there was some good news as well: four residents are starting to recover.

14:31 ADAC calls on people to avoid Easter trips by car if possible

The ADAC has called on motorists to refrain from traveling if possible over Easter and to stay at home. ADAC President August Markl said to the German Press Agency: "In some federal states, trips without necessity are forbidden, but in those parts of the country where journeys are theoretically possible, we would like to ask people to refrain from travelling whenever possible. Unfortunately, this includes visits to relatives.

14:16 Youth competition to document the corona crisis

The Körber Foundation is calling for children and young adults to take part in a competition on how the corona crisis changes their everyday lives. With photos, video or audio documents, texts, posters, or collages, they can document the effects the crisis has on their environment, said the Foundation in Hamburg.

This should help them experience "that they can produce sources themselves in the current crisis situation, from which future generations can learn more about everyday life with the corona pandemic," said Gabriele Woidelko, Head of the History and Politics Department.

All submitted contributions are said to be transferred to the newly established "coronarchiv". This is a joint public history project of the Universities of Hamburg, Bochum, and Gießen, the Hamburg Museum of Medical History, and the Hamburg Historical Museum. In addition, the Körber Foundation will award ten book prizes for the best entries and present the prize winners and their topics. All children and young people up to the age of 21 are invited to take part. The closing date for entries is May 15th. For further information, please visit: https://www.koerber-stiftung.de/geschichtswettbewerb/mitmach-aktion

13:55 Foreign Office: 187,000 holidaymakers have been picked up

The Federal Government has organised the repatriation of 187,000 travellers over the past two weeks. Among the returnees are 3,000 citizens from other EU countries, according to a spokesperson of the Federal Foreign Office. People have been brought back from 45 countries. The largest group of Germans still stuck abroad is located in New Zealand, with about 12,000 people waiting to get back.

13:46 Youth hostels fear for their future

Nearly all of the approximately 450 youth hostels in Germany are currently closed - "and there is no way of predicting when they will be able to reopen." This could lead to a "crisis that threatens their survival," said DJH Managing Director Julian Schmitz.  

The decline in reservations is tied to the coronavirus crisis, especially with regard to the cancelled class trips as well as the upcoming vacation and holiday period. Short-time work has now been implemented for a total of nearly 5,000 employees. However, the authorities have indicated that youth hostels would be available for quarantine measures or to accommodate emergency personnel. The future of the DJH largely depends on what kind of state support that will be offered in the coming weeks.

13:40 Virologist Kekulé criticizes RKI

Virologist Alexander Kekulé has called for a strategy to ease the restrictions of public life. “In three to four weeks, we could start opening up,” he told the weekly newspaper “Die Zeit”. Kekulé has criticized the authorities’ attitude towards face masks. “I find it quite horrible that the Robert Koch Institute still maintains that these masks don't serve any purpose. That’s not true: For one, you protect others. In addition, you protect yourself.”

13:35 Family physicians demand more support

Family physicians in Germany are asking for more protection and support during the coronavirus crisis. "Support those who are protecting you!", reads a joint message from the German Association of General Practitioners and the German College of General Practitioners and Family Physicians, released on Wednesday.

13:14 NATO wants to coordinate during the coronavirus crisis

Preventing the health crisis from turning into a security crisis – this is how Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg describes the situation for the military alliance. In the coronavirus crisis, NATO could take on a coordinating role, for example in organizing supply flights.

A military transport aircraft had just left Turkey and set out for Italy and Spain, countries particularly hard-hit by the pandemic, with masks, protective equipment, and medical material, said Stoltenberg. Prior to that, a request had been made to NATO's Disaster Response Coordination Center. The Czech Republic has supplied 20,000 protective suits to both countries, Germany is treating patients from Italy and France. Foreign Ministers should discuss even closer coordination measures.

13:07 Haldenwang: Right-wing extremists exploit the coronavirus crisis

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution has warned against right-wing extremists who are misusing the coronavirus crisis for their own purposes. The virus has attracted "considerable attention" within right-wing extremist circles,  Thomas Haldenwang, President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, told the  the weekly newspaper "Die Zeit".

12:58 The Olympic flame takes a break

The Olympic flame will remain in the Japanese prefecture of Fukushima until the end of April. Representatives of the Tokyo Olympic Committee and  of the prefecture held an official handover ceremony in Fukushima. The public will be able to view the flame to a limited extent. The organizers hope to be able to limit the number of visitors due to the restrictions imposed in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The Olympic Games will be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021, almost exactly one year after the originally scheduled date.

12:15 Ifo Institute: Invest heavily in health protection

According to a study by the Ifo Institute, combating the coronavirus crisis will cost Europe hundreds of billions of euros. Ifo President Clemens Fuest warned: "If companies remain closed for more than a month, production losses will quickly reach dimensions well beyond the slump in growth seen in previous recessions or natural disasters in the history of the European Union. Fuest recommends: "Apart from medical reasons, there are also economic reasons for investing heavily in health protection." This would help contain the epidemic - "and at the same time we could then gradually lift school and business closures". It is also necessary for companies to take precautions that allow them to combine a resumption of production with a further containment of the epidemic.

11:57 More than 100,000 currently infected in Spain

The number of people in Spain infected with the coronavirus has risen from 94,417 on Tuesday to 102,136. According to the Ministry of Health, a total of 9053 people have died of Covid-19 thus far.

11:33 Weather forecasts made difficult due to coronavirus crisis

Since air traffic has been suspended for the most part due to the coronavirus crisis, weather forecasts and climate observations are becoming more difficult. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in Geneva announced that data for weather models, which normally come from sensors on aircraft, are missing. "If even less weather data is provided by aircraft over a longer period of time, the reliability of weather forecasts is likely to decline," said WMO expert Lars Peter Riishojgaard. WMO also says that severe weather is more difficult to predict - a risk for countries that need advance warning to prepare for weather disasters. The weather models need as much measurement data as possible about the current situation in order to make forecasts. Aircraft sensors, for example, provide information on temperatures, wind speeds and directions, humidity, and turbulence. Because air traffic to contain the coronavirus pandemic has almost come to a standstill, data is missing. The WMO reports a dramatic decrease in weather data for Europe in March, from more than 700,000 to a few thousand weather data per day.

11:17 Sweden closes ski resorts

Sweden is closing its largest ski resorts to prevent overburdening medical services. The operator Skistar announced that the season will end prematurely on April 6 in resorts in Sälen, Vemdalen, and Åre. This follows the advice of the health authorities. In Norway, the closure of Skistar resorts in Trysil and Hemsedal was already ordered on 12 March.

11:11 Austria: Unemployment as high as in 1946

Not since 1946 have so many people in Austria been unemployed as currently. According to the Public Employment Service, slightly more than 504,000 people are currently without a job - an increase of 52.5 percent compared to the same month last year. In addition, just over 58,000 people are currently undergoing training at the AMS. Between March 15 and 31 alone, the number of unemployed rose by almost 200,000, with particularly drastic increases in the areas of accommodation, catering, and construction. Unemployment figures in Austria also soared in the transport and warehousing sectors.

10:44 Olympic Games postponement hurts water polo

Water polo national coach Hagen Stamm has reported on the challenge he faces after the announcement to postpone the Olympic Games. While he understands the IOC's decision, it is hard for his team: "The boys can't take it at all," he told rbb. "I'm also not sure if they will all stay on board for next year. And as a result, we'll have to see how things go with me," explained the 59-year-old. He expects financial problems for his sport. "Water polo is naturally at risk because our financial resources are more limited."

10:37 Galeria Kaufhof apparently also stops rent payments

According to a report in "Spiegel", the department store group Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof is now also stopping its rent payments, as other retail chains have already done. There remains "no other choice", the news magazine quoted from a letter from the company to its landlords. Since the landlords could not currently grant the department stores the "use of the rented property", they would not be entitled to any consideration. The department store chain has already applied for state aid during the coronavirus crisis.

10:33 Study results: Curfew in Wuhan prevented 700,000 infections

Researchers from China, the USA, and Great Britain have published a study on the consequences of coronavirus measures in Wuhan in the scientific journal "Science". They conclude that the curfews in the Chinese city prevented 700,000 infections. The researchers used case reports, information from health authorities, and mobile phone data to investigate the spread of the virus. Mobile phone tracking provided a "fascinating" new set of data, said an author of the paper, biologist Ottar Bjornstad of Penn State University in the US. "The analysis showed an extraordinary decrease in movements after the travel ban of January 23, 2020." When Beijing sealed off the megacity of Wuhan more than two months ago, the decision was considered a drastic step in the fight against the coronavirus. Meanwhile, almost half of the world's population is subject to curfews.

10:26 DAX loses significantly at the start of trading

There is new uncertainty on the German stock market about the further course of the coronavirus pandemic. After a phase of stabilization, the DAX lost around three percent at the start of trading, falling to 9628.04 points. Meanwhile, on Tuesday it had passed the 10,000 point mark. "Last week's consolidation may have been the calm before the second storm on the stock market," commented AxiTrader's market expert Milan Cutkovic. According to observers, it doesn't take much negative news to put investors back into panic mode.

10:16 Italy extends curfews

Italy's government is extending the strict curfew for its 60 million citizens due to the coronavirus crisis until April 13th. This was announced by the Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza in the Senate on Wednesday according to dpa. The government had already announced this extension at the beginning of the week. Since March 10th, people in the country are no longer allowed to move freely. Schools are closed, as are many factories. The restrictions were initially in force until April 3.

10:07 Bitkom assumes there will be progress in digitization

According to the industry association Bitkom, the consequences of the fight against the coronavirus could significantly promote digitalization in Germany. "The coronavirus crisis has clearly shown us the importance of digital technologies for business, administration, and society," said Achim Berg, head of the Bitkom industry association. "The crisis is a wake-up call that is currently massively pushing digitization." Up to now, things have progressed very slowly.

09:49 Two thirds of Lufthansa employees in short-time work

700 of the Lufthansa Group's 760 aircraft are currently grounded. The airline has responded to these circumstances by sending a total of 87,000 employees into short-time work, a step which has already been taken for crew and ground personnel. As a result, Lufthansa has now sent two-thirds of its 135,000-strong workforce into short-time work. The number of hours still being worked depends on the type of employment. The reductions range from no work at all to a minor reduction in hours, said a spokesperson for the group. In Germany, those affected will receive 60% to 67% of net remuneration for work lost. Lufthansa has pledged an increase of up to 90% for ground personnel and flight crew.

09:21 What Merkel wants to discuss with the state prime ministers

What impact have the measures had? This is likely to be the topic of today’s telephone conference between Chancellor Angela Merkel and the prime ministers of the federal states. "With a view to Easter, I’m very clear that we may even have to re-evaluate whether our rules and regulations are sufficient, or whether we need to tighten them," said the Prime Minister of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Manuela Schwesig. The Chancellor, the Minister of Health and the state prime ministers also want to talk about the regional supply of intensive care beds.

09:07 From Russia with love - even in the U.S.

Russia has sent an aid delivery because of the dramatic situation in the U.S. A plane took off late last night, said the Ministry of Defense in Moscow. The military aircraft is carrying medical equipment and protective masks. The Ministry published a video showing the loaded plane departing from an aerodrome near the capital Moscow. President Vladimir Putin had offered support to U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday, which was gratefully received, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskow told the Russian news agency Interfax.

09:01 Taiwan donates ten million protective masks

Taiwan is the second largest manufacturer of protective masks in the world and will soon be producing 15 million surgical masks a day, said President Tsai Ing-wen. These will go to countries most affected by the coronavirus pandemic – thanks to a donation: Seven million masks will be sent by Taiwan to eleven European countries, including Italy, Spain and Germany, the Foreign Ministry in Taipei confirmed. The U.S. will receive two million masks. A further million masks will be sent to Taiwan’s diplomatic allies. Thanks to an early closure of borders with China and a well-established health system, Taiwan has been less hard hit by the crisis. By Wednesday, a total of 329 coronavirus infections and five deaths were reported.

08:39 Zoom not safe?

The online platform Zoom, which has become very popular during the worldwide coronavirus crisis, is suspected of not having taken sufficient safeguards against hacking attacks. The Attorney General of New York, Letitia James, is leading an investigation into the California-based company around data protection issues, a spokesperson reported. It is allegedly possible for hackers to access conferences if they are not set to private. Schools in the U.S. have reported virtual attacks, for example Nazi symbols or pornographic content being shown during conferences.

08:29 Up by 7.7 percent: Retailers benefit from coronavirus crisis

Strong demand for everyday essentials at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis has led to a surge in sales for German retailers. In February, their revenues grew by 7.7 per cent in nominal terms compared to the previous year's month – the strongest they have been in the past year and a half.

08:18 Austria correspondent: “Masks not available everywhere yet”

The Austrian government wants to curb the spread of coronavirus in supermarkets by introducing mandatory masks. Chains are required to issue masks for free from today. How does this work? ARD correspondent Christian Limpert reports about the difficulties around launching this policy in Vienna. The masks are not available everywhere yet. From 6 April, masks will be mandatory in all supermarkets in Austria.

08:30 Here's what happened last night

  • Numbers for Germany: Robert Koch Institute reports 67,366 infections and 732 deaths
  • China reports 130 new cases after adapting counting method  
  • More deaths in the U.S. than in China now
  • Russia will provide medical supplies and protective clothing to the U.S.
  • Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn warns against april fool's jokes