This is the live blog for May 1, 2020.

Head here for today's news: https://www.lengoo.de/blog/05-28-2020-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 is 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

  • Railway needs billion-dollar financial injection
  • DGB demands better wages for systemically important occupations
  • WHO wants to participate in investigations into the origin of the virus
  • Nursing care employers warn against loosening up in retirement home
  • High number of sick notes in Germany
  • RKI: 1639 new infections

17:35 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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17:20 UNICEF: Vaccine reserves running out

The UN Children’s Fund UNICEF has warned against outbreaks of fatal and in fact preventable diseases as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Unicef spokesperson Marixie Mercado stated that the widespread paralysis in international aviation has led to a massive backlog in deliveries of standard vaccines to various regions. In the last two weeks alone, the planned deliveries have decreased by 70 to 80 percent. According to Mercado, more than two dozen hard-to-access countries in Africa and Asia run the risk of running out of vaccine stocks. Chad, Ghana, Guinea, Niger and Nepal  are among them: countries which all experienced measles outbreaks last year. “Children’s lives are in danger,” said Mercado.


16:53 102-year-old in Singapore survives coronavirus

A 102-year-old in Singapore has survived a coronavirus infection. After being released from hospital Yap Lai Hong‘s senior residence  said, "We welcome our resident, who has fought so hard and succeeded." Two other residents in the home had died of CoViD-19.


16:36 India extends curfew

India is extending the curfew by another two weeks. The government will continue having stricter measures in places that are declared to be "red zones" and "orange zones" where there are some coronavirus cases. New Delhi and Mumbai are among the "red zones". Movements of people and economic activities would be allowed in the "green zones" or areas with low risk, the Indian Ministry of the Interior reported. There have been curfews since March 25 for India‘s 1.3 billion inhabitants. India has registered more than 35,000 cases of coronavirus. 1147 people have died from the virus.


16.05 First Aid during the coronavirus

Every person must provide first aid in case of an emergency,  also during the coronavirus crisis. The German Red Cross (DRK) Mecklenburg-Vorpommern stated that the legal obligation to administer first aid remains despite the risk of infection. Your own safety always comes first  said DRK state doctor Bernd Müllejans. However, there are various ways to help. A safe distance of 1.50 meters from the injured or sick person should be maintained. However, this is at the discretion of the person helping, and according to what assistance is required. In any case, you should inform the rescue service and ask others for help. In case of a cardiac arrest, a layman giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation can be dispensed with and only cardiac massage carried out.


15:51 Rescue plan for Lufthansa seems to be in place

According to research by ARD, there seems to be a basic agreement on a rescue package for Lufthansa in place at the ministerial level. The fundamentals are said to be in place. Neither Lufthansa nor the Ministry of Economic Affairs has officially commented on the matter.

According to "Spiegel" news magazine, government representatives are in favour of a direct investment, with 5.5 billion euro expected to flow into Lufthansa in the form of a silent investment of the Federal Government. In return, the Federal Government appears to demand guaranteed dividends of nine percent. Moreover, the state wants to make a direct investment in Lufthansa with a share of 25.1 percent, which is expected to cost just under a billion. Another 3.5 billion euros are expected to be contributed by state-owned development bank (KfW). The government is willing to provide security.


15:36 India: Train brings more than a thousand migrant workers home

Indian authorities had brought more than a thousand stranded migrant workers home to their villages in a train. The train traveled from the south to the east of the country, with social distancing measures in place, according to a railway spokesman. All carriages with a capacity of 72 was only occupied by 54 passengers.

Because of the strict curfews and with regular train and bus services suspended, hundreds of thousands of unemployed migrant workers have been left stranded in the cities. Since Thursday, workers are officially allowed to return home – provided they do not show any coronavirus symptoms.


15:20 South Africa to start lifting initial restrictions

South Africa is lifting some restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus crisis. Restaurants are allowed to deliver food, industries such as mining or steel are allowed to start operating with up to half of the workforce again.

The country had previously imposed severe curfews with the majority of the economy completely paralyzed. The country is hit hard economically, already being in recession before the pandemic. The official rates of infection and deaths are relatively low, with less than 6,000 and 100, respectively, in a nation with 58 million inhabitants.


15:17 Playgrounds, museums, and zoos slowly reopening

The easings of restrictions decided by the Federal and State Government are now gradually being implemented. Since today, children have been allowed to return to playgrounds in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, in Rhineland-Palatinate they will from Sunday onwards. Swings and slides are now open almost everywhere in Berlin.

In Hesse, playgrounds, zoos, botanical gardens, and museums are allowed to reopen on Monday, as announced the State Chancellery. Strict hygiene and social distancing rules must be observed. Museums, exhibitions, castles, and memorial sites are still forbidden from offering group tours. Hairdressers and cosmetic, nail, and tattoo studios, as well as massage practices, can start reopening next week.


15:02 Italy announces further easing of restrictions

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has announced the possibility of further easing of the strict curfews. "I am sure that the curve of infection will slow down considerably in some areas, if people observe the rules," he has said on Facebook. If this happens, businesses such as hairdressers or cosmetic salons could open their doors again earlier than originally planned.

Italy will ease the strict curfew in place for almost two months from Monday. Around 60 million people will be allowed to exercise or walk outside again. Industrial and construction businesses will also slowly return to production. On Monday, four million people can get back to work, said Conte.


14:38 DGB warns of job losses

Solidarity and protection for workers in the coronavirus crisis: With a protest organized mainly on the Internet, trade unions warned of cuts that will affect workers on May 1. #SolidarischNichtAlleine (#SolidaryNotAlone) was the motto under which the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) started May 1 with music and videos.

"I want to urgently warn companies against misusing the crisis for the purpose of cutting for additional jobs," Reiner Hoffmann, head of the DGB, told the German Press Agency. "When things start to go uphill again, they will miss these professionals." Instead of resorting to the old trope of "We need to tighten our belts", we need to secure the purchasing power of broad sections of the population with proper wages.


13:55 Care workers warn against relaxations in retirement and nursing homes

The employers' association for the care industry has warned against easing the stringent restrictions for retirement and nursing homes. Visitation rules in care homes "may not become a game of life and death," the association said. The old, mostly very elderly residents are considered a high-risk group in the coronavirus epidemic and require particularly high protection.

Friedhelm Fiedler, vice president of the employers' association for the care industry, criticized the "insufficiently thought-out relaxation measures concerning visiting bans," which have been announced in Bavaria, Hesse, and Lower Saxony, as irresponsible. "Care homes are very safe places for elderly people and those with multiple illnesses. We must keep it this way," Fiedler demanded. Both the residents and the staff require the best possible protection.


13:26 Deutsche Bahn needs cash injection of eight to ten billion euros

Deutsche Bahn is experiencing economic pressure due to the coronavirus crisis and requires additional funding from the federal government. According to information released by the German Press Agency, the group needs around eight to ten billion euros by 2024 - Deutsche Bahn could cover up to half of this.

This would extend the current debt ceiling of around 25 billion euros; Deutsche Bahn was just below this limit before the crisis. Savings are also conceivable in a few areas. However, investments are expected to remain at a high level.

During the coronavirus crisis, Deutsche Bahn has limited the number of trains running, but the bulk of the schedule has been maintained in order to ensure a basic service. However, passenger numbers for long-distance travel have dropped to 10 to 15 percent of the level before the crisis. In addition, the corporation is facing problems with freight transport.


13:19 Legislative reform for women in leadership positions is delayed

According to a media report, the planned reform of a law to bring more women into leadership positions has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. "Our bill was supposed to be discussed by the cabinet now," Federal Minister for Women's Affairs Franziska Giffey (SPD) told the "Handelsblatt." "However, this has been delayed due to the handling of the coronavirus crisis, but is only postponed, not cancelled."


13:17 DGB demands higher wages for essential workers

On May 1, Reiner Hoffmann, head of the DGB, called for higher wages and better  working conditions, especially for so-called essential professions. "Appreciation also comes with a price tag," Hoffmann said in a video during the digital live show of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) on Labor Day.

This would mean fair labor agreements with good working conditions and reasonable wages, he added. For the first time since the founding of the DGB in 1949, union demonstrations did not take place this year due to the corona pandemic this year.


12:46 Rock band Queen releases single for corona helpers: "You Are The Champions"

The British rock band Queen has re-recorded their song classic "We Are The Champions" for a good cause with slightly modified lyrics. The charity single "You Are The Champions" is to thank medical personnel in times of the coronavirus pandemic. The proceeds will go to the Covid 19 Foundation of the World Health Organization (WHO), which supports physicians around the world.


12:42 Thuringia wants to help artists

According to information from MDR, Thuringia wants to help freelance artists financially in the coronavirus crisis. This was proposed by Minister of Culture Benjamin-Immanuel Hoff (Die Linke). According to the proposal, there should be an emergency aid program of 2.6 million euros, to be financed by the corona state fund. The MDR reported that the state parliament would have to decide on the program, citing a spokeswoman for the state chancellery.


12:36 Muslims welcome permission to worship

The Coordination Council of Muslims (KRM) has welcomed the decision of the federal and state governments to allow the resumption of religious services. This would "do justice to the importance of religious freedom" and would "send an important signal to society", the Coordination Council stated. The Council announced that the first mosques would reopen for prayer times as of May 9.

"We made this decision using our best knowledge and conscience and out of religious and civil responsibility to protect health and human life," explained KRM spokesman Burhan Kesici. Initially, only three of the five daily prayer times - morning, noon, afternoon - are to be resumed in strict compliance with the official regulations.

In addition, the faithful will have to bring their own prayer rugs. The night prayers, which are normally very busy during Ramadan, will remain suspended for the time being, as will Friday and holiday prayers.


12:26 DFB CEO Keller offers help for more coronavirus testing

DFB President Fritz Keller has offered the help of football to increase the number of coronavirus tests. "Should those responsible in politics and science come to the conclusion that mass testing - as in South Korea, for example - could be a good means of containing the coronavirus, football is more than willing to contribute its popularity and unifying power to this end. Football is ready when it is needed," Keller told the German Press Agency.

The head of the association expressed the hope that organized football could serve as a "multiplier" to promote more testing. The German Football Association, in consultation with other team sports associations and the German Olympic Committee, has already offered help and cooperation to the federal government.


12:19 WHO wants to participate in investigations on the coronavirus origin in China

The World Health Organization (WHO) wants to participate in the investigation of the origin of coronavirus in China. It has asked the government in Beijing for an "invitation". "WHO would like to work with international partners and participate in investigations into the animal origin of the coronavirus virus at the invitation of the Chinese Government," WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told AFP news agency.

China is under increasing pressure on the question of the origin of the coronavirus. Several governments around the world have called on Beijing to be transparent about the virus' origin. US President Donald Trump reiterated that he had information that justified the assumption that the virus originated from a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The Chinese authorities deny this. According to them, the virus spread to humans from a wild animal market in Wuhan.


12:07 Czech Republic decides to accelerate the timetable for easing restrictions

The Czech government is accelerating the timetable for easing its restrictions in the coronavirus crisis.

As of May 11th, the country's cultural institutions will be allowed to reopen if they restrict admission to a maximum of 100 people at a time. Minimum distances between visitors must be maintained in museums, galleries, theatres, cinemas, and concert halls. Weddings, sporting events, and church services with up to 100 participants may also take place again from this date. The same applies to hair salons.

The government has high hopes for the so-called "intelligent quarantine" project, which has been in place nationwide since Friday. With the help of mobile phone and databases, the health authorities can trace the contacts of an infected person. A prerequisite is the consent of the person concerned. The Czech Republic reported 7689 confirmed infections with the coronavirus by Friday. 237 people have died.


12:00 "Spiegel": Government plans direct investment in Lufthansa

The struggling airline Lufthansa is negotiating with the German government for financial assistance. According to the news magazine "Spiegel," government representatives are in favor of direct investment.

According to the report, 5.5 billion euros are to be provided to Lufthansa in the form of a silent participation by the federal government. In return, the government is apparently demanding a guaranteed dividend of nine percent. In addition, the government wants to enter directly into a 25.1 percent stake in Lufthansa, which is likely to cost almost one billion euros. Another 3.5 billion euros is to be contributed by the state-owned Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). For this, the government wants to provide a guarantee, it was said. "Der Spiegel" referred to information from negotiation circles.


11:47 Protesters storm parliament in Michigan

Armed protesters entered the parliament building in the state capital of Michigan during a demonstration against coronavirus measures. According to US media, several hundred people gathered in the entrance hall of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's office. Some were armed and waving posters and flags, demanding an end to the state of emergency in the state.
MPs had met in the building for a parliamentary session on Thursday, but the governor was not in the building, according to her office.
In the fight against the spread of the coronavirus, Michigan, like other US states, has imposed extensive restrictions. Democrat Whitmer, however, has to enforce the restrictions against increasingly fierce opposition from the Republican majority in Parliament.


11:18 Meuthen calls for lifting of all restrictions

The AfD demands that the lockdown in Germany be ended as soon as possible. Party leader Joerg Meuthen wrote this on Facebook. Germany must return to its "economic normality", he said, while maintaining all hygienic requirements. Although the harsh measures were initially appropriate, they have now lasted "clearly too long".

The AfD head painted a gloomy scenario: "Countless owner-occupied, credit-financed properties are at stake. Family tragedies are imminent."


11:11 Which corona tests are there?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different test methods? The BR gives a quick overview via Twitter.


11:00 Steinmeier: "Art and culture are not superfluous trivialities

On the occasion of an online concert by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier emphasized the importance of culture. "Art and culture, which we can experience together, are not superfluous trivialities," said Steinmeier. It was "a strange atmosphere" without an audience in the Berlin Philharmonic. Although this is a particularly pure musical pleasure, "we look forward to sitting in a large audience once again," said Steinmeier.

The concert which was originally scheduled to take place in Tel Aviv, was held in Berlin without an audience because of the coronavirus pandemic - under security precautions. The strings were two metres apart, the wind instruments five metres apart, according to director Andrea Zietzschmann.


10:49 "There will be class warfare again"

Dietmar Bartsch, the leader of the left wing faction in parliament, expects more social conflicts as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The economic crisis will "affect almost everyone in our country", he told the newspapers of Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland. "There will be class warfare again." This presents both a huge danger and a huge challenge. The left-wing politician called for improvements in certain political measures. Children, families, and especially single parents threaten to become the losers of this crisis. That is why improvements must be made in this area in particular, as with the self-employed. Caregivers, shop assistants, logistics experts, and truck drivers should also receive additional pay.


10:42 Spain expects economic collapse

Spain is expecting its budget deficit to surge to more than ten percent because of the coronavirus crisis. The deficit is expected to rise from 2.8 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) last year to 10.34 percent this year, budget minister María Jesús Montero announced at a press conference in Madrid. She said that her country's largest budget deficit since 2012 was caused by both falling tax revenues and higher government spending.


10:11 Layoffs at Ryanair

The budget airline Ryanair has almost 17,000 employees. About 3000 of them will have to expect to be laid off, according to company boss Michael O'Leary. This will mainly affect pilots and cabin crew.

For the current second quarter, Ryanair expects a loss of 100 million euros. This would be the first ever loss of the group in this period, O'Leary explained. He now expects that the normalization of operations will not begin until July.

O'Leary had previously expressed confidence and said that Ryanair "with almost four billion Euros in cash on its balance sheet" had enough money. He could not imagine state aid for airlines, he said.


09:51 Boeing raises 25 billion dollars on the capital market

In an effort to avoid relying on state aid in the coronavirus crisis, the US aircraft manufacturer Boeing has raised a total of 25 billion dollars from investors. This was announced by the corporation. The debt certificates, which are in great demand according to the US media, have terms of three to 40 years. There are currently no plans to seek additional financing - not even state aid, Boeing said.

The aircraft manufacturer would have had to submit claims by May 1 in order to draw from a $17 billion dollar fund of the US Treasury Department for companies considered important for national security.

Like Airbus, Boeing has significantly reduced production capacities. At the same time, the company has been struggling with the consequences of two crashes of its successful model Boeing 737 MAX, which has not been allowed to fly since then.


09:41 Journalists: Work is increasingly hindered

Journalists at the Federal Press Conference and the State Press Conferences have called on Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Minister Presidents of the Federal States to guarantee free journalistic reporting also during the coronavirus crisis.

They are concerned that their work is being increasingly hampered, states a letter published on the Freedom of the Press Day on May 3: "Press conferences without journalists, questions embellished by government spokespersons, enquiries that are not possible". These restrictions should be lifted as soon as possible. The current crisis should not be an excuse to shy away from unpleasant questions.

The pandemic is presenting all social levels and groups in the country with new, unfamiliar tasks, wrote the journalists. The media have a fundamental role to play here.


09:30 Short-time work for theatres and orchestras

Actors and musicians are also working reduced hours during the coronavirus crisis. The German Stage Association for employers and three artists' unions agreed to introduce short-time work at municipal theatres and orchestras. This is intended to compensate for the loss of income during the coronavirus crisis and to secure jobs, announced the association. The employer's contributions to the short-time work pay are to be at least 95 percent of the net salary in the case of lower salaries, and at least 90 percent in the case of higher salaries.


09:21 Coronavirus protective measures: Ten million for museums

German museums and cultural institutions will receive ten million euros from the federal government for protective measures against the coronavirus. The money is intended to enable small and medium-sized cultural institutions in particular to reopen quickly following closures due to the pandemic, said Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters. She welcomes the reopening of museums and memorial sites. This is an important, next step towards providing basic cultural services.


09:18 RKI: 1639 new coronavirus infections

According to the RKI, the number of new coronavirus infections has increased by 1639 to 160,758. The number of deaths has risen to 6481.


08:53 German Cities Council: "No additional requirements for playgrounds"

At the meeting of federal and state governments yesterday, it was agreed that playgrounds will be reopened. The states will decide when and under what conditions. Family Minister Franziska Giffey calls this decision a "silver lining in the coronavirus crisis".

However, the phrase "subject to conditions" is attracting criticism: "We urgently ask the states not to impose any additional conditions, such as strict access controls with verification of the identity of playground visitors," said Helmut Dedy, Chief Executive of the German Association of Cities and Towns. This would be unrealistic and would only create conflicts. It would be wrong to have municipal playground guards everywhere and all the time.

In Berlin, children were allowed to use many playgrounds again on Thursday. Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Brandenburg, and Schleswig-Holstein decided immediately after the decisions to reopen their playgrounds as soon as possible, in some cases as early as the weekend.

08:00 Here's what happened last night

  • CoViD-19 numbers for Germany: Robert Koch Institute reports 1639 new cases of CoViD-19 (160,758 total) and 193 new deaths (6,481 total) due to the virus
  • German Scientists: Containment "only meaningful strategy"
  • Vacations in the EU remain uncertain
  • North Rhine-Westphalia's Prime Minister Armin Laschet: "Growing anger among many people"
  • Trump accuses Chinese laboratory again