This is the live blog for April 14, 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 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

  • 117 million children worldwide could miss measles vaccination according to WHO
  • Müller: Loosening only in weeks
  • Death rate in Great Britain significantly higher than previously reported.
  • The RKI reports fewer new cases over Easter.
  • US President Trump will make the decision on coronavirus measures on his own.

17:39 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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17:31 Refugee children to arrive on Saturday

The admittance of children from the refugee camps on the Greek islands, which was planned for this week, has been delayed until Saturday. A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior confirmed that a flight was planned for that day. Last week, the ministry had announced that it would accept 50 children and youths as an initial step.

Several EU countries agreed about a month ago to take at least 1,600 mostly unaccompanied children out of the camps.


17:12 Scholz promises basic pension on 1 January 2021

Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has reinforced that there will be a punctual introduction of the basic pension. "We will introduce the basic pension on January 1, 2021", the SPD politician told the newspapers in the Funke media group.

The German Pension Insurance Federation had stated earlier that the schedule for the introduction of the basic pension was in danger due to the coronavirus pandemic and the more difficult working conditions resulting from it. A spokesperson said that clerks and IT specialists were in their home offices and were not making progress at the hoped-for rate.

According to the bill passed by the cabinet, from January 1, 2021, approximately 1.3 million people with small pensions will receive an extra amount if they can prove that they have paid employment, child-rearing or care contributions for at least 33 years.


17:06 Schools in NRW to reopen after the Easter holidays

Schools are to gradually reopen after the Easter holidays in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state. It is expected that the first day-care children will also be allowed to return to the day-care centers a week later. This was announced to the German Press Agency by NRW Education Minister Yvonne Gebauer and NRW Family Minister Joachim Stamp.

Thus, North Rhine-Westphalia is the first state to announce a concrete schedule on how the strict regulations to contain the coronavirus could be eased. Tomorrow, the State Premiers plan to meet with Chancellor Merkel in a video conference to discuss how to proceed.

Shortly before this, North Rhine-Westphalia's State Premier Armin Laschet pleaded for a joint approach by the states. At the same time, individual solutions must be possible in some areas, said the CDU politician: “flexibility in basic agreement” is necessary. Flexible individual solutions would make sense, for example, for school-leaving exams.


16:38 Fewer measles vaccinations due to the coronavirus

According to the WHO, the coronavirus pandemic threatens to torpedo the international fight against measles. More than 117 million children in 37 countries could miss having a vaccination against the highly infectious disease. Large-scale vaccination campaigns have been suspended or interrupted because of the corona outbreak.

"When the difficult decision to suspend vaccination has been taken because of the spread of CoViD-19, we urge governments to step up their efforts in tracking unvaccinated children so that the most vulnerable populations can receive measles vaccination as soon as possible," the WHO explained. The WHO supported the suspension of mass measles vaccination programs to protect health workers. But this should not result in children not being vaccinated in the long term.


16:15 Slight fall in USA coronavirus deaths continues

The number of newly registered coronavirus deaths in the USA continues to fall slightly. After a peak of 2108 deaths on Friday, Johns Hopkins University has recorded 1877, 1557, and most recently 1509 new deaths within 24 hours throughout the USA in the last few days. It is unclear, however, whether this is already the start of a long-term reversal of the trend.

The USA is currently the country most severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic worldwide in terms of absolute figures from official statistics. More than half a million infections and more than 23,000 deaths have been officially recorded.


16:09 Laschet demands joint action from Germany’s states

North Rhine-Westphalia's State Premier Armin Laschet called for the federal states to take a joint approach prior to the coronavirus consultations between the State Premiers and Chancellor Angela Merkel. Laschet spoke out against "any state going it alone" after a meeting of the state cabinet. Rather, he said, "flexibility in basic agreement" was necessary when considering how and when coronavirus regulations could be relaxed.


15:40 Over 1,000 Covid-19 deaths in Sweden

In Sweden, more than 1,000 people have now died from Covid-19 disease. According to the health authority, there have been 1,033 deaths and 11,445 confirmed infections so far.

Sweden has registered the most cases in Scandinavia, before Norway (about 6,600 infections and 130 deaths) and Denmark (about 6,500 infections and 300 deaths). However, with its more than 10 million inhabitants, the country also has almost twice as many residents as Denmark, Norway, or Finland.

Unlike its Scandinavian neighbours, Sweden is pursuing a more liberal strategy in the fight against the spread of the Sars-CoV-2 virus: people can continue to go to restaurants and cafes, schools and kindergartens remain open. Public gatherings are only prohibited from crowds of 50.


15:13 IMF: More severe recession than during financial crisis

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects a global recession this year. Economic performance will shrink by three percent. This constitutes a worse economic slump than after the global financial crisis of 2008/2009.

For 2021, however, the IMF expects significant recovery. The global economy will then grow by a strong 5.8 percent over 2020. This does, however, presuppose that the corona pandemic is largely under control in the second half of 2020 and that economic life also returns to normal. The organisation warned, however, that the latest forecasts are still subject to "extreme uncertainty" in view of the ongoing pandemic.


15:07 Weil: "Initial, careful steps at the most"

Ahead of tomorrow’s consultations between the Federal and State governments on the corona crisis, Minister-President of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil, has tried to talk down hopes for any comprehensive easing of restrictions. "Nobody should have the illusion that we will get our old life back starting next week," said the SPD politician. At best, he said, one would "merely be able to talk about initial, cautious steps towards easing the restrictions". Further steps could only be taken gradually.

Politicians are facing strong pressure from many sides, he said: "Some citizens are very worried about the virus spreading too quickly, and are therefore sceptical about the entire debate on easing restrictions. Others would like to return to normality as quickly as possible."


14:59 traffic jam-minus record on Easter Sunday

The coronavirus crisis has allowed unusually smooth travel on the otherwise so busy Easter days. According to the ADAC, Easter Monday was the day with the least amounts of traffic jams for at least 15 years - the comparable data from the traffic club did not go back any further.

32 traffic jams in all of Germany on Easter Monday were not even half as many as on the least congested day in 2019, when 81 jams were counted on Christmas Eve. Easter Sunday, with 38 traffic jams, as well as Good Friday and Holy Saturday, with 68 and 62, were also well below the previous year's lows. Even Maundy Thursday - 2019 still one of the three most congested days of the year with 3400 traffic jams - was with 628 traffic jams far below the approximately 2000 of a regular average day.


14:44 Kramp-Karrenbauer: probably no special party conference

CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, in her own words, no longer expects a special party conference to elect her successor before the regular meeting of delegates at the beginning of December due to the coronavirus crisis. "My impression is that the further we get behind the summer break with a possible special party conference, the less need there is for a party conference that will then take place only a few weeks before the regular one," she told the news agency dpa. Friedrich Merz, one of her successor candidates, expressed similar sentiments.

A special party congress planned for the end of April had been cancelled in agreement with the successor candidates due to the crisis. The party does not expect that there could be an alternative date before the summer break, which begins in early July, due to the restrictions on major events.

At the party conference, 1001 delegates were to elect a successor to Kramp-Karrenbauer.


13:48 Special protection for newborns in Bangkok

To protect them from the novel coronavirus, babies are given specially made face protection on labor wards in Bangkok. The transparent face shield aims to protect newborns a Sars-CoV-2 infection. The face protection with a matching hat was developed at the hospital Praram 9. Other hospitals have also adopted the idea to make sure that babies remain protected on their way home from the labor ward.


13:28 Growing demand for aid loans

The demand for coronavirus aid loans from the state-owned development bank KfW is continuing to rise. By Thursday evening, loan applications for a total volume of €21.86 billion had been received, approximately €700 million more than the previous day, the KfW announced. Starting tomorrow, the state-owned development bank will face a new wave of applications. From then on, companies can apply for so-called KfW quick loans. In this aid program for small and medium-sized enterprises, the federal government assumes the entire risk for loans of up to €800,000. In addition, the criteria for granting loans have also been simplified. However, the KfW won't be able to pay out the money until until the end of the month.

It is likely that many banks and savings banks will have to make advance payments, allowing the first round of funds to be paid out this week. "The credit industry stands ready and is making every effort to support small and medium-sized enterprises with all its resources within the framework of the new program," the German banking associations assured in a joint statement.


12:59 Berlin's mayor: Restrictions probably won't be lifted until after April 27

Berlin's governing mayor Michael Müller (SPD) does not expect the curfew to be lifted quickly. "Once we are able to relax measures, it will still take a few days to implement these changes," Müller told rbb. He assumes that changes to the curfew could be made from April 27 or May 1.


12:46 Spahn expects a uniform approach from states

The Federal Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, is counting on the federal and state governments to pull together on the possible relaxation of coronavirus measures. Spahn said he expects a "unified decision" from tomorrow's consultations with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the heads of state governments.  He added, however, that it is "perfectly normal", that in politics as in society, there should first be debates about the right approach to the coronavirus crisis.


12:21 Austria sees itself "on course"

In view of the favorable development in the coronavirus figures, the Austrian government has drawn a positive interim balance. "We are on course", said Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz. The discipline and perseverance of the citizens has led to the opening of small shops and DIY and garden centres, he said, as a first step towards a "new normality". Furthermore, the stipulation "as much freedom as possible, as many restrictions as necessary" was still valid. It is currently planned to open all stores on May 2. According to the current timetable, restaurants and pubs may also reopen from mid-May onwards. However, the government reserves the right to pull the emergency brake at any time if necessary.


12:15 Bouffier is sceptical about the proposal to open elementary schools quicker

Hesse's Prime Minister Volker Bouffier is very sceptical about the proposal to open elementary schools quicker during the coronavirus crisis. He does not see Hesse going down this path, said the CDU politician with regard to the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. The researchers are in favour of starting with a gradual opening of schools, among others in elementary schools. The Leopoldina's statement was not convincing to him in all areas, Bouffier said. It is just one recommendation among many.


12:12 Football fan groups: Resistance against "ghost games" crumbles

Several football fan groups have apparently reconsidered their position on so-called "ghost games" in the first and second Bundesliga. A spokeswoman for the association "Unsere Kurve" said that there was currently "no final position", after she had rejected matches without spectators in March. The "Pro Fans" organization is also no longer opposed to matches without spectators: "The understanding for ghost games has become widely accepted in the scene," a spokesperson explained. Many clubs are in over their heads, he said.


12:05 Söder warns of "bidding war"

Prior to the Minister Presidents' consultation with Chancellor Angela Merkel on an exit strategy from the anti-coronavirus measures, Bavaria's head of government Markus Söder warned against a bidding war. "We need a safe and level-headed way out of the coronavitus crisis", the CSU politician wrote on Twitter. "Our measures are working, but we must not risk a setback." Careful easing of the situation could only be achieved with additional protection. "There should not be a bidding war that makes people insecure," he wrote. Measure and balance are needed.


12:01 Student associations demand "optional semester"

The upcoming summer semester is to be considered an "optional semester" according to the wishes of student representatives. In addition to the suspension of the standard study period and voluntary courses, they are also petitioning for the postponement of all deadlines and the right to repeat examinations. Universities are very keen to switch teaching to online formats. However, many students will not be able to perform as required in the foreseeable future. A solution was suggested that the summer semester not be included in the standard study period. This would reduce financial disadvantages, for example in the case of Bafög.


11:54 Ethicist Woopen warns against generalized treatment of the risk group

Christiane Woopen, Chair of the European Ethics Council, has warned against isolating people who are particularly at risk from the coronavirus. In her opinion, it would be an unfortunate development if a conflict between the generations were now to be stirred up, Woopen told tagesschau24. If relatives of the risk group voluntarily impose restrictions on themselves because they can cope with it, this would be helpful for their own protection. But there are also many affected people who are currently in great need. They must be helped to live as selfsufficiently as possible even in times of crisis.


11:18 Federal Statistical Office: 1.1 million students in graduating classes affected by school closures

According to the Federal Statistical Office, school closures will affect up to 1.1 million students in their graduation year. The graduating classes of vocational schools are not included in this estimate. According to preliminary results of the authority, a total of some 8.3 million students at general schools and 2.4 million at vocational schools will be affected by school closures this year which are currently scheduled to last at least until the end of the Easter holidays.


10:55 Great Britain: death rate significantly higher than previously reported

In Great Britain, more people have died as a result of the coronavirus infection than previously reported. According to newly published official data, the figures from the beginning of April are 15 percent higher than previously reported by the National Health Service. According to these figures, there were 6235 coronavirus deaths in England and Wales by April 3rd.


10:22 RKI President Wieler: fewer cases, but also fewer tests

The number of reported new infections of Covid-19 in Germany decreased over Easter. This was announced by the president of the Robert Koch Institute at today's press conference. However, there was also less testing carried out over the holidays. Overall, there were several positive trends, to which all people in Germany have contributed, Wieler said. He added that it was possible to decouple the flu and Covid-19 waves. This would give hospitals more intensive care capacities. Overall, there are currently sufficient treatment capacities, so that bottlenecks are not expected given the current dynamics, explained the RKI head. The scientist called on the population not to relax their adherence to the protective measures. Those who can, should stay at home, and those who move around outside should observe the rules of distance and hygiene. The greater the discipline, "the better the reward will be," said Wieler.


09:54 Coronavirus cabinet meeting scheduled for tomorrow instead

The next consultation of the coronavirus cabinet will take place tomorrow morning at 9.30 a.m. This was announced by the Federal Government. Originally, the meeting was scheduled for today. According to reports, there will be a video conference between the Federal Government and the state prime ministers tomorrow afternoon to discuss the easing of contact restrictions.


09:40 Lambrecht against isolation of risk groups

Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht has refused to tackle the coronavirus crisis by isolating the elderly and chronically ill. "Everyone has fundamental rights, regardless of age," the SPD politician told the German editorial network, RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland. She also stressed that it wasn’t just at-risk groups that were vulnerable, young people were also falling seriously ill.
"Playing generations off against each other is certainly not the right way. We will examine all means of easing crisis-related constraints as quickly and as responsibly as possible," Lambrecht announced. "Locking away" certain sections of the population was "definitely" not an option.


09:15 "Green investments" demanded after the coronavirus crisis

European politicians, business leaders, and activists are demanding increased investment in more environmentally friendly initiatives following the coronavirus crisis. These "green investments", which safeguard the climate and foster biodiversity, would make the economies stronger than they were before coronavirus. "After the crisis, the time will come for regeneration," wrote 180 EU MEPs, business managers, trade unionists, non-governmental organisations, and experts in a joint letter.
"The transformation to a climate-neutral economy, the protection of biodiversity, and the restructuring of the agricultural and food industry offer the opportunity to quickly build jobs and growth – and can contribute to making societies more resilient." This transformation should be based on the EU Commission’s "Green Deal" – its objective is for the European Union to be climate neutral by the year 2050.


09:12 Walter-Borjans for cautious easing of protective measures

SPD leader Norbert Walter-Borjans is pushing for cautious easing of restrictions in the debate on coronavirus measures. In his view, maintaining the restrictions in their current form would cause an increase in "psychological and economic pressure," he told the "Süddeutsche Zeitung". However, things couldn’t simply "return to normal", the situation was too fragile for that.  
"We all have an interest in restoring the supply of goods and services as quickly as possible," Walter-Borjans continued. He said he preferred a household goods or furniture store that could only be entered wearing a mask over closed shops that restricted supply and threatened hundreds of thousands of economic existences.
The SPD leader described it as "unacceptable" for parents and children if schools were to remain closed for longer. However, opening them meant that the risk of infection would rise significantly. Thus, any easing of government requirements was "a question of conscience that needs to be intensively discussed, not only among, but also within, the parties".


09:07 Green leaders in favor of gradual reopening of schools and nurseries

Green Party leaders Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck have called for the gradual reopening of schools and nurseries – accompanied by precautionary measures. "Final year students should be the first to return to school," they stated in a letter to party members. Years 1 to 6 should also take priority, because caring for younger students was particularly important. "Nurseries should be reopened gradually," Baerbock and Habeck said – first for children with one parent in so-called key worker professions, then also for others, especially in places with low rates of infection.
The two leaders have also suggested to divide groups of school pupils and nursery children into smaller groups. The Academy of Sciences Leopoldina had recommended to leave nurseries open until the summer vacation, and only prepare five and six-year olds for primary school, with no more than five children in one room.


08:55 Misereor warns against "mass deaths" in refugee camps

The Catholic aid organization Misereor fears a disaster in African slums and "mass deaths" in the refugee camps in and around Syria, should the coronavirus spread strongly there. Director General Pirmin Spiegel told the SWR that people in the camps could neither abide by the rules of separation or hygiene nor stay at home because they had no home. Moreover, it was difficult for aid workers to even gain access to those in need at the Syrian refugee camps. He called for an "immediate ceasefire" there.  
Misereor had called for donations for Syria and Lebanon in this year's fasting and Easter collectives. However, because of the coronavirus measures, the aid agency is fearing a decline in donations since most services and religious events have had to be cancelled.


08:00 Here's what happened last night

  • CoViD-19 numbers for Germany: Robert Koch Institut reports 125,098 infected and 2,969 deaths
  • Leopoldina's proposals for a gradual return to normality are met with approval
  • The death count in the state of New York rises to more than 10,000, but the curve flattens
  • France extends curfews until May 11
  • Coronavirus ten times more fatal than "swine flu" according to WHO