This is a live blog from May 25, 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.
18:12 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).
- Trump threatens to change his nomination party conference
- German government's rescue package for Lufthansa is complete
- Viennese doctors succeed in first corona lung transplantation in Europe
- DFB treasurer speaks of "deepest economic crisis
- Spanish Tourism Minister promises holiday season from July
- 289 new infections and 10 new deaths
17:22 FDP wants government statement about Merkel-Macron plan
The FDP in the German Parliament is calling for a government statement by Chancellor Angela Merkel on the proposed 500 billion euro reconstruction program for the EU. The German share of this is significant “and clearly affects Parliament’s budgetary law,” says a letter from the FDP Group’s First Parliamentary Whip, Marco Buschmann, to Head of ChancelleryHelge Braun, which was given to the dpa news agency.
Merkel had proposed the program, which provides for non-refundable subsidies for coronavirus crisis states, together with French President Emmanuel Macron.
17:18 France wants to make "massive" investments in hospitals
The French government has approved "massive investments" in public hospitals as a consequence of the coronavirus crisis. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe promised a "wide-reaching aid plan" for the battered hospitals and considerably better pay for health workers. The government wants to show ist recognition for the great commitment of doctors and carers, he said. The question about working times in hospitals is also not taboo.
Philippe commented at the start of weeks-long government and around 300 hospital and union representatives video negotiations. The talks should lead to concrete decisions in mid-July. President Emmanuel Macron had previously admitted to "mistakes" in the health reform and promised a coronavirus bonus of up to 1500 euros per worker.
The public hospitals have a debt of around 30 billion euros. The government had promised to take over a third of this in three years in autumn 2019. Philippe is now saying that this is not enough. The health workers are accusing the current and former governments of forcing the system to breaking point through savings.
17:08 England: Women's football season canceled
The English women’s football season is over early. This was announced by the association after the overwhelming majority of the associations of the Women’s Super League and the Women’s Championship League had voted for a cancellation.
Now the FA national association has to decide how the season is evaluated and which teams are registered for the international competitions, After the last matchday before the cancellation, Manchester City leads the table with a point lead in one more game ahead of FC Chelsea. FC Arsenal is third with four points behind and also one game less than Manchester.
Unlike in England, the women’s Football League in Germany is resuming operations on Friday after the break imposed by the coronavirus.
16:56 Federal rescue package for Lufthansa formed
The Federal Government has agreed on financial support for Lufthansa, which was hard hit by the coronavirus crisis. As the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Finance has reported, the rescue package has a total amount of 9 billion euros. Lufthansa has announced that the Group’s Board of Directors supports the package; the Supervisory Board has yet to agree.
According to Lufthansa, the State is expected to take over 20 percent of Lufthansa for about 300 million euros. However, the lion’s share of the aid consists of a silent partner contribution of 4.7 billion euros. Besides, a further silent participation of over 1 billion euros can be converted into shares. Thus, the State could increase its shareholding in Lufthansa to 25 percent plus one share if another investor were to try to take over the airline.
16:36 EU Commission calls for cross-border use of coronavirus apps
The EU Commission is calling for compatible coronavirus apps in the Member States before the holiday season. “We need to ensure that contacts across borders are tracked quickly and effectively, and this requires close cooperation,” said Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides. “Compatibility is crucial – so citizens can be warned of a possible infection, no matter where they are in the EU, and which app they are using.” Certifications of immunity to coronavirus should not be relied upon, said Kyriakides.
Instead, preventative measures should continue to apply during the travel season, such as maintaining minimum social distances. There will be further CoViD-19 cases despite precautionary measures. Therefore, the EU states do not only need test strategies but also sufficient treatment capacity, especially in places that attract people in summer.
16:18 Sweden records more than 4000 coronavirus deaths
4,029 people have died as a result of an infection with the coronavirus in Sweden as reported by the health authorities. State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell however, sees the development as positive. The number of infections and deaths in senior residences has decreased. Approximately 34,000 infections have been registered so far.
The rate of registered deaths in Sweden is many times higher than in Norway or Germany. So far, in Sweden, 40 deaths have occurred per 100,000 inhabitants. It is 4.4 in Norway, in Germany, around ten per 100,000. The Swedish strategy is therefore highly controversial. Unlike in many other countries, for example, the government in Sweden has not closed schools but simply asked the citizens to maintain social distance and wash their hands.
16:15 Ramelow: Obligation to wear face masks in public transport remains
The Thuringians will probably have to continue to wear masks in buses, trains, and shops to protect against coronavirus infection. He will propose to the Cabinet that "for example, the mouth and nose protection in public transport should continue," said State Premier Bodo Ramelow (left) in an interview with RTL/ntv.
He spoke similarly to MDR on Monday. He told the broadcaster that the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday should discuss whether and how the contact bans adopted in Thuringia could be eased. Before that, Ramelow had announced an end to the nationwide coronavirus lock-down and predicted that general protection regulations are to be waived from 6 June. His pressing ahead met with criticism, nationwide and also in Thuringia.
16:12 Ski World Championship in Cortina to be postponed to 2022
The Cortina d'Ampezzo Alpine World Ski Championships will be canceled in February 2021 and postponed by one year due to the coronavirus crisis. Giovanni Malagò, President of the National Olympic Committee (Coni), announced this on Italian television.
The title contests in the Dolomites will therefore first take place in March 2022 and thus shortly after the Beijing Olympic Winter Games. An appropriate request should be submitted to the Fis Ski World Association.
Italy is concerned that there will be a further increase in coronavirus infections in the autumn. The risk that the World Championship would then have to be completely canceled and that the organizers would face considerable financial problems is to be countered by the postponement.
16:10 Trump threatens to move Nomination Party Congress
US President Donald Trump has threatened to move the Republican Nomination Party Congress, which was planned for August because of the coronavirus social distancing measures. He challenged Ray Cooper, the Democratic Governor of North Carolina to immediately settle whether the halls could be filled or not. Otherwise, the party will choose another location "with all the jobs and economic developments connected with it".
US Vice President Mike Pence told the Fox News broadcaster that Trump’s request is understandable. These Party Congresses need months to prepare and the Republicans need planning reliability.
The American Presidential Election is on November 3rd. Diverse preselections have been postponed or made into postal elections due to the crisis. The Democrats have already postponed their Nomination Party Congress from July to August because of the pandemic. It is not clear whether large gatherings of this type can be held in a normal manner.
15:56 France: Nursing home care workers demonstrate for higher wages
Employees of a care provider have taken to the streets in France for better pay. They gathered in front of the Korian Group buildings in Paris, Lille, and other cities, following a call from left-wing unions.
In France, where Korian operates nearly 300 care homes, the group faces several complaints from families who have lost relatives to the coronavirus pandemic. The prosecutor’s office has initiated investigations.
The government intends to start discussions today after two months, with healthcare employees on changes in the system. The sector has been affected by austerity measures for decades. Korian is a major provider of care facilities and provides care and care services.
15:38: Parliament votes by a large majority to continue the third division
The third division season will continue as planned on 30 May. 222 of the 250 delegates at the Extraordinary Meeting of parliament voted for a continuation of the season. That was a 94.87 percent vote. 16 delegates abstained.
The request for a stoppage from the Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt associations was not voted upon. The request had provided that there would be no relegations to the regional leagues during this season. The league table should be evaluated after 27 days of play, table leader MSV Duisburg and follower Waldhof Mannheim should go up a league. A continuation of the current season should be rejected since the hygiene concept for third-league players would be difficult to implement and the season would only be finished July.
The two-tier third division requested by the Saarland association is off the table for the time being. The request only had 18 votes. 220 delegates decided against it with 15 abstentions. A task force, however, is to consider the economic future of the third division.
15:13 Pakistan authorities consider new curfews
Pakistan’s authorities are again considering country-wide curfews due to increasing coronavirus infections. “We could once again opt for a nationwide lock-down because the virus is spreading rapidly and we need to react before it gets out of control,” said Zafar Mirzai, Special Representative of the Prime Minister for Health. A national committee is to consider the introduction of a lock-down in the coming days.
Mirzai criticized the fact that people had not followed precautionary measures during the month of fasting Ramadan. Over time, the number of known Sars-Cov-2 infections has increased by about four times.
Most restrictions have been lifted in Pakistan for about two weeks. The government justified the decision with the fight against poverty, particularly as day laborers workers did not find work and were increasingly threatened with hunger. Operations of individual economic sectors will be started up step by step.
15:10 New infection from mink to humans in the Netherlands
A person has once again been infected with coronavirus by mink in the Netherlands. "Based on the information available it is highly likely that at least one of three people infected has been infected by a mink", Agricultural Minister Carola Schouten wrote to Parliament.
A similar case was made known at a mink farm in the past week. Strict protective measures were set after that. Vets accused the Minister of playing down the risk of infection. They demanded that farms with a particularly high number of infected animals have to be cleared.
Schouten rejected drastic measures at the moment. She wants to wait for the results of a current investigation of all breeding facilities. There are around 150 mink farms in the Netherlands, mainly in the east of the country near the German border. All Dutch mink farms have to stop operations according to a court decision by 2024; independent of the coronavirus pandemic.
15:06 German Football Federation Treasurer speaks of "deepest economic crisis"
The German Football Federation (DFB) is threatened with significant economic cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic. “The DFB is in the deepest economic crisis of its existence,” said Treasurer Stephan Osnabrügge at the extraordinary Federation Meeting of the Federation. “It could lead to a threat to its existence.”
In the worst case, the DFB expects a loss of 77 million euros by the end of the year, which would exceed the reserves by 13.9 million euros. “However, this would not lead to the DFB becoming insolvent,” Osnabrügge said.
The functionary stressed the importance of international games and the DFB Cup The national team games alone generate 59 million euros, the cup ten million. 105 million comes through sponsors. “We hope that international matches can take place again in the second half of the year. This is existentially crucial for the DFB“.
The DFB will act very frugally to reduce the losses as much as possible. Osnabrügge ruled out redundancies, however. These would provide relief in the short term but endanger the future of the Federation in the long term. “Firing is the last thing to think of, “ said Osnabrügge. All the executives of the Federation have given up ten to 30 percent of their salaries, according to his information.
14:48 Czech coal mine closed due to coronavirus outbreak
An eastern Czech coal mine near the Polish border has halted operations due to a coronavirus outbreak. Tests performed on 2,400 people in the past few days had shown that 212 of them were infected with Sars-CoV-2, the authorities reported in Karvina. Most of them were miners at the Darkov Mine and their family members. It is currently the biggest corona hot spot in the Czech Republic.
14:44 Basketball Euroleague and Eurocup definitively cancelled
The basketball season in the Euroleague and in the Eurocup has definitively been cancelled. After the continental competitions had already been paused since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Euroleague decided not to continue the games. This affects FC Bayern and Alba Berlin in the Euroleague, as well as the German Eurocup teams Oldenburg and Ulm.
According to information given by the league, there were several reasons not to resume the season, including the different regulatory requirements in place in light of the coronavirus crisis in the respective host cities. Since the season has been canceled, there are no champions in the leagues. At the same time, the league decided to ensure that the 18 Euroleague teams would also be allowed to compete in the most important European competition next year.
14:41 Coronavirus outbreak in Frankfurt: congregation did not wear face masks
After more than 100 people were infected with coronavirus in a Baptist congregation in Frankfurt, there are now further indications of the conditions under which the virus could spread. While separate entrances and exits were used at the gathering on May 10, and the minimum distance of 1.50 meters was respected, attendees were not required to wear face masks, according to a statement which the Frankfurt Evangelical Christian Baptist congregation had published on its homepage. Moreover, according to the congregation, the service also involved singing.
The congregation was "deeply troubled and sad" about the coronavirus outbreak. "We take consolation in the fact that many of those infected are recovering, and some are already healthy again. Since there are many families with five children or more in the congregation, the number of infections is continuing to increase at home. The association's chairperson and his deputy have been infected. Church services for the congregation are now only taking place online.
14:29 Developers of warning app say they are on track
The developers of the so-called coronavirus app to curb the pandemic plan to launch the app for contact tracing at the start of the first summer holidays in Germany. "We are well on schedule," said a spokesman for the software provider SAP. Meanwhile, they are halfway done.
SAP has been working on the app together with Deutsche Telekom since the end of April, after previous initiatives had failed due to disputes over storage options. Originally, such an app was scheduled to be available in Germany in April, as it was in Austria. It is seen as an essential aid to trace the contacts of Covid 19 patients - including across borders - and to inform them about necessary quarantine measures.
Telekom and SAP have also set themselves the goal of working in a very transparent way and publishing information on a regular basis, for example on the app's architecture on the open source platform Github. In the meantime, both companies involved in developing the app can also resort to the necessary interfaces which have in the meantime been published by Google and Apple. While Germany is still busy developing the coronavirus warning app, such an app already exists in 40 countries, including South Korea, Australia, and Cyprus, according to figures gathered by the law firm Linklaters.
13:31 Merkel insists on extending social distancing rules distance requirement
Chancellor Angela Merkel insists that the central rules of conduct remain in force. Regarding the rules on distancing and hygiene, she wants to continue to enforce binding orders, not just instructions, beyond June 5, says her spokesman Steffen Seibert. On June 5, the previous regulations will come to an end. In contrast, Thuringian State Premier Bodo Ramelow had announced that from this date, the rules would no longer apply in his state and, if necessary, would be replaced by local regulations.
13:13 Virologist Drosten is sceptical about Ramelow's plans
Virologist Christian Drosten has expressed scepticism about Thuringian State Premier Bodo Ramelow’s approach of putting more emphasis on people’s personal responsibility in the future during the coronavirus pandemic. “Personal responsibility is what the Swedish model is based on, and these days we are seeing that this has led to a very high level of mortality, which will rise even more in the coming months,” the Charité scientist told the radio station Deutschlandfunk. “So I am not quite sure whether this can all work through personal responsibility.” Drosten urged for better guidelines for certain social areas such as schools and kindergartens.
12:58 Vienna doctors successfully perform first coronavirus lung transplant in Europe
At the Medical University of Vienna, a lung transplant was successfully performed on a coronavirus patient. According to the university, this was the first Covid-19 lung transplant to ever take place in Europe. The surgery had been vital, the 45-year-old patient would presumably have died otherwise due to severe lung failure.
"From our point of view, she is in excellent shape now, we haven't had any serious problems so far," said Clinical Director Walter Klepetko after the surgery. "The organs all work, we are all satisfied. But we still have a long way ahead of us until we hope we can finally discharge her from the hospital." The transplant took place a week ago.
12:42 Increase in train passengers
The number of Deutsche Bahn passengers has risen significantly over the past few days. “We are currently at around 50 percent of the previous year’s level,” said the Head of Passenger Service Berthold Huber. Meanwhile, figures had fallen by around 90 percent during the crisis. In order to meet the growing demand, the corporation is now also increasing its services in long-haul transport. Gradually, capacity on the important routes is set to double again – initially on the route between Berlin and the Ruhr region, said Huber.
12:42 Interview: Why are conspiracy theories so successful?
In the coronavirus crisis, conspiracy theories are growing more and more popular - and the name "QAnon" is mentioned again and again. In an interview, Miro Dittrich from the Amadeu Antonio Foundation explains what this is all about and why such myths are becoming more and more successful, even in mainstream society.
12:20 State of emergency lifted in Japan
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has lifted the coronavirus-related state of emergency, which had still be been in effect in parts of the country until recently. He is hereby ending the restrictions in Japan for the whole country. Experts from a government commission had previously agreed to lift the restrictions in Tokyo and four other prefectures. In most parts of the country, they had already been relaxed earlier. This means that companies can now slowly start to resume operations. The measures were in force for more than one and a half months.
12:12 Report: Federal government and Lufthansa have basically reached an agreement
According to information from the dpa, the federal government and Lufthansa's management have basically agreed on billion-dollar state aid for the hard-hit airline. However, the steering committee of the state-run Economic Stabilisation Fund, Lufthansa's boards, and the EU Commission still need to consent.
The agreement was "within the framework" of the rescue plan provided by the federal government, said the dpa, referring to information from government circles. According to this information, the amount of aid is nine billion euros. For the time being, the federal government intends to have a direct stake in Lufthansa with 20 percent. This would be below the blocking minority, with which important decisions could be blocked.
12:08 Report: Chancellery continues to support social distancing and an requirement to wear a mask
According to a media report, the federal government continues to support contact restrictions, even after Thuringia's change of course. This was reported by the newspaper "Bild" on the basis of a draft decision made by the chancellery for the round of the heads of the state chancelleries. In this draft, Head of the Chancellery Helge Braun suggests continuing to impose a nationwide minimum distance of 1.5 meters in public places and the requirement to wear masks in certain public spaces. The hygiene rules should also be observed for private gatherings in closed rooms, and "the number of attendees should generally be restricted to a maximum of ten."
11:23 Corona Cabinet meeting cancelled due to Ramelow initiative
According to a report by RTL and ntv, the meeting of the Federal Government's Corona Cabinet planned for today has been cancelled at short notice. Following the initiative of Thuringia's Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow, there is an urgent need for talks between the federal government and the states, the broadcasters reported, referring to the Federal Chancellery. According to the report, the Corona Cabinet was to discuss possible further easing of restrictions after today. The participants were surprised by the extensive plans announced from Erfurt, which made the draft resolution obsolete. Ramelow announced over the weekend that he wanted to lift the general, state-wide corona protection regulations in Thuringia as of June 6.
11:15 Turkey prepares for tourists
Turkey plans to open its beaches and hotels to international tourism as early as June. But many restaurateurs are unsettled by unclear guidelines from the authorities, reports ARD correspondent Karin Senz.
10:59 CDU leaders criticize the easing of restrictions in Thuringia
Thuringian's rush to lift their coronavirus restrictions has been criticized by the CDU leadership. In a video conference of the CDU presidium reference was made to a "devastating" signal, as the news agency dpa learned from participants. They were surprised by the plans of Thuringia's Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (Left Party). Criticism came from Saarland's Prime Minister Tobias Hans and NRW's head of government Armin Lasche.
10:55 Bitkom calls for more help for startups
The IT industry association Bitkom and the banking association BdB are calling for further help for start-ups to cope with the coronavirus crisis. Andreas Krautscheid, BdB managing director, criticised that many of these young companies are not getting the support the government has provided so far quickly enough. Targeted adjustments to the ERP start-up loan program and the KfW corporate loan could secure the liquidity of the companies via the commercial banks until the next financing round. Such assistance is necessary "in order to support start-ups pragmatically and quickly before it is too late," warned Bitkom CEO Bernhard Rohleder. "In this way, we are securing tens of thousands of highly qualified jobs as well as our technological competitiveness after the end of the crisis.
10:40 Saxony announces a change in coronavirus restrictions
Following Thuringia, Saxony has also announced a fundamental change in dealing with restrictions in the coronavirus crisis. "If the number of new infections remains stable at a low level, we are planning a major shift in the next corona protection ordinance starting on June 6," said Health Minister Petra Köpping (SPD) in Dresden. "Instead of imposing overall restrictions, as is now the case, and listing the many exceptions for what is possible again, restrictions will be generally lifted and only the few exceptions will be listed," explained Köpping. This was reported earlier by the "Leipziger Volkszeitung".
10:26 Moods improve in the boardrooms
After their historic lows, the mood in German boardrooms is brightening up again somewhat. The Ifo business climate index for May rose to 79.5 points from 74.2 points in April, according to the Munich-based Ifo Institute. "The first easing of restrictions has provided a glimmer of hope," said Ifo President Clemens Fuest. Economists interviewed by Reuters had only expected an increase to 78.3 points. The managers interviewed by Ifo assessed their situation somewhat worse, but were less skeptical about the future. The federal and state governments have introduced the first easing of strict containment measures against the coronavirus pandemic.
09:45 Spain's Tourism Minister promises holiday season to start in July
According to Spain's Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto, foreigners will probably be able to spend their holidays in the country again starting in July. She told the radio station Onda Cero that the obligation of a two-week self-quarantine is likely to be lifted by then. It was therefore "coherent" to plan a summer vacation in Spain for July.
09:38 Number of traffic fatalities reaches low in March
Due to the restrictions imposed by the corona pandemic, the number of traffic fatalities on German roads fell in March to a low since the reunification. 158 people were killed in accidents; according to preliminary results the Federal Statistical Office reported that in March 2019 the number of road fatalities was 234. "Never before since the German reunification in 1990 have fewer people been killed in traffic accidents in one month than in March 2020", it was said. According to a spokeswoman, more than 200 people die in road accidents every month.
09:02 Germany slips into a recession
The Coronavirus crisis is hitting the German economy with force. The gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 2.2 percent in the first quarter compared to the prior quarter, according to the Federal Statistical Office. The Wiesbaden authorities thus confirmed initial data. The slump at the beginning of the year was the sharpest quarter-on-quarter decline since the global financial and economic crisis of 2008/2009 and the second sharpest decline since the reunification of Germany. Private consumer spending and exports slumped in the first quarter.
Companies invested significantly less in machinery, appliances, vehicles and other equipment. Increased construction investments and consumer spending by the state reportedly prevented an even more significant crash.
08:00 Here's what happened last night
- CoViD-19 numbers for Germany: Robert Koch Institute reports 289 new cases of CoViD-19 (178,570 total) and 10 new deaths (8,257 total) due to the virus
- Seasonal workers are allowed to enter until June 15
- Christian Lindner advocates for different rules in different regions
- Peter Altmaier plans additional billion aid for SMEs
- USA prohibits entry from Brazil