This is a live blog from May 12, 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

  • Pence keeps away from Trump the next few days
  • The basic reproduction rate falls under 1
  • Debates over opening borders
  • France has the fourth highest number of deaths
  • Putins spokesman in hospital due to coronavirus

16:44 Giffey wants wages payments for parents to continue

Federal Family Minister Franziska Giffey is calling for continued pay for parents who cannot go to work because of childcare in the coronavirus crisis. "If parents cannot get a place in extended emergency care and they cannot go to work because regular daycare is not yet in sight, they must receive compensation," said the Social Democrat to the newspapers in the German editorial network. The federal government and states should agree on this issue as soon as possible. Many families have been at the limits of their reserves for weeks.


16:42 Lower Saxony: Quarantine not for all returning travellers

The general quarantine requirement for travelers returning to Lower Saxony is off of the table after a court ruling. The decision could also spread to other federal states. An analysis by Christoph Kehlbach, the ARD broadcaster law editor.


16:33 Tests for all eleven million Wuhan residents

In view of new coronavirus cases in the Chinese million-resident metropolis of Wuhan, the authorities there have ordered the testing of the entire population. According to media reports, each of the 13 city districts has ten days to initiate this process. The time period in which all eleven million inhabitants are to be tested remains open. Six new infections with the novel coronavirus were registered in Wuhan for the first time for a month on Sunday and Monday. The novel coronavirus was first detected in humans in Wuhan at the end of 2019. The authorities have quarantined the entire city for more than two months to contain the virus. Wuhan has actually been considered a "low risk" area since lifting the curfew a good four weeks ago.


15:41 Berlin starts using "coronavirus traffic light system"

In Berlin, the State Government has developed a traffic light warning system to deal with new coronavirus infections. The reproductive number of infections, occupancy ice IC beds, and number of new infections is taken into consideration, according to Health Senator Dilek Kalayci (SPD). If the cumulative number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants over seven days, for example, reaches 20, the traffic light jumps to yellow, when it reaches 30 new infections, it will turn red. "Our peak to date was at 37" said Ms. Kalayci.

Last week, the Heads of the State Governments and Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) had agreed on a guideline value of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants. The Senate of Berlin considers this figure too high. The State of Hamburg and Lower Saxony also indicate that they intend to act with new infection rates lower than 50.


15:37 "Historical Day" in Saxony

Saxony wants to already start lifting many of the previously announced coronavirus restrictions this Friday. This was announced by the government after a cabinet meeting. Under the new protection regulation, for example, theatres, cinemas, and outdoor swimming pools can reopen. This was originally planned for next Monday. Only catering businesses and hotels were initially allowed to reopen on Friday. In exceptional cases, family members can make visits to elderly and nursing homes. This is subject to the availability of a hygiene concept. Nursery schools and schools will still reopen on Monday.

Saxony’s Health Minister Petra Köpping (SPD) spoke of an “historical day”. This concerns the most comprehensive relaxation of measures across the country. Saxony’s Economy Minister Martin Dulig (SPD) spoke of a “mutual step” in deciding the relaxations, but warned against carelessness. Social distancing requirements and the obligation to cover one’s mouth and nose in certain areas will remain in force.

It will once again be possible to visit driving, flying, and boat schools, including practice lessons and examinations. Dance schools, fitness and sports studios, casinos, playgrounds, betting shops, and leisure and amusement parks can also reopen if they submit an approved hygiene concept. Both indoors and outdoors sports facilities are open to the public again. After a decision by the High Administrative Court in Bautzen, shops can reopen immediately, without 800 sqm surface restrictions.


15:17 Italian beaches to open again soon

Many northern Italian regions of Italy are looking to reopen their beaches as soon as possible. From next Monday onwards, the Region of Emilia-Romagna wants to start allowing access to the sea as well as bars, restaurants, and hairdressers again. Restricting economic activity for too long would have "serious social consequences", said Tourist Commissioner Andrea Corsini.

From Monday, the Region of Veneto also "wants to open everything we can," said Regional President Luca Zaia. Liguria is also ready to lift its ban on beachgoing. Beaches "are open air places, there is enough space available," said Regional President Giovanni Toti. He expressed greater concern about the risk of infection in restaurants and bars.

Therefore, access to lidos will be strictly regulated, with mandatory reservations. This is specified in a document by the Institute for Occupational Safety and the National Health Institute. There should be a minimum distance of five meters between rows of parasols. Social distancing must also be observed in the water.


14:56 Putin spokesman ill

The spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dmitri Peskow, has been hospitalized with a coronavirus infection. According to the Russian news agency TASS, Mr. Peskow has stated that he last had contact with Mr. Putin a month ago.

Just a day before, Mr. Putin said that Russia is being successful in slowing down the spread of Covid-19, and announced relaxations of the curfews.


13:59 Thuringia allows gatherings without restriction on number of participants

From Wednesday, demonstrations will be possible in Thuringia without restrictions on the number of participants. This is stipulated in a provides in a regulation agreed on by the cabinet, as the Ministry of Health in Erfurt announced.


13:51 Berlin decides on its own early warning system

Deviating from the agreements between the federal government and the states, Berlin is implementing its own warning system during the coronavirus pandemic. It will take the reproduction rate, the number of new infections, and the number of intensive care beds in use for CoViD-19 patients into account, said the governing mayor Michael Müller and Health Senator Dilek Kalayci. If critical limits are reached for two of the indicators, the senate plans to test existing relaxations or, if necessary, postpone any planned relaxations. Berlin had previously announced that it would set its own threshold for new infections.


13:30 Pope calls for more money for the health care sector

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis is demanding more money for the health care sector and more recognition for its employees. "In many countries, the pandemic has also brought to light the shortcomings of the health care system," the head of the Catholic church said on International Nurses Day. "Therefore, I am turning to the political leaders around the world and asking them to invest in health - a fundamental common good - to develop structures, and to hire more caregivers in order to ensure that everyone is given adequate care that respects the dignity of every person."


13:14 Analysis: Common sense is the most important resource

The protests against the coronavirus measures are a warning to politicians. That's because the discussions about restrictions and relaxations are important. However, the tone will be crucial, says Georg Mascolo.


13:07 EU Commission in favor of gradual lifting of border controls

The EU Commission wants to call on member states to lift the border controls introduced because of the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, the authority will present "guidelines" recommending a "step-by-step and gradual abolishment" of national controls, the Director-General of the Commission's Migration and Home Affairs Department, Monique Pariat, said in the EU Parliament. In particular, exemptions for workers and family members should be expanded at border crossings.


13:00 South Korea: Authorities search for infected individuals with cell phone data

Following an increase in new infections in South Korea, the authorities are now using cell phone data and  working with the police to find possible coronavirus cases among club visitors. By Tuesday, 101 infections had already been connected to the new center of infection in the nightlife district of Itaewon in the capital of Seoul, as mayor Park Won Woon reported.

Mobile operators provided the city administration with data from 10,905 people who spent time in Itaewon during the last two weeks. According to the mayor, they were sent an SMS requesting that they be tested for coronavirus. At the moment, around 7,000 people have done so. However, according to the disease control authority, nearly 2,000 affected individuals could not be reached - thousands of police officers are now trying to find them.


12:46 Coronavirus infections: Russia now in second place worldwide

The number of infected persons has risen sharply since the first easing of restrictions in Russia. The authorities report that there are now more than 232,200 confirmed cases. According to surveys by the US University of Johns Hopkins, the largest country in the world in terms of area now ranks second, ahead of Spain. Only the USA has more cases. According to Russian authorities, almost 10,900 new infections were reported on Tuesday. 43,500 people are considered to have recovered. They explained the sharp increase by the fact that significantly more people are being tested for the virus than at the beginning of the epidemic. A high number of unreported cases is expected, however. In Spain, the number of new infections has fallen to its lowest level in more than two months. The Ministry of Health reported 594 infections within 24 hours. This brings the number of detected infections to 228,030, while the number of deaths increased by 176 and is thus slightly higher at 26,920.


12:30 Thyssenkrupp in and facing difficult times

The industrial group has just finished a loss-making quarter and is likely to face some difficult times ahead. The steel business in particular is a source of problems, especially in the coronavirus crisis. The share price has slumped by double digits.


12:23 German online retail industry is catching up

German online retailers in April were able to make up significantly for the decline in sales recorded in March. Overall, e-commerce with goods was 17.9 percent higher than in the same month last year, reaching 6.82 billion euros, according to the German E-Commerce and Mail Order Association (bevh). However, not all areas have yet been able to make up for the losses. If March and April are taken together, sales of clothing are still almost nine percent below the same period last year, and a good eleven percent below the figure for shoes. During the same period, however, food sales doubled and business with medicines increased by 87 percent.


12:21 Building cleaners call for the end of telephone sick leave

Due to a high level of sick leave in the industry, building cleaners are calling for a rapid end to availability of telephone sick leave during the coronavirus crisis. This option for employees should "not become a permanent condition", said the managing director of the Federal Guild Association of the Building Cleaning Trade, Johannes Bungart. According to a survey conducted by the association among its member companies, the sickness rate among building cleaners has almost doubled since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, to just under twelve percent.


12:18 Airport operator Fraport faces job cuts

The Frankfurt airport operator Fraport is preparing the approximately 22,000 employees for a reduction in staff. "From today's perspective, I would be very happy if we were able to see 30 to 35 percent of traffic again in December or November," said Fraport CEO Stefan Schulte. He does not expect normalization until 2023 - but even then, passenger traffic will be 15 to 20 percent lower than in 2019, a level he called "normal zero". "Of course we will have to adjust resources. Whether they are material expenses, whether they are personnel expenses. There is no other way," Schulte continued. The aim is to make the job cuts as socially acceptable as possible. However, it is still far too early for details on the extent of the job cuts. Currently, more than 18,000 employees are on short-time work.


12:14 Brussels Airlines plans to cut up to 1000 jobs

The Lufthansa subsidiary Brussels Airlines plans to cut some 1000 jobs due to the economic pressure of the coronavirus crisis. This will affect about one quarter of the workforce. This was reported by the news agency Belga with reference to trade unionists and the company. A reduction of the fleet by 30 percent is also planned. These measures are "essential to ensure the survival of the company", explained the company. A return to normal business is not expected until 2023. Brussels Airlines had requested 290 million euros in liquidity aid from the Belgian government. In return, however, the government demands solid guarantees from Lufthansa for its subsidiary Brussels Airlines. Discussions about this are still ongoing, Belga reported further.


12:10 Ideas for Munich: After Oktoberfest cancellation - booths in the city

After the cancellation of the Oktoberfest and other public festivals, the city of Munich is looking to explore new approaches: Booths and possibly also certain rides could be set up in a decentralized way at different places throughout the city. It is not a substitute for the Oktoberfest, emphasized Munich's economic advisor and head of the Oktoberfest, Clemens Baumgärtner. It is rather a matter of organizing summer events in the city and at the same time helping the exhibitors who are suffering from the consequences of the coronavirus crisis. The city council will discuss the proposals tomorrow.


12:05 DGB calls for protective shield for public health insurance companies

In view of the imminent deficit of billions in the public health insurance system, the German Trade Union Federation (DGB) has called for more state support. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) must "put up a protective umbrella for the health insurance companies", demanded DGB board member Anja Piel. During the pandemic period, the health insurance companies must currently also "co-finance general risk prevention, which is actually the task of the state". Specifically, Piel demanded that the federal subsidy for the statutory health insurance funds be increased without linking this to repayment obligations. "It cannot be allowed that in the end the benefits for the contributors are reduced, and in the worst case they pay for the costs of the crisis with their health," explained the trade unionist. The costs of the coronavirus crisis should not have to be "borne by the insured". The health insurance companies themselves are also demanding a higher federal subsidy. According to reports, they are threatened with a minus of more than 14 billion euros this year. However, the costs directly related to the coronavirus only make up a part of this. In addition, loss of contributions due to the collapse of the economy as well as financial consequences of reform laws already passed before the pandemic are the main reasons.


11:59 Corona Hospital in New York's Central Park to be dismantled

A makeshift hospital for coronavirus patients in New York's Central Park is being dismantled due to declining patient numbers. The US aid organization Samaritan's Purse built the 68-bed makeshift hospital at the end of March to relieve the burden on New York's hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. The last of 190 patients were released on May 5th, according to a spokeswoman. The coronavirus has hit New York harder than any other US city. About 20,000 people died. However, the US health authority CDC now believes that the number of coronavirus deaths in New York could be more than 5,000 higher than officially reported.


11:11 82 New infections reported in slaughterhouse in Baden-Württemberg

An additional 82 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in a slaughterhouse in Birkenfeld near Pforzheim. This brings the number of employees who are or were infected with Covid-19 to approximately 400, according to a spokeswoman of the District Office in the Enzkreis district of Baden-Wuerttemberg. This is almost a quarter of the total of about 1100 employees. The results were published by the office on Monday evening. According to the results, almost 150 employees have recovered in the meantime. This means that they may return to work. However, they are still subject to the company quarantine and are only allowed to move between home and work, the spokeswoman continued. The infected employees, who had been living in cramped conditions, had been relocated to alternative accommodations by the District Office some time ago.


11:03 Study: School closures had the greatest effect

Among the measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic, a study found that the closure of kindergartens and schools had the greatest effect. The growth rate of confirmed infections was reduced by 7.9 percentage points, according to a study by the Institute for Employment Research. According to the study, 5.0 percentage points are attributable to the initial restrictions imposed and 3.4 percentage points to the discontinuation of professional and popular sports. The researchers further explained that closures in the retail, hospitality, and hair and beauty sectors, among others, had hardly any effect.


10:48 Spain also sends those entering the country into quarantine

In the fight against the coronavirus, Spain now also intends to send all those entering from abroad into a two-week quarantine. The Spanish government's decision was published in an official bulletin. The measure will apply from May 15th and will remain in force until the state of emergency declared in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic is lifted. This measure was last extended until May 24th, but could be extended further at the request of the left-wing government. Until now, such a provision has only been in place in certain cases, such as for people entering from Italy. Now Spain is following other European countries, including Germany, with this stricter measure.


10:04 Live: Robert Koch Institute press conference

How does the Robert Koch Institute assess the situation in view of the increased infection rate? Follow the RKI press conference live here.


09:55 Study: 50 million applications for short-time work in Europe

In the EU and Switzerland, short-time working has been requested for around 50 million employees. This is the result of a study by the Hans Böckler Foundation, which is closely linked to the trade unions. The most applications were in France with 11.3 million. Germany, with 10.1 million, is in second place in the absolute figures. According to the figures, short-time work accounts for 26.9 percent of the German labour market, which is roughly in line with the EU average. By contrast, there is virtually no short-time work in Slovakia and Poland.


09:40 "Death Watch" in New York criticizes Trump's coronavirus policy

A recent installation in New York's Times Square shows the number of coronavirus deaths that US President Donald Trump is said to be responsible for through misguided policies. The illuminated panel is a project by filmmaker Eugene Jareck. The "Trump Death Watch" is based on the assumption that 60 percent of the deaths in the USA are attributable to the president.


09:34 WHO: Seven to eight promising vaccine candidates

The World Health Organization WHO has identified seven to eight promising candidates in the search for a vaccine against the new coronavirus. The research efforts will be strengthened by the 7.4 billion euros recently raised for this purpose, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.


09:26 France: 1.3 billion euros for tourism industry

France wants to support its struggling tourism industry with 1.3 billion euros. The aid program is due to be launched this week by a committee led by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, according to Olivier Sichel, vice-president of the Caisse des Dépôts state financial institution, on the radio station "France Info". He said that it was a "grand Marshall Plan for tourism". According to him, the financial aid is to be granted under certain conditions. The prerequisites are environmental protection and the use of digital technology, "so that the offer is made accessible to all French people", Sichel emphasized.


09:14 High death toll: criticism of Sweden's geriatric care

Sweden has imposed significantly fewer coronavirus restrictions than neighbouring countries - but it also has higher death rates. Many people in nursing homes have died. The search is now on for causes and culprits.


09:03 Ryanair to begin flight operations again in summer

Europe's largest low-cost airline Ryanair has announced that it will be starting up its flight operations again this summer. The company announced that 40 percent of its regular flights will be back in operation as of July 1. The prerequisite is that governments relax travel restrictions within the EU and that security measures are introduced at airports. According to its own statements, Ryanair would then offer almost 1,000 flights a day, covering 90 percent of the routes the airline had served before the coronavirus crisis. At the end of March, Ryanair suspended most of its flight operations. The company currently offers only about 30 flights a day between Ireland, Great Britain, and continental Europe.


08:00 Here's what happened last night

  • CoViD-19 numbers for Germany: Robert Koch Institute reports 933 new cases of CoViD-19 (170,508 total) and 116 new deaths (7533 total) due to the virus
  • 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