This is the live blog for April 4, 2020.

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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 16:30 pm CEST

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Short Facts

  • Curfew in Spain to be extended
  • More than 60,000 Covid-19 deaths worldwide
  • Trump imposes export ban on protective clothing
  • RKI counts 85,778 infected
  • Giffey asks volunteers from other organisations to work in clinics

16:36 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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16:17 Treatment center in the soccer stadium of Borussia Dortmund has started operation

On the first day of operations, all was relatively quiet at the treatment center in the soccer stadium in Dortmund. In the afternoon, only a few people visited the northern stands of the Signal Iduna Park to be tested for coronavirus.

The new treatment center has been up and running since this weekend. It is operated by Bundesliga team Borussia Dortmund together with the Kassenärztliche Vereinigung Westfalen-Lippe (KVWL).

A similar facility already exists in Dortmund. It has provided care to around 2,500 people over two weeks. The KVWL was in urgent need of additional capacity, according to a statement of the association. The center in the stadium is open each day from 12 to 4 p.m. Visitors do not need to register beforehand.

16:03 More than 10,000 known infections in Portugal

The Portuguese Ministry of Health has reported 10,524 identified infections. Moreover, 266 people have died of the Covid-19 disease. The authorities expect the pandemic to reach its peak at the end of May.

16:01 Another city in Romania closed off

In Romania, a second city has been closed off after a large number of coronavirus infections. By order of Minister of the Interior Marcel Vela, the town of Tandarei in the south-east of the country, with a population of around 13,000, in now strictly guarded by police and military. The city only remains open for transports of goods and for people from the outside who work in the town in the areas of supply, medicine, and administration.

Last week, the north-eastern city of Suceava and eight neighboring villages, with 92,000 inhabitants, had already been closed off. The mayor of Tandarei, Nicoleta Toma, had reported that many people had not observed the required minimum distance in the town. Of the 48 corona deaths so far reported in the entire regional administrative district, 31 were Tandarei inhabitants.

15:59 Dubai requests one-year postponement of World Expo

This year’s World Exhibition in Dubai is to be postponed by one year because of the corona pandemic, in line with the wishes of the organizers. The Government of the United Arab Emirates (VAE) has submitted a formal request for postponement, according to the competent International Office of the World Exhibition (BIE).

Already on Monday, the Board of Directors convened in Dubai. Accordingly, the Expo will be held from October 2021 to March 2022, but will still be organized under the original name “Expo 2020”. However, a final decision by the member states of the Expo Office is still outstanding. The World Exhibition in Dubai will be the first to be held in an Arab country.

15:57 UK death toll rises by 20 percent

The British Ministry of Health has announced a 20 percent increase in the number of deaths, to 4,313. A rise in the number of confirmed infections to 41,903 has been reported as well,

15:51 New fence in Konstanz to prevent hugging and kissing

A second blockade now separated couples at the border between Germany and Switzerland in Konstanz, on Lake Constance. Another fence has been set up on the Swiss side," according to a spokesman for the Federal Police. There are now two wire mesh fences, similar to those used on construction sites – separated from each other by a strip of about two meters.

In the past few days, many couples had met at the border to cross the temporary blockade and seek contact with each other. It is now no longer possible to hold hands, hug, and kiss. If one of the partners lives in Germany and the other in the Swiss Confederation, it is no longer possible for them to visit each other; visits across the border are currently not allowed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

15:41 Saxony and Bavaria accept additional patients from France

Saxony has accepted three more corona patients from France. A "Luxembourg Air Rescue" ambulance plane has landed in Dresden. Later on, two more patients were brought from Bourscheid in the Grand Est region.

According to the Dresden University Hospital, which assumes the responsibility for coordinating the campaign, the three patients will be brought to the university hospital, the specialist hospital Coswig, and the Dresden-Friedrichstadt hospital. Already on Thursday, the three hospitals in Dresden and Coswig all admitted one French national infected with the Sars-CoV-2 virus. Prior to this, the State of Saxony had already admitted eight patients from Italy over the past few days.

Bavaria wants to admit ten seriously ill Covid-19 patients from Paris for treatment. This was announced by Minister President Markus Söder (CSU) on Twitter. He had promised support to the French ambassador. "Friends help each other in times of need," Mr. Söder wrote. "Europe must stand together." Since last Sunday, Bavaria has already admitted ten corona patients from Italy for medical treatment.

15:34 Man arrested for inciting public demonstration against corona restrictions

Because he is said to have called for a demonstration against the gatherings ban on the Internet, police have arrested a man from Weinheim in Baden-Wuerttemberg. With the demonstration, the man had called on people to commit a criminal offence, in line with the current regulations in place to contain the corona crisis, a police spokesman explained. Without the corona regulations in place, the peaceful protest march would not have been a problem.

According to the investigations, the 32-year-old had wanted to anonymously organize a peaceful protest march through an Internet portal two weeks ago. He asked potential participants to bring along children to protect themselves against the police. Investigators finally tracked down the man via the provider of the Internet portal. During the search of his apartment, the officers seized data carriers, three laptops, hard drives, a tablet, and a smartphone, which will now be analyzed. The 32-year-old was released after being taken into preliminary custody.

In Baden-Wuerttemberg, all public gatherings are prohibited if more than two people, who are not part of the same family, meet. Gatherings of smaller groups are an administrative offence according to the current regulations, but any groups of more than 15 people commit a criminal offence, said the spokesman.

15:31 Apparent sharp drop in infections in Austria

Austria reports an increase in confirmed infections to 11,781, with 186 deaths. According to the Ministry of Health, the rate of growth in infections has been reduced to a single-digit percentage. Three weeks ago, it was still at 40 percent.

15:30 A total of 200,000 stranded Germans already repatriated

Almost three weeks after the start of the German government's repatriation campaign, 200,000 Germans have been brought home from other countries as a result of the corona crisis . "This was not always easy and there have been some difficulties here and there, but that can be expected in this difficult time," said Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. "But all parties involved can be proud of what we've achieved."The 200,000 tourists have been transported back to Germany from 57 countries within 20 days, according to the Federal Foreign Office. 40,000 travelers from Germany are still stuck abroad and waiting for their trip back home, most of them in New Zealand, South Africa, and Peru.

15:27 Curfew in Spain to be extended

To curb the spread of the coronavirus, the Spanish government intends to extend the state of emergency and the strict curfew in place throughout the country by another two weeks, until April 26th. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said this after a video conference with the scientific committee advising the government. The measures in force since mid-March had already been extended for the first time ten days ago. Moreover, since Tuesday, all employees who work in non-essential sectors of industry have to stay at home as well. This decree is initially in place until April 9th. It is considered likely that there will be an extension here as well, but Parliament still needs to approve the new time frame.

14:45 John Hopkins University: More than 60,000 Covid-19 deaths worldwide

According to U.S. experts, more than 60,000 people have already died worldwide as a result of the Covid-19 lung disease. The number of confirmed Sars-CoV-2 infections increased to 1.13 million, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University. Most of the 60,115 deaths occurred in these seven countries, in the following order: Italy, Spain, USA, France, UK, Iran, and China.

14:33 Death toll in Switzerland now at 540

Health authorities in Switzerland have reported an increase in the number of deaths to 540. On the previous day, the death toll had been 484. The number of confirmed cases has risen from 19,303 to 20,278.

14:13 FDP: Lift blood donation ban for homosexual men

In light of the coronavirus crisis, the liberal FDP party has called for abolishing the law which prohibits men who have sexual contact with other men from giving blood. It is high-risk behaviour, not sexual orientation, that should be taken into account, the two MPs Jens Brandenburg and Katrin Helling-Plahr wrote in a letter to the Federal Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, and the President of the German Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt. In Germany, men are only allowed to give blood if any sexual contact they have had with other men was at least twelve months ago.

13:22 First flight bringing Germans back from New Zealand lands in Frankfurt

The first plane bringing home Germans stranded in New Zealand landed at Frankfurt Airport early in the morning. As reported by the Federal Police on request, the Air New Zealand aircraft arrived from Auckland shortly after six o'clock following a stopover in the Canadian city of Vancouver.  
New Zealand is the country where most Germans are stranded abroad - more than 12,000 have registered for the recovery programme due to the coronavirus crisis, according to the German Embassy in Wellington. Further evacuation flights are expected to take place from Auckland and Christchurch in the coming days.

13:14 Trade associations demand open borders for movement of goods

In view of the debate on increased border controls in Europe, large trade associations in Germany have warned of supply bottlenecks. “In order to maintain a broad supply of food to the population during the coronavirus crisis, it is essential to keep borders within the EU open,” demanded the President of the German Farmers’ Association, Joachim Rukwied. With all due respect for the measures in place to combat coronavirus, “other ways would have to be found than closing internal borders and thus potentially endangering supply chains,” he stated.  
Similar warnings have emerged from a survey by European Movement Germany (EBD) and its member associations, from which “Süddeutsche Zeitung” quoted on Saturday. The EBD is an association of different interest groups and stakeholders. “An uncoordinated closure of borders will lead to significant economic losses and must not become a permanent solution,” declared the President of the Federal Trade Association, Dieter Kempf.
It had become very clear in recent weeks that “border closures and limitations on the freedom of movement are part of the problem and not the solution,” the President of the Federal Association of Wholesale, Foreign Trade, Services e.V., Holger Bingmann, told the “SZ”. “They are aggravating the crisis as opposed to helping the situation.”

13:08 Poland’s government coalition continues to argue about presidential election

In Poland, the government coalition continues to argue about a postponement of the presidential election scheduled for 10 May. The nationalist PiS party is insisting the election should go ahead on the scheduled date and is proposing that the vote should take place by post. The smaller coalition partner Accord, on the other hand, has called for a two-year postponement due to the coronavirus crisis.  
Polish President Andrzej Duda told the Catholic daily "Nasz Dziennik" that the election should happen if the necessary security measures were in place. "A postal election would be new in Poland, but the situation is exceptional," he added.

13:07 Some flights for Germans stuck in Turkey

There will be some commercial flights at short notice for Germans stuck in Turkey due to the coronavirus crisis. This had been negotiated in the last few days following discussions with airlines, the Consulate General in Istanbul reported on Saturday on its Facebook page. Those looking to fly must organize tickets themselves. The flights will be available to book via the airlines’ websites.  
The Consulate General’s statement states: “We advise all returnees to use the available commercial offers. As reported by the media, there is no planned recovery programme for Turkey.”

13:04 Russia calls for lifting of sanctions again

Russia has once again called for the lifting of sanctions in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Many countries have stuck to the punitive measures, “even though this is pushing people in the worst affected states to the brink of survival,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday. Political actions should be set aside during the coronavirus crisis.  
UN Secretary General António Guterres should step up and call for the lifting of these “discriminatory measures”, the Foreign Ministry stated. Previously, a draft submitted by Russia to the UN General Assembly had failed to pass.  
Russia, China, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba had already called on Guterres to push for an immediate and complete lifting of the sanctions against them in a letter.

13:02 Consumer watchdogs take on rip-off pricing practices

Consumer protection advisers want to take legal action against businesses who are using the coronavirus pandemic to overcharge for products or to make questionable promises. "Consumer advice centers are ensuring that these actions will have legal consequences," Klaus Müller, Executive Director of The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV), told the "Handelsblatt". "Three respiratory masks for 999 euro or vitamin supplements against the coronavirus infection are no longer within an acceptable free pricing framework."

12:44 Brazilian cities using stadiums as hospitals

Because there are too few bed spaces in hospitals in Brazil, large stadiums are now being turned into temporary care units. Flamengo Rio de Janeiro has announced that the club would be making its training center and the Maracanã Stadium available to the state and the city of Rio for such a project.  

Other Brazilian clubs such as Botafogo, Corinthians, and Santos have also offered their facilities to federal and municipal authorities in the fight against coronavirus. The Pacaembu in São Paulo has already been converted into a hospital with more than 200 beds. The idea is that patients can be accommodated in stadiums and training centers, which will relieve pressure on hospitals and clinics, should the virus continue to spread in Brazil.

12:39 More than 100 cases in Tokyo in a single day

For the first time, more than 100 people have tested positive for coronavirus in a single day in Tokyo. Japanese media have reported at least 118 new confirmed cases. As a result, cases in the Japanese capital have now surpassed 890. The rise in numbers is increasing pressure on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to call for a state of emergency in order to prevent further spread of the virus.

Until Friday, there were 704 infected people in Tokyo’s hospitals. The new increase is likely to have exhausted the bed spaces reserved for coronavirus patients, reports the Japanese news agency Kyodo.

12:28 Fewer deaths in Spain

In Spain, the number of Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours has fallen to 809. The day before, there were 932 deaths. According to the Ministry of Health, this is the second consecutive decline. A total of 11,744 deaths have been recorded so far. The number of confirmed infections increased by 7,026 to 124,736.

11:51 Giffey urging volunteers to provide support at hospitals

Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Franziska Giffey (SPD), has called on volunteers to carry out their volunteer duties in hospitals, nursing homes, or rescue centres. Those currently unable to carry out their volunteering duties because of the coronavirus pandemic are being given the opportunity to switch to another voluntary service, for instance helping with the supply of food to those in need, Giffey told the newspapers of the Funke Media Group. To this end, an online platform for volunteer services is being set up.

According to the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, approximately 39,000 volunteers (Bufdis) are currently engaged in the Federal Voluntary Service, which includes around 52,000 young people and young adults who are completing a Voluntary Social Year (FSJ).

11:48 Johnson calls on opposition to cooperate

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called on the leaders of the opposition parties to work together to overcome the coronavirus crisis. "As party leaders, we have a duty to work together at this moment of national emergency," he stressed. To this end, he intends to invite the opposition leaders to a briefing next week, which will also be attended by the head of the health authorities and the chief advisor to the government on scientific issues.

11:44 Australia: Visa holders without financial reserves should leave the country

Due to the economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis and the expected unemployment, Australia wants to send foreigners with temporary visas home. Of the two million or so affected foreigners, only those who are able to finance their own living expenses over the next six months are permitted to stay, according to Alan Tudge, acting minister of immigration.

Currently 118,000 people with a "Working Holiday Visa" are staying in Australia. It allows work within a limited framework, but does not include any protection against unemployment. These tourists could extend their visas if they worked in certain sectors such as health care, elderly care, child care, agriculture, or the food industry, Tudge continued. He also said that the permitted working hours would be relaxed.

11:24 The German Association of Cities and Towns calls for nationwide standardized guidelines for retirement and nursing homes

The German Association of Cities and Towns has called for nationwide standardized guidelines for retirement and nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic. "It is particularly distressing that the number of coronavirus infections in retirement and nursing homes is increasing," said the President of the Association of German Cities and Towns, Burkhard Jung. "In the short term, we need standardized assessment guidelines and strategies for action throughout Germany." The Federal Ministry of Health and the minister conferences of the federal states should now "take urgent action so that standardized guidelines can be created".

11:05 Müller calls for "World Crisis Staff

Development Minister Gerd Müller (CSU) urges a more global approach to the fight against the coronavirus. In "Der Spiegel" he spoke out in favour of the creation of a "World Crisis Staff". This new institution could be headed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

Now is the "hour of the United Nations", Müller said. Guterres would have to coordinate international aid organizations in close cooperation with institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The pandemic is a " global wake-up call for cooperation", he said.

11:02 Scholz wants to reduce the tax burden on companies

Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) has announced further tax relief for German companies due to the coronavirus crisis. The government is currently "working on an non-bureaucratic way for companies to offset a limited amount of their losses from this year against their 2019 profits," Scholz told the newspapers of the Funke media group. "Such a regulation would provide companies with additional liquidity and could be implemented without changing the tax laws".

10:56 Vestager is not ruling out coronavirus bonds

With regard to the discussion on so-called coronavirus bonds, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has called for "a discussion without taboos". "It is likely that old solutions will not work", Vestager said in an interview with "Wirtschaftswoche" and other European media. Vestager stressed that the EU was facing an "unprecedented" economic crisis: "Every company is affected in one way or another," said the EU Vice-President. Italy, France and several other countries want the EU member states to share the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and for the Euro states to issue joint bonds. Germany and the Netherlands have categorically rejected this.

10:53 Opposition criticizes Altmaier

The Green Party is accusing the Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier (CDU), of not pushing the production of important medical products in the corona crisis. "Germany, in cooperation with our European neighbours, could launch a pandemic economy very quickly, as so many companies are standing ready", Green Party leader Annalena Baerbock told the news agency dpa. "It really should be the job of the Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy to round up the players, support their initiatives, and ensure investment security for the future with acceptance guarantees". But Peter Altmaier "is apparently is not even involved", criticized Baerbock. Michael Theurer, vice faction leader of the FDP, joined Baerbock in his criticism. Many companies were eager to help, but have failed in their search for a contact person. "The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy must act in a coordinating and supportive manner, inform about needs and general conditions, and make constructive suggestions in order to eliminate obstructive bureaucracy".

10:35 RKI counts 85,778 infected

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported the number of people infected with the coronavirus in Germany on Saturday at 85,778 - an increase of 6,082 from the previous day. This is different from the number reported by Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in the US city of Baltimore which reported 91,159 infected people, including 24,575 recovering. The RKI, which only takes into account the electronically transmitted figures from the federal states and updates its list once a day, has so far registered 1158 deaths, while the JHU has registered 1275 deaths.

09:29 Schäuble concerned about Parliament's ability to act

According to a media report, Parliamentary President Wolfgang Schäuble has written to all party leaders to discuss the possibility of virtual parliamentary sessions or the creation of a small emergency parliament. Schäuble told the newspaper "Sueddeutsche Zeitung" that everything possible must be done " to avoid suspending parliamentary democracy". Therefore, he said, "all thoughts of remedial action are now welcome".

09:07 40,000 German travellers still abroad

The Federal Foreign Office estimates that there are currently still more than 40,000 German travellers stranded abroad. This information is partially based on estimates, the ministry told the "Rheinische Post". The majority of those stranded are in South Africa, New Zealand, and Peru. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has asked the remaining German travellers for patience and called on them to contact the German embassies and consulates.

08:00 Here's what happened last night

  • Johns Hopkins University reports 91,159 cases and 1,275 deaths in Germany
  • US citizens should cover mouth and nose
  • Berlin's Interior Senator Andreas Geisel: Restrictions could last all year round
  • More cargo trains coming from China to Germany
  • Number of new infections in Italy constant