This is the live blog for March 30, 2020.

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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 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.  

We are live-translating between 09:00 am CEST and 17:30 pm CEST

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Short Facts

  • Saarland and Bavaria extend restrictions
  • Low Saxony imposes reception stop for nursing homes
  • RKI reports 57,298 infections in Germany
  • Spain reports more than 800 new deaths
  • Easyjet grounds all flights
  • More than 1000 dead in New York

17:32 That's it for today. Join us tomorrow for more live updates!

From now on, please head over to Tagesschau to follow the updates (German only).

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17:27 Federal Army has 187 confirmed infections

According to a report, the number of corona infections in the Federal Army has increased significantly. The health service currently hypothesizes 187 confirmed infections and 767 reasonable suspicions, according to the newspapers of the Funke Media Group.

This amounts to an increase of 36 infections and 41 suspicious cases over last Friday. The first confirmed case of an infected soldier was at the end of February.

17:14 The Paris Motor Show will not be held as scheduled

The international Motor Show in Paris will not take place in October as planned, due to the spread of the coronavirus. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Paris Motor Show "Mondial de l'Automobile" had to be canceled "in its current form," according to the organizers. "We are assessing all alternative solutions in close cooperation with our main partners," a press release specified.

17:12 Hospital ship arrives in New York

The "USNS Comfort" has arrived in New York. The 272-meter-long hospital ship of the US Navy has arrived at the port of the metropolis. The floating hospital with 1,000 beds and twelve operating rooms will relieve the strain on New York clinics.

Although no coronavirus patients are treated on the "USNS Comfort", other patients can be transferred to the ship, to free up capacity at the hospitals to take on coronavirus patients.

16:56 Residential areas in 18 Turkish provinces closed off

Turkey has quarantined several areas in 18 provinces in response to the coronavirus crisis. From Monday afternoon, 39 areas, including a small city and 28 villages, have been closed off, specified the Turkish Ministry of the Interior, without mentioning the names of the provinces in question.

16:47 Saxony-Anhalt postpones final school exams by one week

Saxony-Anhalt will postpone the final school exams for the upper level (Abiturprüfungen) by at least one week due to the corona crisis. The first written exams are now scheduled to start on May 4th, as the State Ministry of Education has announced. This is a week later than originally planned (April 27th).

The approximately 5,700 students concerned are additionally given the option of taking the examination in June instead of May. A second round will be organized for all school subjects. The last day of school will also be postponed by a week, to April 30th. Prior to that, Saxony-Anhalt had already decided to postpone the exams for the intermediate school leaving certificates (Realschulabschluss).

16:41 Norway opens borders for seasonal workers

Urgently searching for laborers, Norway has decided to ease its stricter border entry regulations. Seasonal workers from the European Economic Area (EEA) are no longer to be turned away at the border when looking to work in agriculture, forestry, horticulture, or the food industry, as has been announced by the Norwegian Ministry of Justice. However, they would initially have to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival.

16:22 Three-hundred Germans from quarantined areas in Austria escorted to the border

In an unusual repatriation campaign, the German embassy in Vienna has arranged for more than 300 Germans to travel home from quarantine areas in Austria. The German citizens, mostly active in the tourism industry in the Arlberg and Paznauntal regions, had been stuck in the municipalities under quarantine since March 13th.

With the measures now extended until April 13th, the embassy requested the Austrian government to allow for earlier departure. After a medical check, they were taken to the border crossing Scharnitz/Mittenwald, half of them in private cars and others in chartered buses. The Austrian police accompanied the convoy. In Germany, they will have to report to their competent health offices and self-quarantine for 14 days.

16:14 Most of Ryanair fleet grounded till Easter

Europe’s largest low-cost airline, Ryanair, continues to keep its fleet grounded for the most part. The extremely limited schedule with some connections to and from Ireland and the United Kingdom will be extended by one week, up to and including Maundy Thursday (April 9th), stated the company.

The reasons are flight bans and further restrictions in European countries as a result of the corona pandemic. Over 90 percent of the Ryanair fleet will remain grounded.

16:00 EU support for the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe

The EU Commission announced that North Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Serbia will receive up to 38 million euro to offer quick support to the health systems of the countries. The countries should additionally have access to a share of the recently created stock of protective equipment. To alleviate the economic consequences of the crisis, 374 million euro will be freed up from the pre-accession budget to EU candidate countries.

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine will receive up to 140 million euro for their health systems, civil society organizations, and a loan program for small and medium-sized enterprises and the self-employed, according to the EU Commission. To limit the social-economic impact, up to 700 million euro of pre-existing funds will be made available.

15:51 Curfews in Saarland to continue until April 20th and possibly longer

The state government of Saarland has extended the initial curfews related to the corona virus outbreak up to and including April 20th, informed Prime Minister Tobias Hans.

Saarland has reacted at a very early stage, said Mr. Hans. "We can see the first successes, but the situation remains very serious with the number of infections still increasing." If we ease the measures too soon, there is a risk of recurrence. The regulations in Saarland entered into force on March 21st and were initially limited to 14 days.

3:41 p.m. Saxony also wants to extend curfew

After Bavaria, Saxony will presumably also extend the initial curfews imposed to fight the corona pandemic. The State Cabinet is looking to translate the current general regulation into a legal directive, said State Minister of the Interior Roland Wöller. This would provide a more certain legal basis. Wöller mentioned that the directive will probably be in place until April 20th. The restrictions adopted on March 22nd were initially intended to be in force until April 5th.

15:37 Fears Orban abuses power

Critics in Hungary and abroad are accusing Prime Minister Viktor Orban of using the pandemic as a pretext to further consolidate the power of his national-conservative government. The law gives the government the power to extend the state of emergency invoked on March 11th due to the pandemic without the consent of Parliament. Government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs says that the law is limited only by the Parliament's right of opposition and the pandemic itself.

It contains the right to "suspend the application of certain laws by decree," to not comply with specific requirements, and to "introduce other exceptional measures to guarantee the stability of life, health, the personal and material security of citizens, as well as of the economy". Numerous independent organizations point out that there have been many attacks on the rule of law since 2010, in the areas of justice, civil society, and freedom of speech. Another clause that causes a stir revolves around the option of imposing a "forced parliamentary break".

15:22 Controversial emergency law passed in Hungary

To fight the corona crisis, the Hungarian parliament has passed a controversial emergency law, which gives the head of government Viktor Orban far-reaching powers. The law was adopted by a clear majority of the members of Orban’s Fidesz party, who hold a two-thirds majority in parliament. Mr. Orban can now govern by decree, indefinitely, for the duration of the state of emergency.

15:13 World Athletics Championships postponed by a year

After the Olympics have been rescheduled, the World Athletics Championships originally planned for August 2021 in the US city of Eugene will be postponed to 2022.

15:08 Empire State Building lights up red

Beating in red, like a vibrant heart, the Empire State Building lifts the spirits of New Yorkers during the corona crisis. The Twitter account of the skyscraper said that "The heart of New York is beating strong".

The metropolis is hit heavily by the corona crisis, with hundreds of deaths recorded each day.

15:00 The Netherlands reports nearly 900 new infections

In the Netherlands, the number of registered infections has risen by 884 to 11,750 in 24 hours. By now, 93 people have died of covid-19. According to the authorities, the death tool now amounts to 864.

14:52 Lower Saxony imposes intake stop for nursing homes

After several coronavirus deaths in a Wolfsburg nursing home, the State of Lower Saxony has imposed an intake stop for all relevant facilities. This has been announced by State Social Minister Carola Reimann (SPD). Exceptions are only in place for nursing homes that can guarantee new residents are placed in quarantine for 14 days.

14:41 Federal Governments: Twenty million protective masks have been delivered

To combat the coronavirus, the Federal Government has by now procured twenty million face masks, which are urgently needed. They have been delivered to states and Associations of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians for distribution to hospitals, practices, and nursing homes, according to a spokesman for the Ministry of Health. The procurement of protective equipment will continue. Companies in other industries, including in the textile industry, have now also changed over their production lines to produce masks.

14:38 EU Commission calls for open borders for seasonal workers

The EU Commission has called on its member states not to restrict the free movement of seasonal workers during the corona crisis. The introduction of border controls to curb the pandemic is “understandable”, according to the Commission stated, but “workers who are relevant to the system must nevertheless be able to arrive at their destination without delays.” Harvesters should be classified as “systematically relevant” in the crisis.

The EU Commission published guidelines to safeguard the movement of goods, health systems, and food supply in the European internal market. According to the Commission, member states should exchange ideas and develop procedures on the need for seasonal workers, particularly in agriculture, to respond to any labour shortages. The Commission furthermore urged its members to also allow workers who are not generally classified as systemically relevant to generally cross the borders within the EU.

14:34 Two further covid-19 deaths in Wolfsburg nursing home

In a care and nursing home for dementia patients in Wolfsburg, two further people have died after being infected with the corona virus. This puts the number of victims in the home at 17, reports the city of Wolfsburg. Most of them did not experienced any covid-19 symptoms prior to passing away. To prevent further infections, the home residents tested positive and negative have been strictly separated physically from each other.

14:32 EU Commission working on a new budget

The EU Commission seeks to respond to the fall-out of the corona crisis with a new budget for the next seven years.  Head Spokesperson of the Commission, Eric Mamer, did not reveal when the new proposal is to be submitted and the possible scope of this revised version of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). However, he stressed that the Commission's objectives – more money for digitalization and fighting climate change – do not stand in conflict with structural aid for the economy after the corona crisis.

14:30 New date set for Olympics

The Tokyo Olympic Games scheduled for 2021 will open on July 23rd and end on August 8th. The International Olympic Committee announced this new date, which is almost exactly one year after the planned opening ceremony.

14:29 Netanyahu in Quarantine

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in quarantine after one of his employees has been tested positive for coronavirus. The 70-year-old will remain in isolation until his own test results are in, reports Netanyahu’s office. It would be a precautionary measure.

14:28 South Korea to distribute vouchers

In South Korea, most families will receive cash assistance to help weather the crisis. The sum converts to 740 euro. This was announced by President Moon Jae In. The upped third of households with the highest income are excluded. Moreover, there will be additional aid for small and medium-sized enterprises, easing their burden in paying insurance and electricity costs.

13:55 Deportations to Afghanistan suspended

Germany has suspended deportations to Afghanistan until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Federal Ministry of the Interior confirmed this to the news channel NDR. The government in Kabul has asked Germany to suspend deportations for the time being in light of the worsening coronavirus crisis.

13:52 Prince Charles is out of quarantine

After a consultation with a doctor, British heir to the throne Prince Charles is no longer self-isolating. According to a speaker, he is in good health. The 71-year-old had tested positive for coronavirus. He showed mild symptoms of the lung disease Covid-19 and went to self-isolation on the royal estate of Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

13:43 Trump advisor warns against quickly lifting curfews

Anthony Fauci, advisor to US President Donald Trump in the fight against coronavirus, has warned against prematurely easing curfews. If the measures were lifted too soon, this would lead to a relapse, he said to the news channel CNN. Experts in Trump’s government assume that coronavirus will have a severe impact on the USA. Fauci expects millions of coronavirus cases. Based on the current situation, there is a possibility that 100,000 to 200,000 people will die as a result of the pandemic, said Fauci.

13:36 Federal government: Regulations won't be relaxed anytime soon

As long as the spread of coronavirus does not slow down significantly, the Federal Government does not intend to present a timetable for a gradual return to normality. According to government spokesman Steffen Seibert, a week after the introduction of stringent contact restrictions, it is clear that all measures are needed and cannot be relaxed. Chancellor Angela Merkel would be eager announce an easing of these strict measures, he added. However, she is convinced that it would be wrong to raise hopes that could not be fulfilled. Nevertheless, it is clear that "there will be a time after," said Seibert. Merkel and the Prime Ministers have scheduled a telephone conference for this Wednesday. One of the topics discussed will be a general appraisal of the situation.

13:18 UN fears a massive loss of jobs in Africa

The UN fears devastating economic and social consequences from the coronavirus pandemic. Half of all jobs in Africa alone could be lost as a result of the coronavirus crisis,” warned Achim Steiner, head of the UNDP development program. The loss of revenue in all poor countries could reach over US$ 220 billion. Steiner called on the global community to help developing countries. Otherwise, all the progress made in the fight against poverty over the past two decades could be undone.

13:08 The federal government expects losses of €28 billion euros in the cultural sector

The Federal Government expects sales losses amounting to up to €28 billion in the cultural and creative industry as a result of the Corona crisis. Due to the ongoing closures, this serious scenario is growing more likely, according to a calculation by the federal government's competence center for the cultural and creative industries. In a best-case scenario, these losses would likely amount to €9.5 billion, whereas an moderate outcome would result in losses of €14.7 billion.

13:05 Chair of the World Medical Association Council considers it possible for schools to open in May

Frank Ulrich Montgomery, Chair of the World Medical Association Council, believes that it won't be possible to reverse the nationwide closure of schools and universities until May at the earliest. "If the figures continue to develop at their current rate, we should be able to expect schools to re-open in regions that are not extremely affected," Montomgery told the newspaper "Bild". However, it must be possible to close schools again on a regional basis if the situation changes.

12:52 Bavaria extends restrictions until April 19

Bavaria has extended its initial restrictions until April 19. The existing restrictions will not be tightened, only the aforementioned extension, said Minister President Markus Söder. The measures imposed by the politicians showed first effects, said the CSU politician. "The curve of infections is flattening out a bit." Nevertheless, he said that the debate initiated by some politicians about an exit from the protective measures was premature and came at an inopportune moment. "There is no reason to raise false hopes," Söder said.

12:45 Loriot sketch goes viral in Israel

A Loriot sketch translated into Hebrew is making the rounds in Israel's social media. Reason: It reflects perfectly the difficulties of the coronavirus quarantine. The sketch "End of the work day" is about a man who only wants to sit quietly in his armchair at home and obviously longs for silence. His wife however, keeps talking to him, and in the end the man explodes. Dror Keren, a popular actor in Israel, shared the Hebrew sketch on Facebook and wrote: "When would we have time for this on normal days? Keren recorded the voice-overs over the phone with actress Miki Kam.

12:29 Spain reports more than 800 new deaths

Spain's Ministry of Health announced that there have been 812 new deaths within 24 hours. This was the third consecutive day of more than 800 deaths. The number of recorded deaths is more than 85,000 - 6000 more than the previous day. Spain now has more infections than China, where the virus was first detected in humans. Only the USA and Italy are reporting more infections.

12:23 175,000 Germans brought back from abroad

Of the approximately 200,000 Germans stranded abroad because of the coronavirus crisis, 175,000 are now back home. "We continue to ask those who are still abroad for patience," Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote on Twitter. Two weeks ago, he launched a repatriation campaign, working with tour operators and Lufthansa, to bring back German travellers from countries where there is no longer regular flight service. New Zealand, where more than 10,000 Germans are still stranded, is currently causing the most problems. After the initial return flight on Saturday, the New Zealand government banned further planned flights up to and including Tuesday.

12:19 Austria issues order for wearing face masks when shopping

Austria intensifies measures to control the coronavirus. As of Wednesday, all supermarket chains will distribute protective face masks at the entrance, which must then be worn, said Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. These mouth and nose protective masks must be worn in the short-term in situations where people must pass each other in close proximity.

11:37 Spain: Tighter curfew not to take effect until Tuesday

The tightening of Spain's curfew will not take full effect until Tuesday.  The decree published on Monday stated that individuals and companies affected should complete "the last absolutely necessary work" to be able to stop their activities. According to the decree, all workers in non-essential sectors must remain at home until April 9th. The construction sector and large sectors of industry are particularly affected. Workers affected are to continue to receive their wages and will make up for the hours not worked at a later date. The "hibernation" period, as Finance Minister María Jesús Montero called it, was originally set to begin on Monday.

11:15 Economic experts expect severe recession

Economic experts consider a severe recession in Germany to be unavoidable due to the consequences of the coronavirus crisis. The German economy will shrink significantly in 2020, according to a special report by the German Council of Economic Experts on the development of the economy as a whole. In the worst case, gross domestic product (GDP) will collapse by 5.4 percent for the year as a whole. Should there be a shorter duration of the restrictions and a rapid recovery of the economy, GDP could fall by only 2.8 percent.

10:34  Work-free week in Russia

Russia wants to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic with a work-free week. However, wages will continue to be paid. This is one of several measures that are now coming into force. Supermarkets, pharmacies, and hospitals will remain open. President Waldimir Putin is urging the population to show "discipline and responsibility" and stay at home. Moscow’s mayor Sergey Sobjanin has also imposed a general curfew.

10:03 Oil price at lowest level since 2002

Oil prices fell sharply at the beginning of the week due to the economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis. The price of a barrel (159 liters) of North Sea Brent plummeted to its lowest level since November 2002, when oil prices were under pressure as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The price of Brent fell on Monday morning by up to just under eight percent to $23.03 and was finally able to recover to $23.50. This means that the price of Brent oil has fallen by just under 60 percent since February 24, when the rapid spread of the coronavirus hit the financial markets. In addition to the coronavirus crisis, a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia is also impacting on oil prices.

09:40 Britain hopes to slow the epidemic

According to a leading epidemiologist in the UK, there is hope for a slowdown in the coronavirus epidemic. "We assume that the epidemic is slowing down in the UK at the moment," said Neil Ferguson from Imperial College London, who advises the government, on BBC radio. There are first signs of this. In addition, newly developed antibody tests could be ready for use within a few days.

09:03 German physicians’ union: “We still have intensive care capacity”

According to the German physicians’ union, Marburger Bund, Germany is still far away from conditions in countries like Italy or Spain. “We still have intensive care capacity as well as ample capacity in our normal wards at present,” the union’s President Susanne Johna told the SWR. However, if the figures continued to increase unabated, then capacities in Germany would become exhausted at some point. The lack of protective equipment was noted as a particular issue. The only solution is to produce protective clothing in Germany.

08:57 Short-time work expected at every fourth company

According to a forecast from the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, short-time work in the German industry will soon increase dramatically. 25.6 percent of all companies are expecting short-time work in the next three months, the economic researchers reported on the basis of a company survey. This is the highest level since 2010. Three months ago, this figure was still at 15.3 percent. The key industries automotive (41 percent), mechanical engineering (33 percent), and electrical (32 percent) are disproportionately affected.

08:50 Easyjet grounds all flights

The British low-cost airline Easyjet has stopped operating due to travel restrictions to combat coronavirus. It is currently unclear when operations will be resumed, Easyjet informed. To minimize impacts on the balance sheet, costs would be reduced. The union had made leave arrangements for cabin personnel, which will come into force for two months from 1 April. During this time, the crew will receive 80 percent of their average salary.

08:00 Here's what happened last night

  • Numbers for Germany: RKI reports 57,298 infections and 455 deaths
  • New York state reports over 1,000 deaths, New York City almost 800
  • EU Commission appeals to all citizens of the European Union to stay at home and adhere to the measures
  • Japan to deny entry to citizens of the USA, China, South Korea, and most European countries