This is the live blog for March 19, 2020.
Head here for today's news: https://www.lengoo.de/blog/03-31-2020-live-blog-for-covid-19-updates-in-germany-in-english/
Many non-German native speakers are facing quite a challenge 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 based on the live blog of Tagesschau | We are publishing translations between 09:00 a.m. and 16:30 p.m.
16:11 128 have died from coronavirus in England
The number of deaths caused by the coronavirus in England has risen to 128. The age of the victims ranged between 47 and 96 years, all of whom had preexisting conditions, the British health authority informs.
15:50 Short-time work at automotive parts supplier ZF
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the automotive parts supplier ZF in Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance is reducing its production. An agreement had been reached with the ZF General Operating Board on the introduction of short-term work, the company informed. This would now allow parts of production and administration to be controlled to protect the health of the employees and to respond to lacking demand from car and truck manufacturers.
15:28 Poland wants to reduce traffic jams
In a phone call with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed the importance of the unhindered flow of goods in the EU's internal market. Both had exchanged views on national measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus, a government spokesman said. Poland had pledged to introduce a new border clearance procedure to reduce the kilometer-long congestion caused by the Polish border controls, which also messed with the supply chains of the economy.
15:28 German government expects nearly 2.2 million short-term workers
According to a report published in "Handelsblatt" the Federal Government expects nearly 2.2 million short-term workers for the current year. This is the direct result of the measure taken by the Federal Ministry of Labour, the newspaper reported. The government expects that an additional 1.15 million will be added to the approximately one million previously expected cases of short-term work in the course of the Coronavirus crisis.
15:20 The situation in Ticino aggravates
The situation in the Swiss canton of Ticino, which has been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, is "dramatic" according to the national health office. There is an imminent lack of beds in intensive care units for the treatment of severe cases.
The canton of Ticino borders on northern Italy - after China, this region is the most affected by the pandemic worldwide.
15:11 Bavaria: 13 people have died from coronavirus
In Bavaria, the number of deaths due to coronavirus infections has almost doubled within one day. Six more cases have been reported, the Ministry of Health states. Overall, the number in Bavaria thus amounts to 13. So far the Bavarian State Health Office reports 2,282 infections.
15:10 Heiko Maas promises help to holidaymakers stuck abroad
Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas promises quick help to holidaymakers stuck abroad. The evacuation of German citizens stuck in other countries is already underway - and will continue in the coming days.
15:04 The number of deaths in Spain rises sharply
In Spain, the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus pandemic has risen dramatically within the last 24 hours: It increased by almost 30 percent to 767, according to the Ministry of Health in Madrid.
The number of confirmed infections grew by around 25 percent to 17,147, and this number is expected to increase significantly in the coming days as tests for the novel pathogen become more widely available.
14:55 Scandinavian countries and South Korea put together aid packages
The Norwegian and Danish governments have launched further aid packages for the economy. In Copenhagen, the parties agreed to cover one hundred percent of the costs of companies that had to close down due to the coronavirus outbreak. This applies to hairdressing salons and restaurants, for example.
In Norway, employers' taxes are to be reduced. In addition, the parties have agreed to pass a law giving more power to the minority government of Prime Minister Erna Solberg. This will allow her to take measures without prior approval of the parliament. Earlier, Norway had adopted a rescue package worth 100 billion Norwegian kroner - nine billion Euros - to safeguard the incomes of self-employed people and freelancers.
The Swedish government plans to provide 300 billion Swedish kroner - around 28 billion Euros - to ease the economic impact of the Coronavirus crisis.
South Korean President Moon Jae In also announced a 50 trillion won (about 36 billion Euros) emergency package. These are to be made available to small and medium-sized enterprises, small traders and the self-employed.
14:55 Nearly 1,300 deaths in Iran
In Iran, 1,284 people have now died from the coronavirus. Within 24 hours, the Ministry of Health reported 149 deaths. The number of infections increased by 1,046 to 18,407, the Authority informed. Because of the rapid spread of the virus, the authorities have canceled the annual celebrations of the nuclear program, during which the leadership in Tehran usually announced their progress.
14:47 Bundeswehr is preparing for aid mission
Bundeswehr (the German army) is preparing for a mission during the coronavirus crisis if civilian forces should reach their limits. This was announced by Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer in a statement: "We must all be aware that the fight against the virus is a marathon," she said, adding that "we are preparing for it when the endurance of the civilian forces reaches a limit." However, she emphasized that the Bundeswehr is already assisting a wide variety of areas in the course of administrative assistance. 50 such applications under Section 35 of the German Constitution are already being dealt with. These range from the procurement of protective gowns to the surveillance of critical infrastructure buildings, logistical tasks, and the provision of emergency beds.
14:47 EU wants to build strategic reserve
In response to the coronavirus crisis, the EU Commission intends to build a new strategic reserve of medical material worth more than EUR 50 million. It is intended to include equipment such as breathing machines, protective clothing, vaccines, and medicine as well as lab equipment, the EU Commission said. The crisis response coordination center, a service of the Commission in Brussels, would decide where the material is most needed at a given time. Thus the reserve will be used in various countries. Chief EU-Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen explained the reserve will put EU solidarity in action.
14:40 Next European Central Bank emergency package fails to support Dax
The recovery of the German stock market has collapsed in recent weeks: another emergency package of the European Central Bank (ECB) to alleviate the consequences of the novel Coronavirus failed to convince the market participants. The Dax has most recently decreased by one percent to 8358.51 points. In the fight against the economic consequences of the Corona pandemic, ECB has announced an emergency purchase program for bonds amounting to EUR 750 billion.
14:34 North Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg are planning rescue for the economy
Other federal states are planning billions to help the economy cope with the consequences of the coronavirus crisis. The government of North Rhine-Westphalia wants to provide 25 billion euros of economic aid, as announced by Prime Minister Armin Laschet. Brandenburg also plans to provide loans of about 500 million euros. The goal is to provide rapid aid to workers, businesses and self-employed people, the SPD, CDU and Green coalition groups shared.
14:24 Government plans to help self-employed people with billions of Euros
The Federal Government is planning an aid package of over 40 billion euros to help millions of freelancers and micro-businesses. German Press Agency dpa has been made aware of this from members of the government. They are discussing direct payments to affected people to avoid insolvencies.
13:55 Saxony-Anhalt closes hotels for tourists
Until 19 April, hotels, campsites and guesthouses in Saxony-Anhalt will remain closed for tourists. Those who have already checked in will have to leave by Saturday, the Ministry of Social Affairs announced. However, travel for family, commercial or professional reasons remains permitted.
13:50 Coronavirus crisis hinders sea rescuers
Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, aid organisations have to significantly reduce their operations for the rescue of refugees in the Mediterranean. As doctors without borders and SOS Méditerranée have reported, the rescue ship "Ocean Viking" will remain in port for the time being due to the spread of the virus. Sea-Eye and Sea-Watch organizations cannot leave with their ships. Both cited the strict travel restrictions of the countries as the reason. The rescue teams of the organizations consist of members from different countries who could hardly come together now.
13:35 Die Bahn advertises freight transport
"We continuously cross borders and are experiencing no congestion situations like the trucks in front of the Polish border." With this statement, head of freight transport of the Deutsche Bahn, Sigrid Nikutta, advocated shifting deliveries of everyday products from road to rail."
13:24 Around 75,000 reservists nationwide
According to Federal Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, there are around 75,000 reservists throughout Germany who would be "immediately available" to support the Bundeswehr in its deployment in the Corona crisis. The CDU politician spoke of a "large pool of specialists" to which one could accessed. Among them were about 28,000 so-called ordered reservists who already had been scheduled for certain positions. The medical service of the Bundeswehr alone has received more than 2,300 responses to its request for reinforcements so far.
13:13 Özdemir tested positive for coronavirus
The former head of the Green Party, Cem Özdemir, has been infected with the Coronavirus. He is doing well, he wrote on Twitter.
13:05 EU Commission proposes order for coronavirus tests
In a recommendation to the EU states, the EU Commission has advocated a five-stage procedure for corona tests. It refers to the order in which people potentially affected should be tested. Firstly, hospital patients with serious respiratory tract infections should be tested for the virus. Secondly, patients with acute respiratory tract infections and hospital staff with symptoms should be followed. Then people with acute respiratory infections who have not yet been admitted to a hospital should be tested. Followingly, the EU Commission orders older people with chronic diseases and lastly, the plan provides for tests for all patients with respiratory infections, should the necessary resources be available for this purpose.
12:50 Spain also reports strong increase in coronavirus cases
Within one day, the number of deaths in Spain has risen by more than 200 to a total of 767, according to the Ministry of Health. 17,147 infections had been registered. Yesterday the figure was 13,716.
12:46 Lithuania publishes data of infected people online
On a website of the Lithuanian Radio, the movement data of citizens infected with the coronavirus is being published. The names remain anonymous. The website tells, for example, when one of the persons concerned entered the country, whether they used public transport or where they stayed.
12:43 Toilet paper becomes a target for theft
In times of the coronavirus crisis, some thieves aim at completely new goods: in Nuremberg, at least 600 normal and nine jumbo rolls of toilet paper were stolen from a primary school, as well as canisters with at least 20 litres of liquid soap. This was reported by the police. In North Rhine-Westphalia, around 100 litres of disinfectants were stolen from a warehouse. Later, the bottles were offered for purchase on the internet. The police were able to arrest a 28-year-old who has now confessed to the theft.
12:36 Financial aid demanded for medical practices
The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (Kassenärztliche Bundesvereinigung, KBV) has expressed its support for a health shield for medical practices. In many practices, staff are lacking due to care shortages or corona cases, said KBV Chief Executive Officer Andreas Gassen. In some cases, medical practices even had to close down. However, if ambulant care in the practices would be guaranteed, clinics could "cope much better with the crisis," he continued.
12:29 Runway becomes a parking lot
The airport operator Fraport closes the northwestern runway in Frankfurt on Monday from 8 a.m. in order to park aircrafts. Fraport confirmed this to the ARD airline expert Michael Immel. Lufthansa will leave 700 of its currently 763 aircrafts on the ground in the following weeks. Airplanes will also be parked in Berlin-Schönefeld. In view of the massive flight cancellations, Lufthansa Chief Carsten Spohr said in the morning: "This is what the flight plan from 1955 looked like." Just 30 domestic flights will take off in Frankfurt next week, plus a few long-haul flights that will take off three times a week.
12:23 First death in Northern Ireland
According to the health authorities, a person has died as a result of a coronavirus infection in Northern Ireland for the first time.
12:17 France gets protective masks from China
As a sign of solidarity, China sent breathing masks to France, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a TV interview. The French government had previously admitted a lack of medical protective equipment. Yesterday, the first delivery from Beijing arrived in Paris by plane, said Le Drian. Protective suits and protective gloves were also sent. Another delivery is expected today.
12:17 Poland decreases border controls
Due to the massive backlog at the German-Polish border, the Polish border police have slightly eased the regulations for border controls. One speaker said that since last night truck drivers and professional commuters had no longer been required to fill out a form to indicate personal data and their accessibility. In that way time can be saved. However, despite the measures, the backlog was partly longer than 10 kilometer in both countries. Poland spoke of waiting times of up to 15 hours to cross the border.
12:02 Kramp-Karrenbauer relies on reservists
The Federal Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer announced in a daily command to the army, which was available to the dpa news agency, that a greater mobilisation of their reserve would be requested. The "invaluable abilities" of the reservists would now be needed. The Federal Defence helps already "with regard to health care and, if necessary, also with regard to ensuring infrastructure and provision, as well as the maintenance of security and order," wrote Kramp-Karrenbauer. "This will be done by the Federal Defence Army with great commitment and full support within the framework of the legal possibilities."
11:53 Belgian Post stops non-European deliveries
Due to a lack of transport capacity, the Belgian Post temporarily suspended the delivery of letters and parcels to countries outside Europe. Only express deliveries were still possible, the company informed. Meanwhile, the Belgian Ministry of Health announced more than 300 new Corona cases. In total nearly 1800 people are infected throughout the country. The pandemic killed 21 people in Belgium so far.
11:47 EU chief negotiator Barnier infected with Coronavirus
The EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, who is leading the Brexit negotiations for the EU, has tested positive for the Coronavirus, as he shared on twitter today.
11:39 The Olympic Flame Burns
Despite the uncertainty whether the Olympic Summer Games can take place, the Olympic torch was lit in Athens and handed over to the organizers of the Summer Games which is set to be held in Japan from July 24th to August 9th.
11:32 Sparkasse sees themselves prepared for the crisis
The nearly 380 Sprakassen branches across the country are well-equipped for the Corona crisis. The institutions had achieved an annual result of 1.8 billion euros after taxes last year, said Sparkassen President Helmut Schleweis. However, he also stressed that "we all face the greatest challenge of the last 60 years". Sparkasse and other banks are working with "all available capacities" to ensure that the financial aid guaranteed by the federal government will be received by the companies as soon as possible.
11:27 Debate about lockdown goes on
The Federal Government has not yet established a lockdown, but has not ruled it out either. Among politicians, opinions on such measures are divided.
11:24 Police stops "Coronapartys"
In Baden-Württemberg, the police reportedly stopped several so-called Coronapartys. They were mainly groups of young people who had gathered in playgrounds or barbecue areas.
11:14 Daycare facilities in Hamburg will remain closed until April 19th
After the closure of all schools until 19 April had been announced, Hamburg has now ordered that all daycare facilities also remain closed for this period. Initially, they were ordered to remain closed until 29 March. According to Social Authorities, emergency care will continue to be maintained. Furthermore, for the time the daycare facilities are closed, the parents’ obligatory financial contributions to the care will be lifted.
11:09 Deaths in Italy continue to increase dramatically
In just 24 hours, 475 new deaths have been reported to the Italian authorities due to the Coronavirus. Over 35,700 people are now infected across the country.
11:06 Cosmetics Giant Beiersdorf to Produce Disinfectant
Due to the Corona crisis, the cosmetic manufacturer Beiersdorf intends to start producing disinfectants at the plants in Hamburg, in the Saxon Waldheim and Tres Cantos near Madrid. The goods will then be delivered to institutions and professional groups working against the spread of the virus.