This is the live blog for April 23, 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.

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Short facts

  • MV and SH to ease entry ban
  • China pays WHO an additional $30 million
  • Millions of new unemployment registrations in the USA
  • Nearly one-fifth of German companies planning to reduce jobs
  • Giffey rejects coronavirus special conditions for seniors

17:37: 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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17:24 Increase in so-called excess mortality

There have been significantly more deaths in Europe in recent weeks in comparison to previous years. The ARD broadcaster Faktenfinder (Fact Finder) looked at the situation in the different EU countries and Germany.

17:20 Lagarde warns EU against hesitation to act

The head of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde, warned the EU countries at the EU summit being held now about not responding adequately to the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. She sees a risk of "acting too little and too late". The ECB estimates that the crisis could lead to economic performance in the eurozone falling by up to 15 percent this year.

17:10 Airlines demand more time for refunds

The International Air Transport  Association (IATA) has demanded more time for airlines in the EU to refund tickets already purchased by customers. At the moment, there is a period of seven days for this. This could not be guaranteed due to the airlines‘ huge losses, according to IATA which insisted on a period of one month. Compared to 2019, the airlines have to expect a drop in passenger numbers in Europe by 55 percent this year. This means a loss of about $89 billion which the airlines have to make up.

16:41 MV and SH to ease entry ban in early May

Second homeowners with flats in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern or Schleswig-Holstein will soon be able to use them again.
Manuela Schwesig (SPD), the State Premier of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, announced that owners of such flats will be allowed to enter the federal state again from 1 May. Furthermore, permanent campers living in the federal state will be able to return to the campsites there.
Schleswig-Holstein also wants to grant second homeowners with flats entry from 4 May. This was stated by State Premier Daniel Günther (CDU).

16:29 France plans a uniform exit from restrictions

France intends to gradually ease the strict restrictions in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus from 11 May. This should not be done to varying degrees "region by region" but uniformly across the country, stressed President Emmanuel Macron in a video conference with French mayors. Thus, the wearing of simple masks in public should not be a duty but should be recommended. The decision by parents to send children back to school from 11 May should be made voluntarily.

16:23 Greetings by bus

The city transport company STIB-MIVB in Brussels has thought of something special in the coronavirus crisis: residents can send transport company messages for friends, family, or colleagues - and they are then taken by bus to the respective recipient and called out.

16:13 Games behind closed doors until next year?

It is still open when the current football season can be ended and that affects the possible start of the 2020/2021 season said DFL boss Christian Seifert.
"We have asked the clubs to plan the first part of the next season without spectators," said Seifert. He hasn’t excluded there being games behind closed doors in February and March.

16:08 More than 2000 coronavirus deaths in Sweden

More than 2000 people have already died as a result of coronavirus infection in Sweden, according to the health authority. More than 16,700 cases have been detected throughout the country since the outbreak of the pandemic According to the health authority.

16:04 Saxony's theater season ends early

The state theatres in Saxony have agreed with the Ministry of Culture of the Federal State on an early end to the 2019/2020 season. Discussions are also being held with Also with non-state theatres, stated the Minister of Culture Barbara Klepsch (CDU).

15:58 AfD proposal to lift restrictions rejected

Politicians from other political parties have greeted a demand of the AfD Bundestag faction to rapidly lift restrictions in place because of to the coronavirus pandemic with great rejection.

A proposal from the AfD faction, which foresees the immediate opening of restaurants, hotels, houses of worship, theaters, concert halls, sports venues, and shops, under observance of hygiene and distance rules, was rejected by all the other political groups.

Green MP Kirsten Kappert-Gonther called the proposals "crude and hostile to citizens". "They give a false sense of security," criticized health politician Rudolf Henke (CDU).

Detlev Spangenberg, who presented the request for the AfD, accused the Federal Government that it had first reacted too late, then exaggerated, and now acts reluctantly" in the coronavirus crisis.

15:44 Support for protective measures

According to a survey conducted by several universities under the direction of the University of Hamburg, most of the citizens living in Europe are in favour of the restrictions imposed by the Corona pandemic.

More than 60 percent of the respondents described the conditions as correct, only 16 percent rejected them. In particular, the ban on events, the closure of borders and the suspension of school education were widely understood.

Given the spread of the virus, the concern about overloading the health system among the survey participants is the greatest, followed by the economic impact of the crisis.

In the context of the survey, 7,500 representative persons were surveyed in Germany, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

15:34 Visits to the hairdresser will become a bit more expensive

A visit to the hairdresser will be a little bit more expensive in times of the coronavirus. The Association of German Hairdressers expects an average price increase of one or two euros.

The underlying reasons include new hygiene regulations. Dry cuts are forbidden for the time being, for example. The cost for additional protective clothing is also reflected in the prices.

15:25 Late cancer diagnoses because of the pandemic?

To study the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the treatment of cancer patients, the German Cancer Aid, the German Cancer Research Center, and the German Cancer Society have established a joint task force. Its experts now warn that cancer diseases might be diagnosed too late as a result of the crisis.

The task force talked of "restrictions in several areas of oncological care", such as postponed examinations and early detection procedures. This would only be tolerable over a short period of time, as tumors might otherwise first be detected at an advanced stage," warned Michael Baumann, Head of the Board of the German Cancer Research Center.

In addition, many people currently forego medical visits out of fear for the virus, which could lead to a wave of late cancer diagnoses, the task force continues.

The doctors still think that the care and treatment of cancer patients is safe; currently there are no "threatening supply bottlenecks”. However, the supply system faces great stress, which could have a negative impact on cancer patients in the future.

15:00 Life returns to deserted city centers

The reopening of smaller shops attracts people to the shopping streets, especially in large cities. Trade breathes a bit.

14:57 Greece extends curfew

The restrictions that have been in force in Greece since March 22 due to the coronavirus pandemic have been extended until May 4 by the government. This means that only a few shops such as banks and supermarkets will remain open for the time being. Citizens will also need to continue to inform the authorities when they leave their homes, which is only allowed for essential reasons.

Next week, the head of government Kyriakos Mitsotakis wants to inform the public of possible relaxations, a government spokesman told us. The measures should be phased out gradually in May and June, and the relaxations will be reviewed on a weekly basis.

As a result of the extended curfew, the relocation of around 1,500 refugees from the overcrowded camps on the island of Lesbos to the mainland is also delayed. The resettlement was scheduled for Saturday, but now only a much smaller number of refugees - especially older and sick migrants - will be relocated for the time being.

14:49 Unemployment in the USA continues to rise dramatically

Over the past week, another 4.4 million Americans submitted a first application for unemployment benefits, the US Department of Labor reported. This is the fifth week in a row that millions of people have applied for support. Since the outbreak of the pandemic in the USA, more than 26 million people have lost their jobs.

14:45 Voss-Tecklenburg welcomes new date for the Women's European Championships

National team coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg considers the decision made by the Union of European Football Associations to postpone the women's soccer European Championships to 2022 to be the right step. And she hopes that the new date will even be an advantage for the sport.

"I welcome the fact that our European Championships will take place in 2022 and thus not at the same time as the men's tournament," said Voss-Tecklenburg: "Regardless of the fact that hosting the Women's European Championships in 2021 would have been hard to imagine in light of the postponement of the Olympic Games, we need the unique selling point in soccer to draw the greatest possible attention."

14:33 Drivers must still be recognizable with masks

Drivers must remain identifiable while wearing protective masks. Anyone sitting behind the steering wheel may not cover themselves up to the point of being unrecognizable, the Westpfalz police headquarters in Kaiserslautern announced and pointed  to the road traffic regulations.

If a mask covers the mouth and nose, and the driver is therefore still recognizable by their eyes and forehead, for example on pictures taken by traffic surveillance cameras, this is not a violation, the police department continued. Violations of the concealment ban could be punished with a fine of 60 euros.

14:18 Söder warns of potential relapse

Bavarian State Premier Markus Söder has warned that easing the coronavirus protection measures too soon could lead to a possible relapse and uncontrolled spread of the pandemic.

"If there is a relapse, the economic damage will no longer be quantifiable and compensable," the head of the CSU said at a joint appearance with Baden-Wuerttemberg's head of government Winfried Kretschmann (Green Party) in Ulm.

14:10 More than 35,000 cases in the Netherlands

The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the Netherlands has increased by nearly 900 in the past 24 hours to a total of more than 35,700 cases. In addition, another 123 people have died from the disease, as the health authorities have reported. As a result, the number of deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic has risen to more than 4,100.

13:50 Prague court declares anti-coronavirus measures unlawful

A court in Prague has declared most of the coronavirus measures implemented by the Czech Government to be unlawful. The decision specifically refers to the curfew imposed on the population as well as the forced closure of retail. The measures should have been adopted as emergency laws, not as exceptional regulations set by the Ministry of Health, the judges decided.

The government led by Prime Minister Andrej Babis now has until Monday to rectify this, a court spokesperson told the German Press Agency. Only then will the decision, which applies across the nation, become final.

13:41 Women's European Soccer Championships in England postponed to summer 2022

Originally scheduled to take place next year, the Women’s European Championships will now be held from July 6 to 31, 2022. The executive committee of the European Football Union has already determined the new date. England will still be the host. Along with the postponement of the men's European Championships, the tournament had initially been postponed indefinitely to summer 2021 due to the coronavirus crisis. Originally, the women were scheduled to play from July 7 to August 1, 2021.

13:33 Virus crisis puts a damper on spending

In Germany, the virus crisis has led to a historic low  in consumer spending. GfK market researchers are expecting their barometer to drop by 25.7 points to negative 23.4 points in May. "The consumer climate is currently in free fall," GfK expert Rolf Bürkl explained. Economists questioned by Reuters had only predicted a decline to negative 1.8 points.

Citizens were surveyed in the first two weeks of April when, according to the Nuremberg-based market researchers, they first felt the full extent of the containment measures, including school and business closures. Meanwhile, however, hope is growing that after the revival of the inner cities following the reopening of some shops, retailers will start to make a profit again.

13:08 More than 22,000 coronavirus deaths in Spain

In Spain, more than 22,000 people have died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Over the past 24 hours, 440 coronavirus deaths were recorded, according to the Ministry of Health in Madrid. The total number of deaths in the country has hereby risen to 22,157. Only the USA and Italy have recorded more coronavirus deaths.

The daily number of corona deaths in Spain has risen for the third time in a row. On Monday, the country reached the lowest level for four weeks with 399 deaths, on Tuesday the number rose to 430, and on Wednesday to 435. At the peak of the coronavirus crisis in Spain, there had been 950 coronavirus deaths within one day.

13:04 EU Commission considers coronavirus aid in the amount of EUR 2 trillion

According to an internal document, the European Commission is considering providing EUR 2 trillion in funding for reconstruction after the coronavirus crisis. In addition to a new fund, the Commission plans to tap into the EU budget for the years 2021 to 2027 in order to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic and restore economic growth after the crisis. The document states that the Commission could receive EUR 320 billion on the financial market and pass about half of this on to governments in Europe. Part of these funds could be paid out as direct subsidies.

12:32 China to pay an additional $30 million to WHO

Following the USA's suspension of payments to the World Health Organization (WHO), China has announced an increase in its contribution. Beijing will provide the WHO with a further 30 million dollars (28 million euros) to fight the coronavirus pandemic, in addition to the 20 million dollars already pledged, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said. The USA had been the largest contributor to WHO up to now. However, US President Trump announced last week that he would suspend payments. He is accusing the WHO of "mismanagement" in the coronavirus crisis and bias in favour of China. The US-move triggered worldwide outrage.

12:28 After relaxation: City centres are reviving differently

The German city centers are reviving very differently after the first easings of the coronavirus restrictions for the retail trade. This is based on figures from the Corona Data Monitor of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).

In Munich, only 13 percent of the usual volume of foot traffic was registered after the relaxation, compared to eight percent before. In Mannheim it was 56 percent after and 28 percent before the relaxation. Hamburg had the second lowest figure after Munich in the strict lockdown with eleven percent of foot traffic. Here, the loosening of restrictions resulted in an increase to 36 percent of the usual level. The increase is greater in Mainz, where the figure climbed from twelve to 45 percent. However, Hanover made the biggest leap: 17 percent of the usual number of passers-by were there before the relaxation, 54 percent afterwards.

In Frankfurt am Main, 29 percent of passers-by still visited the city even during the strict lockdown, the highest figure among the major cities. Now it is 51 percent. Berlin is in midfield: Before the restrictions were eased, the figure was 18 percent, afterwards 27 percent. In Karlsruhe, the percentage dropped slightly from 23 to 21 percent of the usual number of passers-by in the city.

11:30 State initiative for further easing in gastronomy and retail

Together with her colleagues from Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg's Minister of Economic Affairs, Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut (CDU), hopes to implement further and above all uniform easing of the coronavirus restrictions. Gastronomy and hotels in particular should be given a perspective for the period after May 4, but there must also be further opportunities in the retail sector, the state Economics Ministry announced.

11:24 Vietnam eases coronavirus restrictions

China's neighboring country Vietnam has begun to ease restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus. A few cafés have reopened in the capital Hanoi, but the streets remain virtually empty.  On Wednesday, after six consecutive days without any registered new infections with the coronavirus, the Vietnamese government decided to allow some shops and service providers to reopen. So far the country has only had 268 officially confirmed coronavirus infections and no deaths.

11:12 EU Council President calls for "unprecedented investment" after coronavirus crisis

According to EU Council President Charles Michel, the recovery of the economy after the coronavirus crisis will require "unprecedented investments" as part of a European Marshall Plan. The instruments for this are the EU budget and the European Investment Bank, Michel wrote on Twitter before the EU summit. The investments should be channelled into a green and digital transformation of the economy.

11:12  Recovering athletes with lung damage

The head of the Innsbruck hospital emergency ward, Frank Hartig, has detected severe lung damage caused by the coronavirus in divers. Although the athletes were able to recover from their illness in domestic quarantine, they are now likely to be lifelong pantients, the physician told the Austrian news agency APA. They will not be able to practice their sport for the time being. Hartig recommends that everyone who has overcome the disease should undergo a medical examination.

10:53 Germans hoard less toilet paper

After initial panic buying at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, consumers in Germany seem to be gradually returning to everyday life. According to a special evaluation by the Federal Statistical Office, sales of toilet paper in the week after Easter, for example, were almost two thirds (minus 65 percent) below the average for the months of August 2019 to January 2020. Sales of other products such as pasta, rice, and strained tomatoes, which consumers had previously stocked up on, also fell. The statisticians suspect the reasons for this to be short-term supply bottlenecks and a fulfilment of demand.

10:32 Austria to bring nursing staff from Romania with corridor trains

Austria will use corridor trains to bring urgently needed nursing staff from Romania to the Alpine Republic. Starting on May 2, Romanian full-time caregivers could travel non-stop once a week through Hungary to their clients in need of care in Austria and return to their home country, said European Affairs Minister Karoline Edtstadler (ÖVP). The restrictions on leaving Romania for the 24-hour caregivers would also be relaxed.
Up to now, entry from Romania was only possible by plane due to the strict border regulations in Hungary.

10:03 Lindner announces "unanimity" between government and opposition

FDP leader Christian Lindner stated in parliament that the time of "great unanimity" between government and opposition in parliament is now over. He said that the FDP had supported the decisions on the lockdown, but that the country was now moving on. Now is the time to talk about how "health and freedom" can be better reconciled. He added, however, that this was not about pitting the two against each other.

10:01 AfD considers coronavirus measures largely superfluous

The AfD now considers the contact restrictions ordered by the Federal Government and the states to combat the coronavirus pandemic to be largely superfluous. Since most citizens are now keeping their distance and exercising caution, it is now time to "transfer the protective measures to private responsibility", Gauland said in the parliament.
He accused Chancellor Angela Merkel of having enforced the restrictions imposed on basic rights due to the danger of infection with a "basta mentality".

09:45 Merkel urges discipline

Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for endurance and discipline in the coronavirus crisis. The numbers of new cases and recoveries were a partial success, Merkel said. “But precisely because these figures give rise to hope, I am obliged to say that this interim result is fragile. We are moving on thin ice, on very thin ice.”
Today’s figures said nothing about how things might look in one or two weeks if more social contact was permitted in between. “If we instil the greatest possible endurance and discipline right at the beginning of this pandemic, then we will be able to return to economic, social and public life more quickly and sustainably.”

09:34 Merkel: EU rescue package needs to be implemented quickly

Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to implement the EU’s 500-billion-euro rescue package quickly. The funds should be available by 1 June. The Bundestag would also need to take decisions to this end.

09:34 Merkel: EU rescue package needs to be implemented quickly

Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to implement the EU’s 500-billion-euro rescue package quickly. The funds should be available by 1 June. The Bundestag would also need to take decisions to this end.

09:30 Merkel criticizes "brash approach"

Chancellor Angela Merkel has endorsed the decisions of the federal governments to ease restrictions, but also stressed that she was "worried about their implementation so far". The approach had sometimes been "very brash, if not too brash". This was followed by an appeal from the Chancellor: "Let us not squander what we have achieved and risk a setback. " It was necessary to act "wisely and cautiously".

09:21 Chancellor deems measures a success

In her government statement in the Bundestag, Chancellor Angela Merkel has stated she considers the measures taken so far a success. "Our health care system has stood the test so far."

09:12 Merkel: "We will have to live with this crisis for a long time”

In a government statement, Chancellor Angela Merkel has stressed that the "pandemic is a burden on democracy". Germany would have to live with the crisis for a long time yet.

09:02 Giffey once again rejects special coronavirus measures for older people

Minister for Family Affairs, Franziska Giffey (SPD), has once again rejected introducing special measures for older people during the coronavirus crisis. "You cannot simply lock up mature citizens by schematically setting an age limit for senior citizens," Giffey told the Focus Online. In terms of the debate about opening daycare centres and schools, the minister announced a concept for the coming week.

08:53 Brinkhaus concerned about costs of crisis

Union faction leader Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU) has expressed concerns about the cost of support measures during the coronavirus crisis. He told the RBB that the additional set of measures agreed overnight by the coalition committee was a big compromise. The tax reliefs for restaurant owners had been "a special wish" of Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder.

The SPD had advocated for an increase in short-time allowance. But Brinkhaus has emphasized that now only those workers whose hours have been reduced by at least 50 percent will be receiving an increase in short-time allowances, making the policy more means-tested. "We have taken care to ensure the matter doesn’t escalate financially," he said regarding the negotiation outcome for the CDU. He added that he was “staring to become concerned about the amount of money that is being spent on managing the crisis, because the whole thing needs to be paid for at some point.”

08:00 Here's what happened last night

  • CoViD-19 numbers for Germany: Robert Koch Institut reports 2,352 new infected (148,046  total) and 215 new deaths (5,094 total)
  • WHO: Declining trend in Western Europe
  • Austria wants to open borders soon
  • VW ramps up production again in Zwickau and Chemnitz
  • Trump signs decree on provisional immigration stop