This is the live blog for April 26, 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

  • Robert Koch Institute reports 1,737 new cases of CoViD-19 in Germany
  • Wuhan reports zero CoViD-19 patients hospitalized
  • Scholz rules out economic aids to corporations that will pay out a dividend to shareholders
  • Schools in Italy to remain closed until September
  • Boris Johnson to return to business on Monday
  • Australia introduces coronavirus tracing app

16:30 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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16:01 Protective masks from China have arrived at Leipzig/Halle Airport

A first delivery of millions of protective masks from China have arrived at Leipzig/Halle airport. The transport aircraft Antonow 124 landed in the morning, according to a spokesperson for the Saxony Dept of the Federal Armed Forces. Another delivery with the world’s largest freight aircraft, the Antonow 225, is expected tomorrow. Federal Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer will be available to receive the masks. According to the Federal Army, the “air bridge” from China consists of a total of three freight flights. Approximately 25 million protective masks will be flown to Germany.

15:07 Saxony: Zoos to reopen on May 4th

Zoos and botanical gardens in Saxony should reopen from May 4th. This has been agreed by the State Government of Saxony, said Minister-President Michael Kretschmer in Halle. He had previously consulted with his colleague MP of Saxony-Anhalt, Reiner Haseloff, on the further course of action in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Details on the reopening of zoos and similar facilities still need to be worked out, said Kretschmer. Long queues are to be avoided and the number of visitors should be limited. In Saxony-Anhalt, zoos have reopened since Thursday, with similar restrictions in place.

14:39 Coordinating Council of Muslims against early opening of mosques

The spokesperson for the Coordinating Council of Muslims has reaffirmed that mosques in Germany will remain closed nationwide until at least the beginning of May. "We, as Islamic federations, have agreed that we will not open the mosques before the beginning of May, even if it were legally possible in some federal countries," Burhan Kesici told the newspaper "Die Welt". The Council wanted a national approach, and so was awaiting the talks between the government and the states on 30 April.
Whatever the outcome, mosques would be opened gradually, Kesici continued. Friday prayers would remain suspended. Furthermore, only mosques that could guarantee the hygiene requirements would reopen. However, contrary to previous reports, Kesici said that no decision had yet been made regarding face masks. It was "highly likely they would become mandatory" but this would be discussed with experts first.

14:01 Australia introduces coronavirus tracing app

Australia has introduced a contact tracing app to track coronavirus infections. Privacy concerns about the smartphone app "COVIDSafe" are unfounded, the authorities said. The app uses Bluetooth technology to store information about encounters between people when a person has been infected with the novel coronavirus. This data can be accessed by the authorities.
The head of the health authorities, Brendan Murphy, said the app could accelerate the "challenging process" of tracking. The use of the app is voluntary. It only has one function, and only the health authorities will have access, "no one else," said Health Minister Greg Hunt.

13:50 Animals on Dutch mink farms carrying coronavirus

Animals on two mink farms in the Netherlands have tested positively for the Covid-19 lung disease. Employees of the two farms had previously shown symptoms of the disease, the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture informed. It is therefore assumed that these infections were transmitted from animals to humans. Some of the roads around the farms have now been closed as a precaution.
Minks are not the first animals to become infected with coronavirus. There have already been positive tests of domestic cats and some tigers and lions in zoos in the US.

13:09 Children in Spain allowed outside for fresh air – briefly

Children in Spain are allowed outside for the first time in six weeks. The Spanish government is now allowing children under the age of 14 to leave their homes. They are allowed to go for a walk with one of their parents for up to one hour within one kilometer of their home. Children are allowed to take a toy, but not play with other children. They are required to maintain a distance of one meter from other people. Parks are closed in Spain. Spain has some of the strictest lockdown measures in the world. The measures helped to reduce the daily rate of infection by more than 20 percent a month ago to less than two percent this week. The country has recorded nearly 225,000 coronavirus cases. There have been nearly 23,000 deaths due to the virus. The actual number is presumed to be much higher.

12:56 450 residents in high-rise complex to be tested

Because two families have repeatedly violated the coronavirus lockdown measures, all 450 inhabitants of a high-rise complex are now being tested for the virus in Grevenbroich near Düsseldorf.

11:51 Emergency care in Bavaria to be extended from Monday

Emergency care for children in Bavaria will be extended from Monday onwards. The necessary application forms will be available online from now on, the Bavarian Ministry for Family Affairs informed. The new regulation is mainly aimed at supporting employed single parents. Even if only one parent is in a so-called key worker role, the child can now be supervised. Teachers, tax and legal advisors as well as pastoral caregivers are also entitled to emergency care for their children from the beginning of the week. However, the conditions for receiving care are that the child cannot be supervised by another adult in the household, the Ministry emphasized. According to the Ministry, carers are recommended to wear face masks should they be unable to maintain a distance of 1.5 meters to the children in certain situations. Contact with parents should also be reduced as much as possible.

11:40 Klöckner calls for bonus for supermarket employees

Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner is calling on supermarkets to pay a bonus to their employees. Compared to other sectors, the food industry is doing very well during the coronavirus crisis, she told the Funke media group. "The German government has made it possible to make a corona bonus tax-free. I would be very pleased if many employers in the food industry would also pay their employees a bonus - they deserve it."

11:33 Spain reports the lowest number of daily deaths for more than a month

According to the Ministry of Health of Spain, 288 people died from of a CoViD-19 within the last 24 hours. This is the lowest number of deaths within one day for more than a month. A total of 23,190 people have now died in Spain. The number of confirmed infections increased to 207,634 from 205,905 the day before.

11:31 Kretschmann plans to increase coronavirus testing

Coronavirus tests are to be significantly increased in Baden-Württemberg with immediate effect. Minister President Winfried Kretschmann, together with Health Minister Manne Lucha, announced that in addition to the recommendations of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) tests will not only be carried out on people with coronavirus symptoms. The increased testing scheme will now also include people who do not show any symptoms but have been in close contact with people who have tested positive, who work in clinics and in inpatient care, or in an environment where cases of the virus are more frequent. Kretschmann said that it is absolutely necessary to prevent "a massive increase in the number of cases". Therefore, one must "test, test, test". This increase in testing, in addition to the mandatory wearing of masks when shopping and in public transport as of Monday, is "a very effective method to keep the pandemic under control", he said.

11:15 Watzke: Security concept for Bundesliga will not change

Borussia Dortmund's Managing Director Hans-Joachim Watzke has ruled out any amendment to the German football security concept for the restart of the Bundesliga and the 2nd division. "More is not possible", Watzke said to Sky. "If you reject our concept now, it also won't change in eight weeks," he said. "We have developed a maximum level of security. That we have to fight one-on-one is just the way it is. Even when the hairdresser opens, there will be physical contact. They can, however, compensate for it with a face mask. We can dampen it by isolating our players as much as possible and doing long-term tests."  In any case, a possible re-start would be subject to many conditions. The German Soccer League hopes to resume the season, which was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, in May. The DFL has presented a medical concept for this. Ghost games will be used to complete the remaining nine match days in the Bundesliga and the 2nd division. The clubs could then also have the rest of the agreed TV funds at their disposal. A sum of allegedly 300 million euros is at stake.

10:32 Beijing penalizes "uncivilized" behavior

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Chinese capital Beijing has banned "uncivilised" behavior. Sneezing or coughing without covering the nose or mouth will be prohibited from now on, according to the city administration. A fine is also expected for citizens who do not wear a mask in public. To protect health, distances of one meter are to be marked in public places. In addition, inappropriate clothing will also be prohibited. These include the so-called "Beijing bikini" - the habit of Chinese men to roll up their T-shirts when temperatures rise and walk around with their stomachs exposed. Penalties have also been increased for a number of other "uncivilised" behaviours. For spitting or relieving oneself in public places, the fine has been quadrupled to 200 yuan (26 euros). Those who make noise or walk their dog without a leash are even threatened with a fine of up to 500 Yuan.

10:12 Wuhan: No more coronavirus patients in hospitals

In the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus pandemic originated, the authorities have reported that there are no longer any coronavirus patients in the hospital. All coronavirus patients have been discharged, according to a spokesperson for the National Health Commission. A total of 46,452 cases had been reported from the city, which represented 56 percent of all cases in China. A total of 3869 people died in Wuhan according to official figures, which equals 84 percent of all deaths in China.

09:30 Coronavirus app available in Australia

The Australian government is promoting the use of a voluntary but controversial app for tracking infected persons and evaluating potential infections. "It will help us return to normality and the Australian way of life," said Health Minister Greg Hunt in a television broadcast to mark the launch of the app. Progress is being made in the fight against the coronavirus. "But we haven't won yet." Hunt assures that the data collected is safe. The government hopes that at least 40 percent of the population will participate in the project. Germany is also planning a coronavirus app, but heated debates have been going on for several days.

09:14 Italy's schools to remain closed until September

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, schools in Italy will remain closed through the summer holidays and reopen in September. This was announced by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in an interview in the newspaper "La Repubblica". He also announced that "strategically" important economic activities should be restarted quickly, possibly as early as next week. Priority should also be given to production and industrial sectors that are export-oriented and run the risk of dropping out of supply chains. The government announced a fundamental easing of restrictions from May 4 onwards. The cabinet is still working on the details, said Conte. Italy has been hit hard by coronavirus disease. It registered more than 26,000 corona deaths as of Saturday. Strict curfews have been in place since March 10. On March 5, the government closed schools, universities, and daycare centers.

08:00 Here's what happened last night

  • Robert Koch Institute reports 1,737 new cases of CoViD-19 in Germany increasing the total to 154,175
  • Scholz rules out economic aids to corporations that will pay out a dividend to shareholders
  • Boris Johnson back to lead the British government on Monday
  • German government confirms that Chinese diplomats tried to push for positive reports on the Chinese management of CoViD-19
  • More than 200,000 people have died from CoViD-19 worldwide, following reports from Johns-Hopkins-University