This is a live blog from May 6, 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

  • Seven instead of 19 percent VAT for meals in restaurants
  • EU expects economic decline by 7.7 percent
  • Partly openings of schools in Wuhan
  • More than 71.000 deaths in the USA
  • Almost 1000 new infections in Germany

17:33 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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17:16 Antibody study planned in Saarland

Saarland is the first federal state which wants to carry out a coronavirus antibody study in the next few weeks. Around 2,300 residents‘ blood is to be examined for this. The study is intended to provide certainty as to how many Saarlanders had been infected with the virus and had formed antibodies, said Health Minister Monika Bachmann (CDU). This is important to gain clarity over the outbreak events.


17:09 Engineering firms welcome measures

German engineering firms welcome the easing of the measures taken for coronavirus.  “They are a first important sign of a return to normality in the medium term, especially in the daily operations of companies,” said Thilo Brodtmann, Executive of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA). “Opening up of schools, in particular, is a significant relief for employees. At the same time, Brodtmann warned that the responsibility of the federal states for further easing ”should not lead to an uncontrolled growth in rules for companies.”


16:55 NRW wants an agreement with the Netherlands and Belgium

North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) wants to reach agreement with the Netherlands and Belgium on easing tourism. Such measures have to be taken in harmony with the neighbors, says State Premier Armin Laschet. Talks with the governments of the two countries are to be held shortly. In the last few weeks, citizens had to refrain from visiting the Dutch North Sea coast due to the coronavirus crisis. Tourist stays in NRW would be allowed from 11 May onwards, announced Laschet.


16:53 Education Ministers advise on regulations

The Ministers of Education of the Federal States took up discussions on how to regulate education in the next school year. The Conference of Ministers of Culture (KMK) set up a working group for this. The Chairpersons of KMK and the Minister of Education for Rhineland-Palatinate Stefanie Hubig (SPD) participated in the Parliamentary Education Committee. If a separation arrangement is still needed, a rotation between presence and home education will be envisaged, said Hubig. “The respective stages of opening will take place in the states in consultation with the health authorities and depending on the respective regional infection events as well as taking into account the respective regional and local circumstances,” said Hubig.


16:53 Education Ministers advise on regulations

The Ministers of Education of the Federal States took up discussions on how to regulate education in the next school year. The Conference of Ministers of Culture (KMK) set up a working group for this. The Chairpersons of KMK and the Minister of Education for Rhineland-Palatinate Stefanie Hubig (SPD) participated in the Parliamentary Education Committee. If a separation arrangement is still needed, a rotation between presence and home education will be envisaged, said Hubig. “The respective stages of opening will take place in the states in consultation with the health authorities and depending on the respective regional infection events as well as taking into account the respective regional and local circumstances,” said Hubig.


16:19 Pupils and pre-school children to go to school and daycare once  before summer

Every pupil and pre-school child is to go to school or daycare at least once before the summer. This has been agreed by the State Premiers and Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU). "The details are regulated by the states," was stated in a joint decision.


16:19 Tschentscher sees states as being under obligation

Hamburg's Mayor Peter Tschentscher sees the states as being under the obligation to decide on further opening steps, for example in the catering sector and for companies providing accommodation: "I hope for all of us that the states will bear this responsibility well." The measures are to be different for individual regions.


16:14 Belgium eases restrictions

Belgium is easing its coronavirus restrictions and allowing more social contact again. From Sunday - on Mother’s Day - every family is allowed to receive four visitors, said Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès after a meeting of the National Security Council. They should always be the same people and they are only allowed to visit this one family. If possible, you should stay outside, for example in the garden or on the patio. Social distancing still has to be maintained.


16:14 Belgium eases restrictions

Belgium is easing its coronavirus restrictions and allowing more social contact again. From Sunday - on Mother’s Day - every family is allowed to receive four visitors, said Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès after a meeting of the National Security Council. They should always be the same people and they are only allowed to visit this one family. If possible, you should stay outside, for example in the garden or on the patio. Social distancing still has to be maintained.


16:06 Söder supports regional pandemic plans

Bavaria’s State Premier Markus Söder judges the agreement that more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in a given area within seven days should be subject to tightened restrictions again to be the most important part of the decisions. “This emergency brake, so to speak, is the emergency police,” says Söder. “Then you have to intervene.” Regional pandemic plans could then prevent the spread of the pandemic “and a new lockdown for the whole country”.


16:04 Söder warns against opening quickly

Bavaria’s State Premier Markus Söder says that there should be a slight breath of relief over the development of the pandemic, but he is limiting it: “The worry remains. It can change at any time.” He warned like the Chancellor about opening too quickly.


15:56 Chancellor calls the development in new infections pleasing

The development of the coronavirus pandemic with the restrictions is good, despite the first steps for reopening according to Chancellor Angela Merkel. The daily new infections are partly only in three-digits across the country, Merkel said after a teleconference with the State Premiers on further action in the coronavirus pandemic. The figures are “very pleasing“. However, only the very first phase of the pandemic is behind us.


15:49 Merkel: no end to the pandemic yet in sight

Germany has "the first phase" of the pandemic behind it, but "a long struggle with the virus" is still ahead," says Chancellor Angela Merkel after a videoconference with the State Minister-Presidents. The goal, slowing down the spread of the virus, has been achieved. Therefore, the decision to further relax measures has been taken.


15:47 States should decide on gradual reopening of catering businesses

The Federal States are to decide on gradual reopening catering businesses in the coronavirus crisis. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the State Minister-Presidents have agreed on this, reports the dpa on the basis of information from participants. The states are said to act in their own responsibility – as concerns infectious events as well as specific state characteristics.


15:43 At least 90,000 (health)care workers infected worldwide

According to association reports, at least 90,000 nurses have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide. Over 260 of them have died of Covid-19, according to the Chairman of the International Council of Nurses (ICN), Howard Catton, in Geneva. However, the number of infections could also be more than twice as high, with many countries not recording cases.


15:18 Head of the RKI: no major mistakes made

The head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has justified the changes made to assessments during the coronavirus pandemic, which were made in line with changes to the state of knowledge. "So far, I have not any really big mistakes," said head of the RKI Lothar Wieler in the "Morning Briefing" podcast of journalist Gabor Steingart. He still questions his actions on a daily basis. Mr. Wieler stressed that more is now known about the new virus than four months ago. As a result, changes to the perception of the virus had to be made "here and there". For example, it was not known at the beginning how easily Sars-CoV-2 is transmitted in comparison to the Sars virus, Mr. Wieler stressed.


15:05 Bundesliga can start play again from the second half of May

The German Bundesliga soccer league can start play again "from the second half of May". This has been agreed by the Federal and State Governments in the course of their still ongoing discussions, as Reuters has learned from participants. The exact date will be determined by the soccer league itself.


15:02 Putin warns against hasty easing of restrictions

Russian President Vladimir Putin warns against any hasty relaxation of restrictions. Rash action during the coronavirus crisis could undo all that has been achieved so far, says Mr. Putin. The governors are responsible for the course of events in their regions. According to the Tass news agency, a third cabinet member, Olga Lyubimova, has been infected with the virus. She has mild symptoms and continues her work online. Previously, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Construction Minister Vladimir Yakushev had been infected with the virus.


14:47 Tourism in Spain collapses by two-thirds

Spain, which is heavily dependent on tourism, suffered a slump in visitor numbers in March due to the coronavirus crisis. The number of international tourists fell by 64.3 percent to around two million compared to the same month last year. This is according to official data now published. Visitor spending dropped by 64 percent to 2.2 billion euros. Tourism contributes around twelve percent to economic output and secures millions of jobs. The number of tourists had risen to record levels for seven years in a row before the pandemic, making the country the second most popular holiday destination in the world.


14:45 Federation of German Industries: exit plan is lacking

The Federation of German Industries (BDI) has criticized the lack of a coordinated exit plan in view of the relaxation of the coronavirus measures. "Federal and state governments should clarify fundamental issues in a standard manner in order not to overstrain citizens and the economy," said association president Dieter Kempf. For example, the simultaneous functioning of nationwide and international logistics and mobility chains was essential for industrial production to be able to restart successfully, he said.


14:38 Virus had already spread rapidly at the end of 2019

There is increasing evidence that the novel coronavirus may not only have been first in circulation worldwide since early 2020. Scientists from the University of London published a study that the virus appeared at the end of 2019 and spread around the earth at a rapid pace. Mutations of the virus have also been discovered in the analysis of gene samples from more than 7500 Covid-19 patients. It may be possible to know from this how the virus spread of the virus will develop.


14:28 All shops allowed to reopen

All shops in Germany, regardless of their size, should be allowed to reopen under certain conditions. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the state premiers agreed to lift the previous restriction of a sales area of 800 square meters: now there will be specifications on the maximum number of customers and staff in relation to the sales area. Small and medium-sized shops have been reopened under for health protection conditions since 20 April, but only up to a sales area of 800 square meters. This applies to bookstores, car, and bicycle dealers under the conditions but without the space limitation.


14:26 Federal and State governments allow training in leisure sports again

The Federal government and the State governments want to allow amateur and leisure sports open-air training again. This had been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. The German Press Agency learned from participants that this was agreed by Chancellor Angela Merkel and the State Premiers during their consultations on Wednesday. The recreational athletes would, however, have to comply with certain conditions.


14:25 Tendency towards  mid-May start of German Football League

According to a participant in the discussions between Chancellor Angela Merkel and the State Premiers, the tendency is emerging that the German Football League could possibly resume playing under the conditions agreed from 15 May. However, the debate about the date is still ongoing, the participant said.


14:19  Restrictions extended until 5 June

The federal government and the federal states have agreed that the contact restrictions imposed in the coronavirus crisis will be extended until 5 June. They will, however, be relaxed. Thus, several members of two households will now be able to meet; this is to be applied country-wide. Some federal states had already eased the contact rules.


13:55 Swiss National Council presses for a plan to open border

The borders of Switzerland have been closed for seven weeks, and the National Council is now pressing for a reopening plan. 129 members of parliament voted against 49 members of parliament for the government to present a clear roadmap for opening the borders in a special session of the House of Representatives. The free movement of people must be guaranteed as soon as the epidemiological situation permits it. Only nationals and persons with a residence permit are currently allowed to enter Switzerland, commuters are also allowed.


13:47 Champions League Final in August

The football Champions League final is to be postponed to August. The news agency Reuters was informed of this by the Turkish football association which is to organize the final game of the European Champions League. It was originally scheduled for 30 May in Istanbul. The game is expected to take place without spectators.


13:41 Russia brings medical aid workers back from Italy

Medical aid workers that Russia had sent to Italy at the end of March to support the hospitals there in the coronavirus crisis are now to return to their home country. This was reported by the Russian news agency Interfax, on the authority of  Defense Minister Sergey Schoigu. Coronavirus cases are increasing dramatically in Russia. Health authorities are speaking of nearly 166,000 confirmed cases across the country.


13:34 The Baltic States to open internal borders from mid-May

Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia have agreed to open their borders to citizens of the three Baltic States from mid-May. The borders have been closed since mind-March.  This will allow citizens to move freely between the three countries. Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians entering from other countries must continue to remain in quarantine for two weeks.


13:26 Great Britain plans to ease the restrictions

The British government is planning to ease the strict coronavirus restrictions in stages. according to a report by the newspaper The Times, Prime Minister Boris Johnson intends to submit a three-stage plan to ease the restrictions according to a report by the newspaper The Times. Accordingly, in a first step, small businesses are to be reopened and employees with jobs that involve mainly outdoor activities are to return to everyday work. The second stage includes the opening of large shopping centers. Finally, restaurants and pubs, as well as hotels, are allowed to reopen. Johnson has not yet confirmed the details of the plan. However, he announced that further easing will come into force on Monday.


12:56 Discrimination connected to coronavirus crisis

The Federal Anti-Discrimination Office has recorded more than 100 cases in which discrimination connected with the coronavirus crisis has occurred since the outbreak of the pandemic. Thus, the persons concerned have been put at a disadvantage, among others, because of their ethnic origin or age. Reports of hate messages at the workplace have also reached the authority, said the Commissioner’s head of the Anti-Discrimination Office, Bernhard Franke: “The cases range from unashamed racist behavior in public to physical attacks.”


12:49 Easing of restrictions in Hamburg comes into effect

Starting today, the Archbishopric of Hamburg will allow church services under strict conditions again. Zoos and animal parks in Hamburg will also be allowed to open again and starting tomorrow, visits to museums will also be permitted.


12:43 State of Emergency in Spain likely to be extended

Since mid-March, Spain has been under a state of emergency, including strict coronavirus restrictions. Tonight the parliament will vote on whether to extend this for the fourth time until May 23rd. In the past few days, the opposition has opposed a further extension - led by the largest opposition faction: the conservative People's Party (PP). But now the government has apparently been able to form an alliance with the liberal party Ciudadanos and the Basque party PNV, in order to secure the necessary majority for an extension.


12:36 When will they kick again?

The Federal Government is open for a restart of games in the 1st and 2nd Bundesliga. However, a start date is still being debated.


12:28 More than 100,000 infections in Iran

More than 100,000 coronavirus cases have now been confirmed in Iran. Within 24 hours, 1680 new infections have been registered, according to the Ministry of Health. This brings the number of known cases of infection to 101,650 nationwide. More than 6400 people have died after being infected.


12:28 States appear to agree on upper limit for new infections

In its draft resolution, the Federal Government urged that any easing of the restrictions be tied to consistent monitoring of new coronavirus cases by the federal states. The heads of the states have now apparently agreed to this, according to the news agency dpa. According to the report, the states will take responsibility for the easing of restrictions. If, however, there are more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within one week in districts or independent towns, the easing must be reversed.


12:04 New car registrations down by more than 60 percent

Demand for passenger cars in Germany in April has fallen dramatically due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last month, 120,840 new cars were sold, 61.1 percent fewer than a year ago, according to the Federal Motor Transport Authority in Flensburg. With the exception of the US electric car maker Tesla, all manufacturers reported a drop in sales, while Tesla recorded a ten percent increase.


11:34 Cabinet approves tax cuts

In order to ease the burden on the catering industry in the coronavirus crisis, the Federal Cabinet has agreed to a temporary reduction in value added tax. This will be reduced from 19 to seven percent for food consumed in a restaurant or café. Drinks are excluded from the regulation. The new regulation is to apply for one year, starting July 1. The Bundestag and Bundesrat must still agree on the measure.

11:21 EU expects massive economic collapse

The EU Commission is forecasting an unprecedented decline in economic output for the euro zone as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. "Europe is experiencing an economic shock not seen since the Great Depression," stressed Paolo Gentiloni, European Commissioner for Economic Affairs. The economy is expected to collapse by up to 7.7 percent. All EU member states will be affected by the recession, said EU Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis. He added that the effects of the coronavirus crisis could still only be provisionally estimated.


11:06 "The Times": British government plans to ease restrictions in three phases

According to a report in The Times, the UK government has drawn up a three-stage plan for possible relaxation of the coronavirus restrictions. According to the plan, the first step would allow small shops to reopen, and employees with jobs that mainly involve working outdoors would be allowed to return to work. The second stage would include the opening of large shopping centres. Finally, restaurants and pubs as well as hotels would be allowed to reopen.


10:57 Camping association expects increasing demand

As a result of travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, campsites across the country are expected to receive more booking requests. The German Federal Association of the Camping Industry expects demand to rise, especially in July and August. Managing Director Christian Günther therefore advises to book early and, if possible, to travel outside the main holiday season. Slight price increases at the campsites cannot be ruled out due to the costs of protective measures. The German Tourism Association (DTV) has already registered more enquiries for holiday homes and apartments. In view of possible easing of the restrictions on travel within Germany, the number of enquiries could increase further. "We assume that people want to take advantage of this regained piece of freedom after these difficult times," said DTV Managing Director Norbert Kunz.


10:46 RKI to correct information on coronavirus tests

The Robert Koch Institute needs to correct published figures on coronavirus tests performed - and thus put a significant increase in tests into perspective.


10:43 More trade fairs cancelled in Frankfurt

The Frankfurt trade fair company has cancelled both this year's "Light+Building" construction trade fair and the "Automechanika". Both trade fairs were scheduled to take place in September. At present, however, there is no guarantee that major trade fairs will be permitted again by that time, according to the trade fair company. Therefore, unnecessary costs for visitors and exhibitors must be avoided. New dates have already been set for both fairs: Automechanika" has been set for September 14 to 18, 2021 and "Light+Building" will next be held from March 13 to 18, 2022.


10:34 Court in Hessen affirms mask obligation

The Administrative Court in Kassel has confirmed the obligation to wear masks for the federal state of Hessen as lawful by an accelerated decision. An applicant had taken action against the obligation on the grounds that it violated his fundamental right to personal development. However, the judges ruled that the mask obligation served "a legitimate purpose, namely to protect the health of the population and in particular to prevent the overloading of the health system". The mask could be "another building block" in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.


10:27 Newspaper: More than 10,000 cases among healthcare workers

According to a report in the "Augsburger Allgemeine", more than 10,100 healthcare workers throughout Germany have become infected with the coronavirus. This means that the number has risen by more than a third within two weeks, the newspaper writes, citing information from the Robert Koch Institute. Since mid-April, 16 employees in the medical sector have died after an infection.


10:21 Giffey raises hopes for kindergarten openings soon

Federal Minister of Family Affairs Franziska Giffey (SPD) expects that kindergartens will gradually be able to reopen this month. Demands from other parties to ease the burden on parents are also becoming louder.


10:17 Kretschmann criticizes independent actions in easing the restrictions

Baden-Württemberg's Minister President Winfried Kretschmann has criticised in "Der Spiegel" that some state leaders have "pushed forward with their own openings" prior to today's consultations. "Our strength thus far has been our joint and cautious approach", the Green politician stressed. He added that we may not leave this path now. "We are still in the middle of a pandemic", Kretschmann warned further. Nevertheless, he considered individual state-specific differences in the easing of restrictions to be appropriate.


10:07 Apparent low immunity rate in Czech Republic

According to the Ministry of Health, a mere four to five percent of the population in the Czech Republic are immune to the coronavirus. This is the preliminary result of a study based on mass tests for antibodies. The tests were started last month.


10:00 Hundreds of thousands send fitness data to RKI

With its "data donation" app, the Robert Koch Institute collects information from so-called fitness trackers, which provide information on the health and physical condition of the wearers. More than 500,000 people have already participated in the study and more than 15 million data have been sent to the Institute. The data may also reveal possible symptoms of coronavirus infection. One example: a permanently elevated resting pulse rate is an indication of fever, a typical symptom of the coronavirus.


09:52 More than 10,000 new cases reported in Russia again

For the fourth day in a row, more than 10,000 new coronavirus infections have been recorded in Russia within 24 hours. Authorities today reported almost 10,560 confirmed infections within one day. This brings the number of cases nationwide to almost 170,000.


09:44 Tourism Commissioner raises hope for holidays

Due to the coronavirus restrictions, the topic of holiday travel is currently on ice. However, the Federal Government Commissioner for Tourism, Thomas Bareiß, is not ruling out the possibility that travel to certain countries might be possible in the summer. The federal government is already consulting with neighbouring countries, but the Balearic Islands and Greek islands could also be considered as destinations, said Bareiß. Prerequisite: "If the number of new infections there is virtually non-existent and medical care is functioning, one could consider a summer holiday there", the CDU politician told the "Tagesspiegel" newspaper. But Bareiß continues to rule out long-distance travel.


09:25 BMW wants to cut investments

In order to mitigate the economic losses caused by the coronavirus crisis, the car manufacturer BMW plans to invest less this year. Originally, the company had planned investments of around 5.7 billion euros. The company has now reduced the amount to around four billion euros. Due to the pandemic, BMW had to temporarily close its plants in China, Europe, and the USA. According to the company, the number of cars sold in the first quarter fell by 21 percent. BMW also expects sales figures for the year as a whole to be significantly lower than last year.


09:15 Swiss Corona App: only test run initially

According to the developers of the Swiss app DP-3T, which is intended to help track the spread of the coronavirus, the app could have been available as early as next week. The government was also planning to launch it as soon as possible. Parliament, however, is putting the brakes on the app: MPs have decided that the first step is to create a legal basis for its operation. The corresponding law is to be passed in June. For the time being, the app will only be tested.


09:05 Virus also a threat for orangutans

Since their genetic make-up is very similar to that of humans, orangutans could also be infected with the coronavirus. For animal welfare activists, a wave of disease among the great apes is only a matter of time.


08:58 "Patchwork creates confusion"

In the ARD and ZDF joint morning show, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn advocated a regionalized interpretation of coronavirus protection measures and their relaxation. He added, however, that the basis for further relaxation must be uniform federal and state policies. The principle still applies: "As much normality as possible, as much protection as necessary", said the CDU politician. The restrictions imposed by the pandemic can only be lifted "step by step". A joint approach will create trust, whereas a "patchwork of incoherent measures" will create confusion.


08:00 Here's what happened last night

  • CoViD-19 numbers for Germany: Robert Koch Institute reports 947 new cases of CoViD-19 (164,807 total) and 165 new deaths (6,996 total) due to the virus
  • Possible easing - what is being discussed today? Check back later today, we will translate Angela Merkel's full press conference tonight again
  • Ministers of Economy allegedly want to open gastronomy from May 9
  • Airbnb releases a quarter of its workforce
  • USA: more than 71,000 deaths