This is a live blog from May 11, 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.
- German government provides 750 million for vaccine development
- Russia has more new infections than Great Britain and Italy
- CDU leadership pressures for border openings
- Spain reports fewer deaths
- Federal government plans billions of aid for Deutsche Bahn
- RKI reports 357 new infections
17:34 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).
17:06 No tourism corridors to Italy for the time being
According to the Italian Ministry of Culture, the Federal Government’s Tourism Commissioner Thomas Bareiß is concluding agreements with individual countries on tourist corridors. Bareiß confirmed that Germany had received proposals from other European countries to set up such corridors in the light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Rome reported. The German politician stressed that a common European solution was needed instead of bilateral agreements.
Italy’s Minister of Transport Paola De Micheli assured him that her country would be able to reopen air transport and other transport routes very quickly, “from one week to another” if the coronavirus figures allowed it. There is still speculation about when exactly holidaymakers could return to Italy. However, she hoped that summer would bring about gradual normalization.
17:04 Central Council of Jews criticizes coronavirus demos
The Central Council of Jews has criticized conspiracy theories and demonstrations regarding the coronavirus crisis. “What I have been fearing for weeks is now happening,” said Central Council President Josef Schuster. Right-wing radicals are taking advantage of the fears arising from the coronavirus crisis to spread anti-Semitic conspiracy myths and their radical worldview – “on the Internet, but also at coronavirus demos.”
Schuster stressed that those who participate in a demonstration against the restrictions on basic rights must become aware of what side they are demonstrating on and what statements are being spread there. He literally said, “One must not join forces with anti-Semites and right-wing radicals.” Demonstrating against the current measures with symbols remembering the Holocaust is tasteless and ridicules the victims of Shoah.
16:46 Audi and BMW restart production
The German BMW Dingolfing plant was the first to start production again on Monday. At Audi in Ingolstadt, at least one assembly line is working with three shifts. State Premier Markus Söder and the Minister of Economic Affairs Hubert Aiwanger visited the two largest car plants in Bavaria and stated their support for the car industry.
A spokesperson stated that 19,000 employees are still on short-time work at Audi in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm. But in the main plant, 6,000 employees have been in production again since Monday, and cars would now be built again on one line in a three-shift operation. Cars production lines were running again on Monday at the largest European BMW plant Dingolfing however, only a few hundred instead of the usual 1500. Production will initially only take place in the early shift. Plant manager Christoph Schröder explained that everything else was dependent on customer demand: “A rapid recovery in the car market is, unfortunately not to be expected at the moment. This means we have to and will remain flexible.“
16:20 SPD leader Esken against incentives for coronavirus app
SPD Chairman Saskia Esken has opposed incentives to use the planned coronavirus app proposed by CDU politician Axel Voss. Using it should be voluntary, “this does not include coercion, incentives, or behavioral control,” Esken said. Society should not be split by having to show the app during a visit to a restaurant: “I don’t want to live in a world like this,” she emphasized. Voss had suggested granting app users more freedom than those who refuse to use it, for example, trips to close-by areas, the cinema, or restaurant visits.
16:08 200 arrested during renewed protests in Hong Kong
More than 200 people were arrested in Hong Kong during protests against the government. Approximately 230 people between the ages of 12 and 65 had been arrested for illegal assembly, the police reported. The protestors had also intended to damage or destroy the property of others and were not carrying IDs. A further 19 people were fined for violating coronavirus social distancing rules.
“The police condemned the demonstrators for failing to respect the government’s disease prevention and control measures, for taking part in forbidden gatherings or for organizing them.“ was the stated government position. Protestors had built street barricades in the Mongkok district of Hong Kong and had started fires in some streets. Hundreds of demonstrators had already gathered in shopping centers and protested for more democratic rights before the street fights began in the evening. A Mothers‘ Day march had been forbidden.
The pro-democratic movement which had paralyzed Hong Kong for months in 2019 had become quieter in the first quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic. There had recently been signs of a revival in the movement.
15:35 Lockdown for Russians to end tomorrow
In a television address, Russia's President Vladimir Putin announced that the curfews will be lifted from tomorrow. At the same time, the "forced holidays" for workers, during which they have been ordered to stay at home under continued pay, also ends.
Mass events remain prohibited and people over 64 years of age will still have to stay at home. Mr. Putin explains that the situations in the Russian regions vary widely, and local authorities could therefore, at their own discretion, tighten or loosen measures.
15:15 Chancellor Merkel: "New phase of the pandemic"
Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke of the work health authorities are doing after a video conference with the Harz District Health Office. "There are very committed people working there," she said after the discussion, and wanted to use the example to thank all health offices nationwide and inform them about her work. The offices are instructed to ask for more support if necessary – the Federal Army is also ready to help out, said Ms. Merkel.
Germany is now entering a "new phase of the pandemic" in which it is particularly important, "to ensure true security that people will adhere to basic requirements with all the ongoing relaxations." "This includes observe social distancing and wearing face protection."
14:55 Government spokesperson takes a stance on coronavirus demonstrations
In the government's view, demonstrations against the coronavirus protection measures, which attracted participants in many cities over the weekend, do not give any conclusions on the general mood in the population. Based on a few hundred or thousands of demonstrators, "you cannot make a projection on the behavior and beliefs of 83 million people in Germany," said government spokesman Steffen Seibert at the federal press conference.
Seibert stressed that the citizens continue to have the right to peaceful demonstrations, "even at this time" - but this does not free people from their responsibility towards their fellow citizens: "That is why we can ask for participants to comply with hygiene and distance regulations at such demonstrations."
At the same time, he condemned the "high aggressiveness" against the police and journalists as well as cheap propaganda from conspiracy theorists in the Internet, which is drawing many participants to these demonstrations: "Anyone spreading conspiracy theories wants to divide our country and turn people against each other," he said.
14:42 Subsidies for start-up founders to be available in May
Start-ups in Germany can expect their first subsidies this month, as a concept of the Ministries of Economics and Finance indicates. In total, the federal government wants to support founders with two billion euros.
Bigger start-ups are to receive aid from funds that are financed partly by private venture capitalists and partly through public funds. For smaller start-ups, venture capital is to be made available - it is also conceivable that state start-up funding institutions will receive federal funds that they can pass on to smaller founders and medium-sized businesses.
14:13 Federal government invests 750 million in vaccine development
The federal government intends to invest up to EUR 750 million in a special program for researching and developing a coronavirus vaccine. This was reported by Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek. The national program aims to expand studies and later secure production. According to the given information, the sum will supplement Germany's already confirmed contributions on an international level.
13:51 Denmark and Luxembourg also relax measures
In Germany's neighbouring country of Denmark, retailers and shopping centers have reopened. Many of the closed shops in the Copenhagen city center displayed warnings signs asking customers with symptoms of illness such as a cough, fever, and respiratory problems to stay away from the shops. Others had hung up signs with a maximum number of customers and hired security staff to ensure, among other things, that customers give each other enough space.
Luxembourg has also eased its coronavirus rules: citizens may leave their homes without a good reason, but they must comply with strict distancing and hygiene rules. This was reported by the government in Luxembourg. Wherever the minimum distance of two meters could not be respected, a face masks must be worn - for example in public transport or while shopping.
13:31 New York tries to solve mystery of fatal children's disease
After the severe coronavirus wave in New York, a children's disease has become prevalent in the state. At least 38 boys and girls have fallen ill with an unknown syndrome. Three children have died. The cause is unclear. Half of the children who were tested had been infected with coronavirus.
13:17 Coronavirus measures: Challenges for the blind and deaf
Face masks, distancing rules, warning signs at every corner: requirements imposed in these times of the coronavirus crisis are forcing everyone to rethink. However, these measures represent a special challenge for the blind and the deaf.
13:10 Health insurance companies apparently at risk of a loss of 14 billion euros
According to a report by the Berlin newspaper "Tagesspiegel", health insurance companies are facing a decline of between 14.1 and 14.6 billion euros due to the corona crisis, among other things. The newspaper refers to internal estimates provided by the health insurance companies. This is caused by the fact that costs are rising while at the same time contributions are falling, but also by new legal regulations that are in no way related to the coronavirus pandemic. The health insurance companies are demanding a significant increase in the federal subsidies. If the federal government does not step in, the average additional contribution of insured individuals would need to be increased from 1.1 percent to 2.2 percent.
12:56 China tightens regulations on viruses in laboratories
China wants to tighten the regulations for laboratories in handling and transporting viruses. According to a draft of the National Health Commission, provincial governments are to prevent the transport of coronavirus samples without a permit. In addition, the central health authorities are to be informed in detail when such samples are sent from one laboratory to another.
12:35 Norderney gets going again
After a seven-week break in Lower Saxony, the catering trade is allowed to open again today - even on the East Frisian island of Norderney. As the permit was only announced at the weekend, the restaurateurs must now quickly implement the security requirements in order to welcome guests. They have mixed feelings, as they fear a second wave of infection. Holiday flats are also allowed to be occupied again. Hotels will not open until 25 May with capacity limits. The island will remain closed to day tourists for the time being. What the NDR reporter Nadia Yaqub also learned on Norderney: " There are already so many enquiries from holidaymakers that the summer season is virtually fully booked."
12:14 Netherlands: Welcome party with safe distances
The Netherlands is also increasingly easing its restrictions. After a two-month compulsory break, primary schools and daycare centers have opened their doors again. Initially, only half of the children are allowed to go to school each day. Many schools prepared the first day with balloons, red carpets and colorful costumes for a big welcome party - but still adhering to the distance requirements. Strict safety measures apply. The remaining schools are due to reopen on 2 June. Hairdressers, beauty and massage salons will also be allowed to open again. Some salons welcomed their first customers shortly after midnight.
12:10 RKI: Continue to observe development after increase of R-value
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the increase in the reproduction value R above the critical mark of 1 does not yet allow further conclusions to be drawn about the occurrence of infections in Germany. It is "still not possible to assess whether the trend of new infections, which has been decreasing over the last few weeks, will continue or whether the number of cases will increase again," writes the Institute in its current situation report. R is now estimated at 1.13. The RKI points to statistical fluctuations, which would be intensified by the overall lower numbers. Only last week, the RKI had estimated the R-value at less than 1, in Friday's report at 0.83. In Saturday's report, it then rose to 1.1. The Institute always indicates a fluctuation range for this value. The rise in the value makes it necessary to "observe the development very closely" in the next few days, it said.
12:05 Economic stimulus package for the entire economy
The CDU presidium discussed the stimulation of the German economy and spoke out in favour of an "overall economic stimulus package". Several participants thus welcomed the Federal Government's plans for a broad-based economic stimulus package. The automobile industry and automobile states are calling for government incentives for the industry. A decision should be made by the beginning of June. Critical voices came from the coalition that only certain industries would be supported after the corona crisis.
12:00 CDU leadership pushes for opening of borders
The CDU leadership would like to see a rapid opening of the borders to neighbouring countries. According to a video broadcast by the party's presidency, it is necessary to return to a "Schengen normality" of open internal borders in the EU. At the same time, it was stressed that security standards must be maintained. Several prime ministers discussed the topic on the video. The general tone in favor of rapid border openings was clear. Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU) was under increasing pressure over the weekend due to the ongoing border controls. Among others, North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU), Saar government leader Tobias Hans (CDU) and Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) had called for a quick opening. The Federal Ministry of the Interior, however, had said that there was agreement within the federal government to continue the controls - initially until Friday, May 15.
11:57 Fewer deaths in Spain
The number of daily reported coronavirus deaths in Spain has fallen to the lowest level in seven weeks. The Ministry of Health reports 123 new deaths. This means that a total of 26,744 people have died as a result of infection with the coronavirus in Spain. The number of confirmed infections rose by 3046 to 227,436 within 24 hours.
11:55 Hairdressers and shopping malls in Turkey open again
After a break of almost two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, hairdressers, beauty salons and shopping centres have reopened in Turkey. Customers wore masks and had their temperature measured at the entrance, as the state broadcaster TRT showed. The number of visitors was limited, and loudspeaker announcements reminded people to keep their distance. Strict regulations apply in hairdressing and beauty salons. Hairdressers are equipped with masks and plastic shields. Customers are encouraged to bring their own manicure sets or buy them on site.
11:49 Morticians call for strengthening of domestic coffin production
The coronavirus pandemic has raised the question of dependence on global supply chains for many industries. The funeral industry is therefore also in favor of strengthening domestic production. The Federal Association of Funeral Services pointed out that the majority of all coffins sold in Germany come from abroad. It is estimated that less than 200,000 coffins are produced in Germany each year. This contrasts with the annual death rate of approximately 950,000. However, the association's chairman Jürgen Stahl emphasized: "Coffins are not in short supply. Nevertheless, the coronavirus crisis shows that the supply chains, as with all other goods, are threatened by a global pandemic". According to the association, there are still 15 medium-sized coffin manufacturers in Germany. In addition, there are smaller companies in the joinery and carpentry trades that also manufacture coffins. The vast majority of all coffins sold in Germany are imported from Eastern Europe. Poland is by far the most important country of origin, accounting for an estimated two thirds of the import volume.
11:42 Austria helps catering industry with 500 million euro
The Austrian government wants to support the catering industry in the country with tax breaks. For example, by lowering the sales tax on non-alcoholic beverages, said Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. In total, a 500 million euro aid package will be put together for the industry. In Austria, restaurants will be allowed to reopen on 15 May, subject to certain conditions. However, they must ensure a minimum distance between tables. The hotel industry is to follow at the end of the month.
11:32 Russia: Highest value yet for new infections
Russia reports another record increase of 11,656 new infections thus bringing the total number of detected infections to 221,344. Only the USA and Spain are currently reporting more cases worldwide. For several days now, the daily number of new infections in Russia has exceeded 10,000, which the authorities attribute to an increased testing program. The number of deaths rose within one day by 94 to 2009.
11:14 Rosenheim falls below upper limit again
Rosenheim has fallen just below the limit of 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days during the coronavirus pandemic. The number was 49 on Monday, according to figures from the Robert Koch Institute. The city has come very close to the limit several times, which the federal and state governments had agreed upon as an "emergency brake" in the plan for easing restrictions. Appropriate measures are to be taken locally if the limit is exceeded.
10:56 Italy's industry collapses
Industrial production in Italy fell drastically in March. The national statistics office Istat announced that production had dropped by 28.4 percent in a month-to-month comparison, meaning that the drop was even more severe than analysts had feared. The year-to-year production comparison was also much more dramatic than expected. The statistics office reported a decline of 29.3 percent for March, while the market expectation was 18.3 percent. Italy has been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus crisis. The industrial centers of the third largest economy in the euro zone are located in the north of the country, where the highest number of Covid-19 cases occurred. In March, the government in Rome ordered a large-scale closure of factories to contain the spread of the virus. As the entire month of April was not affected by the factory closures, April data is likely to show an even sharper year-to-year decline.
10:45 More new infections in Wuhan
For the second day in a row, authorities in the Chinese city of Wuhan have reported new infections with the coronavirus. Five new infections were confirmed in a residential area of the city, the authorities reported. An 89-year-old man in the neighborhood was diagnosed with the infection on Sunday - the first in more than a month. Wuhan is the origin of the coronavirus pandemic. To contain the virus, the authorities quarantined the entire city for more than two months. Since the curfew was lifted more than four weeks ago, Wuhan is actually considered a "low-risk" area. In the affected residential area, the risk level has now been raised from "low" to "medium".
10:41 Fact check: Record number of infected people in the USA through record number of tests?
One third of all coronavirus cases worldwide have been reported in the USA - even though it only represents roughly four percent of the world's population. Why is that? US President Trump says: We test more than others. Is it that simple? A fact check by Julia Kastein.
10:34 Singapore: Use of artificial intelligence is booming
The use of artificial intelligence is widespread in Singapore. Experts believe that the coronavirus pandemic will further accelerate the advance of robotics.
10:14 Spain calls for joint EU response to aviation crisis
The Spanish government calls for a joint EU response to the airline crisis in the coronavirus pandemic. Economy Minister Nadia Calvino said in an interview with Bloomberg TV that she "strongly" supported a European response. "Big airlines are European airlines." She pointed out that governments in Europe should guarantee an equal competitive environment for airlines.
09:56 New Corona cases: South Korea tightens restrictions again
South Korea has tightened its corona restrictions again. The reason: there were 26 new cases among Seoul nightclub visitors this weekend. The authorities are now trying to break the chain of infection.
09:39 Infection numbers in Coesfeld increased further
In the district of Coesfeld, the infection numbers have continued to rise following a corona outbreak in a meat plant. On Sunday, 780 confirmed infections were recorded in the district area, 35 more than on Saturday, a district spokesperson said. According to the Robert Koch Institute, the number of new infections in the district was just under 96, well above the established upper limit of 50 new infections per 100,000 residents in the past seven days. Many of the nationwide relaxation of regulations planned from Monday on will thus be postponed in the district by one week, the district announced.
09:30 VW: Sales decline, sales program begins
Volkswagen sold two thirds less vehicles in Germany in April than in the same month last year. Across Europe, the brand's sales dropped by more than 83 percent, said VW brand sales director Jürgen Stackmann on Monday during a telephone conference with journalists. In the countries most affected by the pandemic, Great Britain, Italy, Spain and France, almost no cars were sold in the past month. VW sold 35 percent less vehicles in the USA. In China, sales fell by only 2.5 percent in April, after sharp declines in the previous months. "We expect to reach the previous year's level again in May," Stackmann said with a view to China.
The company is now launching a program to boost demand. This includes for example discounted leasing and financing offers for new and used cars as well.
09:23 Abuse commissioner fears increase of violence
The Federal Government Commissioner for Abuse, Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig, accuses politics and society of failing to combat child abuse. "We have not had a decrease in cases in years." The abuse is itself a pandemic, a huge scale, enormous suffering", Rörig said in the ARD morning magazine. He said that not everything was being done in Germany to protect children effectively from sexualised violence and also from child pornography.
In view of the initial restrictions, Rörig fears a further increase in violence. "The prescribed isolation will have endangered the children even more than in their families anyway", he said. Many children have suffered neglect, abuse and also sexual abuse in their families. Now, if contacts with confidants such as teachers and educators are often interrupted, the danger is even greater.
09:16 Association of Towns and Municipalities warns against problems with schools and day care centres
The Association of Towns and Municipalities warns of difficulties in ramping up school and preschool operations in the coming weeks. "We have to organise shift operations so that there are never too many children in the school building at the same time", said the association's president Uwe Brandl to the newspaper "Welt". In addition, he said, the bus schedules had to be adjusted so that all students come to the schools. In rural areas, separate bus lines would have to be organised for this purpose.
Brandl called for the further opening of day-care centres: "Politicians need to readjust here and allow us to look after more children, even if that means a higher risk". In Bavaria, for example, five children are currently allowed to be looked after by two kindergarten teachers in a group room. "With such a concept, we will very quickly come up against space and personnel limits," said the association's president. "This will completely exhaust our resources."
09:02 Less bankruptcies despite coronavirus crisis
The number of company bankruptcies in Germany has not yet increased despite economic losses due to the coronavirus crisis. According to provisional figures from the Federal Statistical Office, the number of regular bankruptcy proceedings opened in March 2020 increased by 1.6 percent compared to the same month last year. In April, on the other hand, the number of opened proceedings fell significantly by 13.4 percent, the authority announced.
The economic crisis caused by the Corona pandemic and the measures taken to contain it is therefore not reflected in an increase in the number of insolvency proceedings opened in March and April", the statisticians explained. However, this is not surprising at this point in time: the legislator has temporarily exempted companies that become insolvent due to the coronavirus crisis from the obligation to file for insolvency. In addition, the processing of applications in some courts can currently take longer because even there, operations are only partially running smoothly.
08:56 Relaxation in France - state of emergency not extended in time
In France, further easing of restrictions has come into effect. However, the law extending the state of emergency in the health sector will not come into effect on time. The Constitutional Council will only decide on it this Monday. The parliament had approved the extension of the health emergency on Saturday. The law is intended to provide legal security for the government's roadmap for gradual easing.
Hence, the entry into force of two regulations is postponed, subject to the approval of the Constitutional Council. These regulations require people in France to have a valid reason and a certificate for travelling more than 100 kilometres from their residence. Also affected is the regulation that the Paris metro may only be used with a certificate during rush hours. However, there is still a tolerance period for this provision on Monday and Tuesday anyhow. President Emmanuel Macron appealed "to the French sense of responsibility" to comply with these regulations nevertheless.
08:00 Here's what happened last night
- CoViD-19 numbers for Germany: Robert Koch Institute reports 357 new cases of CoViD-19 (169,575 total) and 13 new deaths (7417 total) due to the virus
- Federal government plans billions of aid for Deutsche Bahn
- Jens Spahn calls for consistent on-site intervention
- Pence is not in quarantine despite Corona contact
- Disneyland in Shanghai is reopened