This is a live blog from May 10, 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

  • RKI reports 667 new infections
  • Scholz demands higher taxes for particularly wealthy people
  • Reports: Johnson plans to present Corona warning system
  • US scientists report more than four million corona infections
  • Federal government promotes production of respirators
  • Green Party suggest five coronavirus threat levels
  • Few job cuts in medium-sized companies so far

16:32 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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15:55 Army of Myanmar announces limited coronavirus ceasefire

The army of Myanmar has announced a four-month ceasefire in its civil war against ethnic militias to support the fight against the coronavirus. However, the ceasefire would not apply to militias classified as terrorist organizations, according to a statement published by the Army. As such, the ceasefire will only apply in those areas of the civil war area in majority-Christian Kachin as well as in parts of Shan State. It would be valid until August 31st.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, had accused the army of systematically violating international law and human rights at the end of April.


15:40 Many churches celebrate services again with their congregation

In many places in Germany, worshippers were able to return to celebrate a service today. The Evangelical Cathedral of Berlin, for example, celebrated a proper church service with its congregation, after being forced to suspend services. In line with the current requirements to curb the spread of the virus, a maximum of 50 worshippers were allowed to enter. The Catholic Cathedral of Mainz also held its first service with a larger group of attends since closing its doors in mid-March.

The services were marked by disinfectants, face covers, and social distancing. The stoups with holy water remained empty.

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited a church service in the St. Marienkirche near Alexanderplatz in Berlin, and then thanked churches and religious communities for their pastoral work and willingness to impose restrictions during the coronavirus crisis.


15:22 Handball Bundesliga: trainers form commission for resuming play

"The trainers of the Handball Bundesliga have formed a commission to explore possible scenarios to restart competition. According to "Bild" newspaper, the commission includes Frank Carstens (GWD Minden), Maik Machulla (SG Flensburg), and Kai Wandschneider (most-recent club HSG Wetzlar).

Accordingly, the Commission was founded after a video conference held by the 20 Bundesliga trainers. "We decided on this step because we all have the impression that sporting interests are overshadowed by commercial aspects. The sporting side of things must also be given a voice," says Mr. Carstens. The handball Bundesliga had stopped play for this season because of the coronavirus pandemic and declared leader THW Kiel champion.


15:13 Italy imposes stricter conditions for mafia house arrests

The Italian government has tightened the conditions under which members of the mafia can be released from prison as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. A decree passed on Sunday night stipulates that the legality and necessity of releases must be re-examined every two weeks. Since March, hundreds of members of the mafia have already been released from prison and placed under house arrest in Italy.

“No one should think that they can exploit the health crisis caused by the coronavirus for their own benefit to avoid their prison terms,” said Justice Minister Alfonso Bonafede, according to the AGI news agency. There had been loud criticism among the population concerning the release of members of the mafia, some of whom had been imprisoned for serious crimes.


15:06 Protest against coronavirus restrictions: Kemmerich admits mistakes

The former Minister-President of Thuringia, Thomas Kemmerich, has admitted mistakes in attending a protest against coronavirus restrictions in Gera. Temporarily failing to comply with social distancing rules, without wearing any mouth protection, was a mistake, said the Chairman of the FDP in the Thuringian State Parliament. "I can only apologize for this."

He also never intended to offer the AfD or conspiracy theorists a platform, but now realizes that he had done exactly that. He had previously been severely criticized for his behavior, also from within his own party, among others by FDP Chairman Christian Lindner.


14:16 Green Party suggest five coronavirus threat levels

The Green Party in the Bundestag have demanded more clarity from the federal government and the states regarding their actions during the coronavirus crisis and are proposing five coronavirus threat levels with corresponding test requirements. According to a concept available to the news agency AFP, this is intended to take into account the different regional developments. The concept was first reported by the Berlin newspaper "Tagesspiegel".


The five stages range from so-called "hotspots" to regions where there are almost no cases. In the hotspot regions with particularly high numbers of infections, everyone should be tested as a precautionary measure.


"There is a need for uniform, binding rules to monitor developments in order to be able to reliably decide on further easings or restrictions," the Green faction leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt told the AFP. A resurgence of the virus could only be prevented through "close-knit and regionally adapted testing".


13:51 Fruits and vegetables more expensive due to coronavirus

Prices for fruit and veg increased by 26 percent in April because of coronavirus. This is mainly due to logistical issues in Spain as a result of the lockdown measures. Harvest workers have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic.


13:39 Sonneberg also above upper limit for new coronavirus infections

Over the past seven days, more than 50 new coronavirus infections per 100,000 inhabitants have been registered in the district of Sonneberg in South Thuringia. As of Sunday morning (10:00) the figure stood at 66.7 new infections, confirmed the spokesman for the administrative district, Michael Volk, at the request of the news agency dpa. A total of 155 infections have been detected in the area to date. One of the hotspots is a hospital in Sonneberg – employees have also been infected.


Sonneberg is the fourth district in Germany, after Greiz, Coesfeld and Steinburg, where the number of new infections is above the established upper limit.


13:19 First coronavirus antigen test approved in the US

In an unprecedented move, the FDA has issued an emergency authorization for a coronavirus antigen test. It is a new category of test that can deliver results within minutes, the FDA stated. However, antigen tests are less sensitive than gene tests, and thus pick up less infections.

In the antigen test, protein fragments of Sars-CoV-2 are detected from nasal swabs. This distinguishes it from gene tests, where viral genes are detected, and from antibody tests, where antibodies formed by the immune system are detected in the blood.
The German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices was initially unable to provide any information about the authorization of such antigen tests in Germany.


12:45 Reports: Italian government working on 55 billion euro aid package

The Italian government shortly intends to introduce a new aid package of around 55 billion euros to mitigate the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. According to media reports, the cabinet of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is still fine-tuning the details. According to the newspaper "Corriere della Sera", the draft created by the ministries included more than 760 pages. Due to the size of the project, its introduction is expected to be delayed until the beginning of the week, the newspaper reported.


Supportive measures are allegedly planned for industries such as tourism, agriculture, and culture. In addition, there will be funds for short-term work and families, such as subsidies for babysitters. The health system will also be strengthened. In mid-March, the government in Rome had already introduced a 25-billion-euro aid package to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus crisis, such as the halting of production and sales.


12:25 Japan considers lifting state of emergency in many parts of the country

The Japanese government is considering a premature lifting of the coronavirus state of emergency in most of the country’s provinces. Referring to statements from government officials, Japanese media reported that the government may be intending to lift the state of emergency in 34 of the 47 prefectures this coming Thursday – it had initially been put in place until May 31.


The other provinces, including the greater Tokyo area, as well as Osaka and Kyoto, continue to be considered areas where "special caution" is required. The state of emergency in Japan does not involve the extreme lockdown measure seen in Europe – members of the public have merely been asked to stay at home where possible.


12:13 Participation in coronavirus lockdown protest: Thuringian FDP leader Kemmerich faces criticism

Thuringian FDP leader Thomas Kemmerich has been criticized for his participation in a protest against coronavirus restrictions in Gera on Saturday.


According to police estimates, 600 people took part in the demonstration, which had been announced as a "walk". People walked side by side through the city center of Gera, and most of them were not wearing face masks, Kemmerich included. A regional representative of the CDU Economic Council had called for the demonstration.


11:50 Reports: Johnson wants to introduce a coronavirus warning system

According to media reports, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to introduce a five-stage warning system in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. This system should reflect the regional risk of infection. This is part of the government's plan for easing restrictions and will be presented in the course of the day, according to the newspaper "Sun".


11:35 Survey: Few job cuts in medium-sized companies thus far despite the crisis

Despite severe economic losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, German SMEs have proven to be generally robust thus far. One in five companies has already applied for funding loans (21 percent), more than half have employees on short-time working (54.5 percent), but only one in ten SMEs (8.2 percent) have cut jobs so far. These are the results of a special survey commissioned by DZ Bank among 1043 representatively selected SMEs.

"It is gratifying that, despite the difficult market environment, SMEs are showing a combative attitude and the majority are looking for alternative solutions to secure sales," said DZ Bank Board Member Uwe Berghaus, summarizing the results.

KfW, the development bank, recently reported on the basis of its own survey that 58 percent of the approximately 3.8 million SMEs in Germany had suffered a decline in turnover in March. In total, this amounted to around 75 billion euros and therefore 2 percent of annual turnover.


11:20 Conte: " Italy's beauty will not remain in quarantine "

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has given his fellow countrymen in the coronavirus crisis hope for a summer holiday on the beach. " We will not spend this summer on the balcony, and the beauty of Italy will not remain in quarantine. We can go to the sea, to the mountains, enjoy our cities", Conte told the newspaper "Corriere della Sera". He did not say whether tourists from abroad would be allowed to come.

Currently Italians are not allowed to travel from one region to another - except for valid reasons. It is not yet clear when exactly people will be able to travel again, Conte said. The number of new infections in Italy has been declining for some time.


11:06 Deutsche Bahn trains more punctual in the coronavirus crisis

Deutsche Bahn's long-distance trains reached their destinations on time significantly more in April - partly due to the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. In April, the on time percentage of all rail passenger transport had "improved significantly", a rail spokesperson reported.

According to the report, 88.6 percent of long-distance train service arrived on time. This was 9.9 percent more than in April 2019, however, only around three quarters of all long-distance trains are currently in service.

The Deutsche Bahn did not comment on exact capacity utilization of the trains or the specific reasons for the increasing punctuality. Declining passenger numbers and a lower frequency during the coronavirus pandemic are likely to play at least one role: An overriding reason for delays is that passengers get on and off at full platforms.


10:36 New infections in the Coesfeld district continue to exceed the upper limit

Following the coronavirus outbreak in a meat processing plant in Coesfeld, the number of new infections in the district continues to be well above the agreed upper limit. According to a survey by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the current figure is approximately 85 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants per week.

The RKI reported on Saturday that the average value was still 76. However, the RKI pointed out that there may be discrepancies between its figures and the actual local figures, partly due to a delay in data transmission.

Of the 1200 employees of the meat plant concerned, 930 had been tested by Saturday evening. The number of positive coronavirus cases detected increased to more than 190.


10:23 More than 200,000 coronavirus infections in Russia

The number of coronavirus cases in Russia has exceeded the 200,000 mark, according to the authorities. Within 24 hours 11,012 new infections were reported. The total number of cases is now 209,688, and the number of deaths increased by 1915, 88 more than the day before.


10:20 How the relationship between politics and business is changing

Falling share prices, government aid packages, and horror forecasts for the labor market: its impossible to overlook the fact that the corona crisis has shaken the entire economy. But now - on the road to a time after the virus - the whole coordinate system between market and state is shifting.


10:16 Higher taxes for the wealthy

Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz has spoken out in favor of higher taxes for the rich. Citizens who "earn a very, very high income should pay a slightly higher contribution", the SPD politician told the newspaper "Tagesspiegel am Sonntag". "That remains our goal, and it will certainly be in our next election platform." He referred to the election platform of 2017, where the party had called for a top tax rate of 45 percent and the introduction of a wealth tax.

Asked whether this should become a kind of "corona soli", Scholz emphasized: "It's about a fair and just tax system." The coronavirus pandemic had shown how important solidarity is. "I hope we won't forget that. I still remember very well after the financial crisis how some people who had been saved with billions of taxpayers' money acted afterwards as if they were the Masters of the Universe, and pretended to get along without others."


08:00 Here's what happened last night

  • CoViD-19 numbers for Germany: Robert Koch Institute reports 667 new cases of CoViD-19 (169,218 total) and 22 new deaths (7395 total) due to the virus
  • Musk threatens to pull Tesla out of California
  • Reproduction rate exceeds critical value
  • Bishops' Conference distances itself from Corona letter
  • Dynamo Dresden has to go into quarantine
  • Thousands demonstrate against corona regulations