This is a live blog from May 13, 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 is based on the live blog of Tagesschau.

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Short Facts

  • Federal Cabinet decides to loosen border controls
  • Spahn is against tax incentives regarding Corona-App
  • Heil announces measures for the meat industry
  • Corona virus has spread throughout Africa after the case in Lesotho
  • Merkel warns against easing restrictions too quickly
  • EU presents recommendations for easing restrictions
  • Austria reopens border to Germany from the 15th June
  • TUI wants to quit 8000 jobs
  • RKI reports 800 new infections

17:35 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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17:26 Scheuer wants to help the bus industry with 170 million euros

Federal Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer wants to support the bus industry with an aid amounting to around 170 million euros. Scheuer said that he had sent a corresponding concept to Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. The bus industry is particularly affected by the lockdown. It is also about ramping up student transport now.

The situation of the sector, characterized by medium-sized companies is considered as dramatic due to the radical restrictions in the coronavirus crisis; passenger transport and bus tourism have been completely brought to a halt.

17:11 Coronavirus App: Spahn against tax incentives

Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn spoke out against rewards for users of the planned coronavirus location app. He advised against promoting the use of the app with incentives, said Spahn to the newspapers in the German editorial network (RND). "This would only make the app unnecessarily open to attack." He wanted to promote the app with positive arguments "and not with the fear that you could miss out on something."

"You are protecting yourself and others by using the app," added Spahn. "I find that the argument is unbeatable." Spahn did not want to give a start date for the use of the coronavirus app.

Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer also spoke against incentives for the use of the upcoming app. Tax advantages and similar incentives would have nothing to do with voluntary action he said in Berlin.

The app developed by government order by the SAP software developer and Deutsche Telekon had published an initial concept for their app on the Github platform. It has been assumed there that at should be a download from mid-June.

16:53 Swedish Government advises against international travel

The Swedish government is advising its citizens not to travel abroad unless necessary until the summer. The Swedish Foreign Ministry is temporarily extending its corresponding recommendation, which has been in force since mid-March, until 15 July due to the persistent uncertainties in the course of the coronavirus pandemic. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Foreign Minister Ann Linde announced this at a press conference in Stockholm.

However, within Sweden, it is now possible to undertake shorter trips under certain conditions, said Löfven. The destination should be at a maximum of one to two hours’ drive from the place of residence. Löfven stressed that Swedes should be particularly careful and sensible in this regard.

Sweden has taken more casual action against the coronavirus pandemic than other European countries. Pubs, shops, and schools have never been closed. Nevertheless, Sweden is also concerned with containing the spread of coronavirus to prevent deaths and not overburden health care.

16:37 Countries are demanding rescue packages for public transport

Due to the loss of billions of revenue in the coronavirus crisis, the states want to demand a rescue package for local public transport from the federal government, which is intended to compensate for the financial losses. This emerged from a draft decision of the Transport Minister’s Conference, which was made available to the German Press Agency.

Transport Ministers have estimated that the sector will lose at least five billion euros in revenue country-wide in 2020. Transport companies have recorded a “massive drop in passenger numbers of 70 to 90 percent in recent weeks”.

Nevertheless, at the request of the federal government and states, the ÖPNV (local public transport) continues to provide almost 100 percent of its regular supply at the moment. According to the Transport Ministers of the countries, the coverage of the deficit on rail and road is “a collective public task” for which “additional means of funding” is needed.

16:34 Ironman Hamburg will take place in early September

The Ironman Hamburg will take place September 6th according to the Triathlon series. The race, consisting of over 3.86 kilometers of swimming, 180.2 kilometers of cycling, and 42.2 kilometers of running was originally planned for June 21st. Same as practically all other triathlon competitions, the Ironman had to be canceled in Hamburg because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, a huge triathlon event is to be held on the first September weekend. The World Triathlon Series Races are to take place in Hamburg on September 5th.

16:31 Winter sports resort Ischgl once again free from coronavirus

The winter sports resort Ischgl in Austria, which has been criticized as a coronavirus hotspot in recent weeks, is once again coronavirus-free. As information gathered by the state of Tyrol shows, there is currently no active case of CoViD-19 lung disease in the small municipality. There are hardly any ill people in the other municipalities in the Paznauntal region.

The Tiroler regional Parliament set up a commission to investigate the state government’s mismanagement of the coronavirus. Ischgl will also be focussed on. The virus is likely to have spread widely from here through the many international guests. The state of Tiro and the tourist industry have been accused of not reacting quickly enough to the spread and having stopped skiing businesses too late.

16:26 Heil wants to “clean up“ meat industry

Labour Minister Hubertus Heil has foreseen legal consequences after the growth in coronavirus infections in several slaughterhouses. “We will clean up these conditions,” said Heil in the last hour in the German Parliament. “The Coronavirus Cabinet will decide on measures that go beyond the previous regulations next Monday,” he said and denounced the often precarious working and housing conditions of foreign temporary workers in the meat industry. “We as a society should not continue to look on when people from Central and Eastern Europe are exploited in this society.” The Minister stressed that the current sub-contractor culture in the industry is the “root of the evil”. Therefore, he was in favor of fundamentally reconsidering the currently widespread form of works contracts. In addition, Heil will advocate for country-wide binding inspection rates.

15:54 British researchers prepare gene study

In the UK, scientists want to study the genes of thousands of Covid-19 patients to solve one of the puzzles surrounding the novel coronavirus: Why do some people not even suffer from a mild headache, whereas others die from the disease? Researchers want to sequence the genetic code of people who have fallen severely ill with Covid-19, and compare it with the genome of those in whom the disease was only mild or even asymptomatic. The genes of around 20,000 people are to be studied, who are currently or have already been admitted to the IC of a hospital, as well as of 15,000 people with mild symptoms.

"We think that there will be clues in the genome that will help us understand how the disease is killing people," said IC doctor Kenneth Baillie, who leads the study at the University of Edinburgh, to Reuters. "I would bet my house on there being a very strong genetic component to individual risk."

British Health Minister Matt Hancock called on the population to participate in the program, with the aim being to paint a scientific picture of the virus. The first results of a study with around 2,000 participants, which is already running, are to be expected in a few weeks, Mr. Baillie said.

15:40 KfW development bank grants coronavirus loans of €19.3 billion

To support German companies, the state development bank KfW has granted assistance loans of EUR 19.3 billion. This is made clear by a joint document of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Federal Ministry of Finance, which the Reuters news agency has seen. This amounts to almost 60 percent of the total requested loan volume, but 99 percent of applications.

At the KfW, a total of 38,048 loan applications totalling EUR 34.04 billion. The difference to the volume of granted loans is therefore that only the smaller loans up to EUR 3 million are immediately approved.

15:37 Voßkuhle: Basic rights not in danger

The President of the Federal Constitutional Court, Andreas Voßkuhle, does not see the fundamental rights in the Corona crisis permanently in jeopardy. Although the courts has received many requests concerning the coronavirus measures, “there does not exist the threat of an unjust nation forming," said Mr. Voßkuhle to the weekly newspaper “Die Zeit”. The courts continue to function, with employees working from home.

In the fight against the pandemic, those responsible are certainly making mistakes, and misjudgments have been made, said Mr. Voßkuhle. However, he does not know what the alternative could be. Perhaps the coronavirus crisis also offers an opportunity for people to gain a new sense of confidence. “The state has shown that it can do a lot in a short time, and people trust the state. So far, at the far least.”

15:29 First coronavirus quarantine station for the homeless

Germany's first quarantine station for homeless people with a coronavirus infection is scheduled to start early next week in Berlin. It can care for up to 16 Covid-19 patients who have tested positive but would otherwise be living on the street, said the Stadtmission charity in Berlin, on whose premises the quarantine station is located.

Those affected without serious symptoms can recover in a quiet and homily environment in the building. This helps prevent other infections and relieves the burden placed on hospitals. The monthly costs of around 205,000 euro for the station and a homeless accommodation for 110 people, which also operates on the premises around the clock, are borne by the State.

15:26 First coronavirus case in Lesotho – virus now all over Africa

Lesotho, in the South of Africa, is now the last state on the continent to confirm a coronavirus infection. All 54 African states have been hit by the pandemic. According to the Ministry of Health in Maseru, a person has been tested positively for Sars-CoV-2. He had recently entered the country and been isolated.

The kingdom with two million inhabitants is surrounded by South Africa. South Africa, in turn, has so far confirmed the majority of coronavirus infections in Africa, with 11,350 cases. Altogether, there are almost 70,000 cases, and more than 2,400 Africans died with the virus.

14:59 Ramelow: Violation of his own coronavirus order

Thuringian State Premier Bodo Ramelow attended the funeral of a neighbor, thereby breaching his own coronavirus regulation.  "I really should not have been present at the funeral," Ramelow told the "Christ und Welt" supplement of the newspaper "Zeit".

But he had the feeling that he had to be there, albeit at a great distance. "Everything else would have seemed inhuman to me," said Ramelow. "I therefore violated the regulation that I myself am responsible for implementing". Today, he is asking himself whether the regulation "was the right thing in all respects or whether there might have been other solutions."

14:49 Travel companies protest in front of the Chancellery

With a motorcade of around 50 buses in the government district, owners of travel agencies and medium-sized travel companies demonstrated to demand more state aid. They also drove the buses past the Reichstag and the Federal Chancellery.

Protests also took place in other cities, including in Hanover, Dresden, and Schwerin. The alliance of independent travel companies had called for this. Together with other associations, they demanded a special federal fund to settle the refunds for canceled trips. This would help secure jobs in travel agencies and tourism companies. Because travel is severely restricted in light of the fight against the coronavirus crisis, many customers have canceled their holidays.

The major associations of the tourism industry called for a crisis meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel. "Over a million jobs are at risk without fault. Reserves have been used up," read a message on behalf of seven hotel, gastronomy, and tourism associations

14:40 Hospice association: Provide better support for the dying

The German Hospice and Palliative Care Association (DHPV) is calling for better support for dying people in the coronavirus crisis. Contact and visits are still restricted. Thus, it is questionable whether dying people in hospitals and care facilities, but also in their own homes, can receive the kind of care they would wish for, the association has reported. It is time to demand "as much protection as necessary along with as much support as possible," said chairman Winfried Hardinghaus, a palliative physician from Osnabrück.

The appeal is not only directed at politicians, but also to the bodies responsible for care homes on site. They should present the demanded hygiene concepts as soon as possible, so that contact restrictions can be relaxed. The current situation runs contrary to the basic convictions of the hospice movement, said Hardinghaus. Nobody should have to die alone, "but should be accompanied by fellow human beings and be allowed to have their physical, social, psychological, and spiritual needs met at the end of their lives."

13:54 Mass tests in slaughterhouses

According to Minister for Social Affairs Carola Reimann, all of the approximately 23,700 workers in the meat processing industry in Lower Saxony are to be tested for coronavirus in a timely manner. The state is hereby responding to the extensive spread of the pathogen among slaughterhouse workers. Workers, mostly from eastern Europe, often live in mass accommodation where it isn't possible to comply with hygiene measures or minimum distances.

13:37 Merkel: "No increases of taxes and duties planned"

According to the words of Chancellor Angela Merkel, the federal government is not currently planning any tax increases to finance the coronavirus crisis. "As of today, no increases of taxes and duties are planned," Merkel said in the Bundestag. It is part of politics "that we always respond at this time, otherwise we would be clairvoyant, and I'm not so presumptuous to claim to have such abilities," she added.

Regarding the state of the economy and the situation for employees, Merkel referred to state aid, such as short-term work, liquidity support, and the reduction of VAT for the gastronomy sector. She was pleased that the pandemic had caught Germany in an economically sound situation. "We have the opportunity to master it. But I'm not saying that nobody will feel the effects."

13:29 Stricter hygiene regulations for the meat industry?

In light of coronavirus outbreaks among slaughterhouse workforces, Chancellor Merkel announced consequences. The federal government intends to adopt necessary changes to this effect. Merkel spoke of "alarming news" from the meat industry. Especially the accommodation presents considerable shortcomings.

13:21 Merkel: "We cannot jeopardize what we have achieved"

In the Bundestag, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that the country should not jeopardize the successes achieved so far in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. "We haven't taken all kinds of unthinkable restrictions since March just to risk a relapse now because we are becoming less cautious," Merkel said.

13:10 Many doctors working less due to the crisis

Most employed doctors have been working less since the start of the coronavirus crisis. As a survey by the doctors' union Marburger Bund revealed on Wednesday, the workload for 57 percent of physicians in clinics has decreased over the course of the crisis. It has remained the same for about a quarter and has risen for about 18 percent.

The union explained that this was due to the fact that since mid-March, there have been considerably fewer planned operations and even fewer emergencies. At the same time, the number of patients suffering from CoViD-19 remained lower in hospitals than initially feared.

12:55 Maas wants to slowly lift travel warning

Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas wants to gradually lift the worldwide travel warning for tourists due to the coronavirus pandemic, starting with European countries. However, he did not mention a timescale for this on Wednesday. "For Europe, it will surely be possible to lift the travel warning earlier than for other destinations - provided that the current positive trend continues in many countries," said Maas.

A worldwide travel warning is officially in place until June 14. It has been in force since March 17. After the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Foreign Office had organised an unprecedented initiative to bring citizens back, during which 240,000 German holidaymakers stranded abroad were flown home .

12:13 Limited teaching into the next school year?

The German Teachers' Association assumes that lessons will continue to be made up of visits to school and learning at home even after the summer holidays. These regulations will apply, "as long as the distance regulations apply - and they will have to apply until a vaccine is available," said the association's president Heinz-Peter Meidinger in an interview with n-tv. "This could last well into the next school year." He expects that about a quarter of the approximately eleven million students nationwide will have serious problems in school due to these restrictions, Meidinger continued. He said that this applies especially to students at special schools or those with poor German language skills.

12:01 President of the Federal Constitutional Court: "Basic rights not in danger"

The President of the Federal Constitutional Court, Andreas Voßkuhle, does not see the restrictions imposed in the wake of the coronavirus crisis as a threat to constitutional law. "We are not threatened by an unjust state", he told The Times. The pandemic may last longer than some people think, but when the crisis is over, people will "get their freedoms back, without any concessions".

11:46 Seehofer: Border controls to be relaxed from Saturday

Controls imposed at the German borders due to the coronavirus pandemic are to be eased as of the weekend. This was announced by Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer, confirming reports by the German Press Agency. Controls at the Luxembourg border will end on May 15th, i.e. on Friday. Voting is still in progress with Denmark, but in his opinion the opening of the border is possible in principle, according to the CSU politician. The federal government has reached an agreement with France, Switzerland, and Austria to continue the controls until June 15. However, starting this weekend, all border crossings will be opened and only random checks will be carried out. From June 15th on, controls at all German borders will end, provided that the level of infection in Germany and neighboring countries allows this, Seehofer continued. From then on, entry from third countries will also be possible again.

11:32 Tourism industry demands crisis summit

The tourism industry, which has been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus crisis, is calling for a crisis summit chaired by Chancellor Angela Merkel. "If help does not come quickly, the tourism industry will be ruined," the associations BTW, Dehoga, DRV, DTV, IHA, RDA, and VIR announced in a joint statement. "A considerable part of the German economic middle class is in danger of completely collapsing within a few weeks", says BTW president Michael Frenzel. "More than one million jobs are in danger through no fault of their own."

11:28 Poland maintains entry restrictions

According to the Polish Interior Ministry the country's strict entry restrictions are to remain in place until at least June 12th. The entry ban for the majority of entries has been in effect since mid-March. Exceptions only apply to Polish citizens, diplomats, foreigners with residence permits, and foreign truck drivers. Within the country itself, some coronavirus requirements have recently been relaxed: shopping centers, hotels, playgrounds, and kindergartens have been allowed to reopen. In the course of the day, the government is expected to announce the lifting of further measures affecting schools, restaurants, and hairdressers.

11:18 Federal Cabinet agrees to relax border controls

The controls at the German border will be carefully relaxed as of this Saturday. This was reported by the German Press Agency referring to the current meeting of the federal cabinet. As of June 15th, controls at all borders will be completely suspended.

11:11 KfW Survey: Municipalities expect the financial situation to worsen

Many German cities and municipalities are preparing for financial losses due to the coronavirus crisis. This was the result of a survey of 200 municipalities nationwide conducted by the state development bank KfW. 90 percent of the municipalities stated that they were "pessimistic" about their financial situation in the current year. 80 percent assume that the situation is unlikely to improve in the coming year. Half of the municipalities expect not only decreasing revenues, but also increasing expenditures, for example for higher social and personnel expenses.

10:59 EU presents recommendations for easing restrictions

The EU Commission has presented a catalog of its own recommendations for easing coronavirus measures. In its opinion, the committee believes that the current travel restrictions in the euro zone should be extended until June 15. Should travel be gradually resumed after that date, the Commission advocates that visits by relatives and partners living in other EU countries be made possible again. Masks should continue to be mandatory in aircraft and at airports. However, airlines should not be required to leave middle seats free in their planes. The EU Commission also addressed the issue of coronavirus apps: The use of such services must be voluntary. In addition, the committee advocated that such apps be used across borders.

10:41 A stress test for US politics

In the USA, weaknesses in the political system are becoming increasingly evident in dealing with the corona pandemic, reported Torsten Teichmann.

10:30 Iceland: A choice between test or quarantine on entry

The Icelandic Government has announced that the restrictions on international travel will be eased by June 15 at the latest. Anyone who enters the country after that date should have the choice of undergoing a coronavirus test or being quarantined for 14 days. Health certificates could also make isolation unnecessary. A task force is currently working on a more detailed proposal. Results are expected by the end of the month. The government's concept also provides for the obligation for tourists to use a so-called tracing app in order to trace chains of infection of the coronavirus.

10:16 British Minister of Transport warns against too many commuters

Grant Shapps, Minister of Transport in Great Britain, has called on the British people to avoid using public transport if possible. Prior to the coronavirus crisis, an average of 10 percent of commuters used public transport. Shapps warned that if this level were to be reached again, it would be impossible to maintain the recommended safety distance of two meters.

10:07 Fewer passengers in public transportation

Significantly fewer people used buses and trains in the first quarter of this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This is according to a survey by the Federal Statistical Office, based on data from several major transport companies. For the public transport sector as a whole, the authority reported an 11 percent drop in passengers compared to the first quarter of 2019. The local transport services of Deutsche Bahn and S-Bahn were particularly affected by the decline. According to statistics, they recorded a 15 percent drop in passenger numbers in the same period. Trams such as underground or suspension trains recorded nine percent fewer passengers. Bus transport experienced a comparable average.

09:54 Number of cases in Russia continues to increase dramatically

The Russian health authorities have once again reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. This brings the total number of known cases to more than 242,700. A further 96 fatalities were also reported within 24 hours. More than 2200 people in Russia have died from the virus so far.

09:35 China imposes lockdown in million metropolis again

Following the registration of more than 20 new infections with the coronavirus in the Chinese suburb of Jilin over the weekend, authorities have decided to seal off the city in the north-east of the country. Around four million people live in Jilin. According to the city administration, there is a high risk of infection. Residents may only leave the city if they have been tested negative for the coronavirus. Train and bus services have been suspended. Cinemas and fitness studios have had to close again.

09:15 More support for training companies requested

Chambers of Commerce and trade unions are calling for measures to protect trainees from unemployment and to secure sufficient apprenticeship positions for the approximately 500,000 students leaving school. Achim Dercks, deputy managing director of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), suggested to the newspapers of the Funke Media Group that a premium be paid for taking on trainees from bankrupt companies. In addition, the short-time work allowance needs to be paid quicker, he said. Until now, companies have only been able to apply for short-time work benefits for their trainees after six weeks.

09:04 Concept for the coronavirus tracking app on open source platform released

The software company SAP and Deutsche Telekom have been commissioned by the German government to develop an app to help track the spread of the coronavirus. Both companies have now published the basic concepts for the app on the internet platform Github. Both companies emphasized that doing so should also provide the greatest possible transparency. The use of data in the app, which is to be available from mid-June, has been the subject of controversy for weeks. SAP and Deutsche Telekom have assured that they will only "process necessary data, solely for the purpose of informing users whether they have been in close contact with other, already infected users - without revealing their identity.

08:00 Here's what happened last night

  • CoViD-19 numbers for Germany: Robert Koch Institute reports 798 new cases of CoViD-19 (171,306 total) and 101 new deaths (7,634 total) due to the virus
  • Sylt does not want any day tourists
  • Angela Merkel discusses border openings
  • Jens Spahn: Supply of masks ensured
  • Brazil reports more than 800 Corona deaths in one day for the first time
  • Fourth largest number of deaths worldwide in France now