This is the live blog for April 7, 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 17:30 pm CEST

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Short Facts

  • Lufthansa closes Germanwings and shrinks fleet
  • Laschet demands country consensus on reopening of schools
  • Söder indicates extension of measures
  • Ethics Council calls for open debate on an end to the lockdown
  • Japan declares state of emergency
  • RKI: No relaxation yet

17:34 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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17:14 Lufthansa decommissions several aircraft and closes Germanwings

Lufthansa is closing the flight operations of its Cologne-based subsidiary Germanwings in response to the coronavirus crisis. The Group additionally announced that a number of other subsidiaries’ aircraft are also to be decommissioned

17:11 Norway to open kindergartens from 20 April

Norway is also venturing an initial easing of its corona measures, following several other European countries. Kindergartens will be reopened on April 20, followed seven days later by the first to fourth grades in schools.

The Norwegian government had introduced strict measures against the spread of coronavirus in mid-March. Among other things, the borders are closed to foreigners. Norwegians returning to their homeland must be quarantined for 14 days. Schools and kindergartens have been closed since 12 March.

16:52 Berlin Judge: Ban on religious services justified

The Berlin Administrative Court upholds the ban on religious services at Easter, which was imposed due to the coronavirus crisis. The judge rejected the urgent application from the St Philipp Neri religious institute and a believer. The rule in the Berlin coronavirus regulation does mean encroachment on religious freedom. This is, however, justified by “the protection of life and health of the congregation as well as the public”.

16:30 NRW State Premier demands agreement from the German States on time to open schools

The 16 Federal States have to reach an agreement on when to reopen schools and daycare centers, according to Armin Laschet, the State Premier of North-Rhine Westphalia. North-Rhine Westphalia will push for this in the Federal State consultations with the Chancellor, Angela Merkel after Easter, said the CDU politician. “It is hard to imagine that we have completely different rules in Germany on the question of schools and day-care centers.”

16:25 Seriously ill coronavirus patients not allowed to test unauthorized remedy

Seriously ill coronavirus patients in Germany are also not allowed to be treated in future with the as yet unauthorized active ingredient Remdesivir, even if all other remedies have failed. The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices has given approval for this.

The active ingredient was originally developed by a US pharmaceutical company for Ebola infections. The European Medicines Agency established last Friday that there are first signs of effectiveness against the coronavirus as well. It recommended its use for severely ill people with no alternative treatments. This was followed by German authorities.  

16.07 Johnson in ‘stable’ state of health according to government information

According to government information, the state of health of Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister who is in an intensive care unit, has stabilized. His speaker stated that the 55-year-old did not have to be put on a ventilator. Johnson does not have a lung infection.

The British Prime Minister was delivered to St Thomas’ Hospital in London on Sunday because of long-lasting coronavirus complaints. According to Downing Street, it was not an emergency. His state of health dilapidated so much that he had to be moved to an intensive care unit during the medical examinations.

15:21 Doctors in South Korea bank on blood plasma

In South Korea, two elderly patients have recovered from their severe lung disease after being treated with the blood plasma of cured coronavirus patients. Plasma therapy could become an alternative treatment for severely ill Covid-19 patients who do not respond to antiviral medications, said Choi Jun Yong, doctor and researcher at Severance Hospital in Seoul. However, comprehensive clinical tests are still required to prove efficacy.

One of the patients was, according to the physician, a 71-year-old man without comorbidity, whose condition only improved after being treated with the plasma of a healed patient between the ages of 20 and 30 and steroids. He was initially treated with malaria medications. In a 67-year-old patient, initial therapy was ineffective as well, which included treatment with malaria and HIV medication.

The Duisburg District Court has proposed suspension of the Loveparade trial because of the corona crisis. Due to the rapid development of the corona pandemic, it is not foreseeable when and how the proceedings currently suspended can be continued. The parties to the proceedings must comment by April 20th. Some defendants, as well as (complementary) jurors, are in corona risk groups, according to the Court.

On July 24th, 2010, 21 people were killed and more than 650 injured at the Loveparade. Three employees of the organizer of the Loveparade have been accused of involuntary manslaughter and negligent bodily injury in the proceedings. The Duisburg Criminal Chamber closed proceedings against seven other defendants for minor guilt in February 2019.

14:52 New portal to help volunteers switch

A new Internet platform should help volunteers switch their place of deployment during the corona crisis. The underlying reason is the temporary closure of many institutions due to the corona pandemic. Many of those who are doing their voluntary social year, voluntary ecological year or federal volunteer army service are now unable to keep working at their original place of deployment. At the same time, other institutions are currently seeking volunteers.

14:34 Spahn: "Restrictions on parties and festivals will be the last to be lifted"

Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn appeals to the German population to stick to the contact restrictions, even over Easter. The decision as to when the restrictions on everyday life can be lifted will largely depend on the behaviour of the population over the upcoming holidays: "Easter as well as the upcoming next days will be very crucial in determining whether we can continue the trend we are currently seeing."

The minister did not want to comment on what the gradual lifting of restrictions would look like in detail. However, he already made one thing clear: "In case of doubt, the last thing that will be allowed again will be parties and festivals, because they pose the greatest risk of infection."

In Munich, it is feared that Oktoberfest might be cancelled as well, which is scheduled to start on 16 September. According to the city, the decision will be made by the start of June at the latest.

14:23 Hannover's mayor has recovered from a CoViD-19 infection

Hannover's mayor Belit Onay is now allowed to resume his official duties from city hall after recovering from a CoViD-19 infection. The quarantine period has ended for the Green Party politician and the officials who were in contact with him, the capital of Lower Saxony reported. Everyone is said to be in good health.  

However, Onay wants to continue to work mostly from home. He called on everyone to adhere to the rules for curbing the coronavirus epidemic and thereby protect themselves and others: "I would like to underline this by working from home myself until Easter."

13:34 Söder suggests coronavirus measures will be extended

Bavarians may need to prepare for lengthier school closures and restrictions on public life. "After Easter, we will develop and coordinate objectives," said State Premier Markus Söder after a cabinet meeting in Munich. The situation would not simply remain unchanged. However, the measures should not be lifted too early. Instead, they should be eased in stages.

Söder explicitly pointed to Austria, a country that is three weeks ahead in the development: There, many measures have been extended, curfews are still in place, and schools are also remaining closed.

13:22 British Minister for the Cabinet Office Gove in self-isolation

British Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove has gone into self-isolation. A family member has shown mild symptoms, Gove shared on Twitter. "I don't have any symptoms and will continue my work as usual."  

Several members of the government are already affected by the pandemic. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has experienced the most severe symptoms and is currently being treated in the intensive care unit of a London hospital.  Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty have already recovered from their infections.

12:50 Spain reports increase in deaths

For the first time in five days, more people have died within one day from the coronavirus infection in Spain. The country's Ministry of Health reported 743 new coronavirus deaths within 24 hours. The death figures had previously been declining for four consecutive days.

12:32 WhatsApp restricts forwarding of messages

WhatsApp messenger service has limited its message routing capabilities. This is intended to slow the spread of false information about the coronavirus. According to the service associated with Facebook, WhatsApp messages that have already been distributed frequently can now only be forwarded to a chat individually. Previously, it was possible to forward a message in up to five chats simultaneously.

12:24 Paris prohibits outdoor sports during the day

The city of Paris has tightened its curfews and banned outdoor sports between 10am and 7pm. The new regulation will apply from Wednesday, announced Mayor Anne Hidalgo and the police. Outdoor sports will continue to be allowed between 7 pm and 10 am, when the crowds on the streets are at their lowest. The greater Paris area has been particularly hard hit by the spread of the new coronavirus. The city had already closed parks and green areas three weeks ago. Throughout the country, walking and sports are now only allowed within a radius of one kilometer from home and for one hour a day.

11:44 Ethics Council calls for open debate on an end to the lockdown

The German Ethics Council has called on politicians not to refuse the debate on ending the current pandemic restrictions. This debate could and should be welcomed by everyone, including politicians, as an expression of an open society, said the Chairman of the Ethics Council, Peter Dabrock. The current communication strategy of many political leaders on a possible loosening "needs to be improved. Everything else would be "authoritarian-state thinking."

11:15 Japanese Prime Minister declares a state of emergency for Tokyo

As announced, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and six other provinces due to the spread of the coronavirus. The measure comes into force tomorrow and will apply until May 6 to Tokyo, the three neighboring provinces of Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitma, as well as Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka. This allows the authorities to order citizens to stay in their homes and to close schools and other facilities.

10:18 Wieler: "We can't assume an easing of the situation yet

Despite the declining number of new infections, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) believes that the situation cannot yet be expected to ease. "We will have to wait for the next few days to see whether there is a trend in the reports," said RKI President Lothar Wieler. In the meantime, 33,300 infected people have recovered. This is an " encouraging number". However, numerous more deaths must be expected.

9:36 Industry expecting sharp downturn in production

According to a survey by the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, the German industry is expecting a massive decline in production over the next three months due to the coronavirus crisis. The index for production expectations fell by 22.8 points to -20.8 points in March, the Institute reported – the sharpest decline since the start of the survey in 1991. Even during the global financial crisis, the index only fell by 13.3 points in November 2008. Economic researchers believe that actual production in the next few months could fall even further than the index is suggesting. "We are assuming that this development is still somewhat underestimated, as most of the answers were received by mid-March," said the economist who led on the survey, Klaus Wohlrabe.

09:26 New Zealand minister flouts curfew regulations

New Zealand’s Minister of Health David Clark and his family have violated the strict lockdown and social distancing regulations that have been put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Clark admitted to driving almost 20 kilometers by car to go to the beach with his family, something he is remorseful about. “I was an idiot and I understand why people are angry with me,” he said. He also admitted to driving to a park near his house with his mountain bike to keep fit.  
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that under normal circumstances she would have dismissed Clark. However, during the coronavirus crisis, New Zealand could not afford any disruption to its health system. Therefore, she has only dismissed him as deputy finance minister and demoted him within the Cabinet.

09:00 Altmaier warns against premature lifting of protective measures

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Peter Altmaier, has warned against being pressured in the debate on easing coronavirus protection measures after Easter. The CDU politician told the ZDF-Morgenmagazin "that we must not lose our resolve so close to the end." The Federal Government will "hold their nerve" and then decide on whether to ease the measures, should the available data permit a decision. "That is not the case right now."  
In relation to the economy, however, the minister envisages a gradual lifting of the restrictions after Easter. "There will be areas where we can be more flexible, and others where we need to be more careful."

08:00 Here's what happened last night

  • CoViD-19 numbers for Germany: Robert Koch Institut reports 99,225 infected and 1,607 deaths
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson with corona virus in intensive care
  • France reports a new highest level of corona deaths
  • Discussion on corona bonds continues
  • China reports no new deaths for the first time