This is a live blog from May 14, 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.
- Parliament approves social policy package II
- Inflation rate at 0.9 percent
- Tax estimates for the current and next year are likely to be gloomy
- In Russia, the number of infected people exceeds 250,000
17:30 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).
17:18 Praise for German coronavirus policy
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, praised Germany for the measures taken in the coronavirus crisis. The Federal Republic of Germany took courageous, rapid, and effective measures at the beginning of the crisis, said the UN High Commissioner in Geneva. She also highlighted South Korea and New Zealand as positive examples. It has been shown that some of the richest and most powerful countries were completely unprepared for such a pandemic, although health professionals had always warned about such a scenario, said the trained physician and former President of Chile. The poorest and socially weakest everywhere are particularly affected.
17:01 Altmaier wants to revive the economy
Fewer tax revenues – the state should react to this with boosts to the economy. This is what Federal Minister of Economy Peter Altmaier suggests. “We need to create framework conditions that give workers and companies a tailwind when restarting,” Altmaier said. This included “targeted incentives for investment through simplified depreciation rules and tax reductions as well as incentives for private consumption”. In addition, less bureaucracy and faster approval procedures are needed. This would activate economic “self-healing forces” and through better digitalization enable the economy to be better prepared for future crises.
16:44 Trump and Xi - it's complicated
The tensions between the US and China due to the coronavirus crisis are intensifying. US President Donald Trump told the US broadcaster Fox Business that he didn’t want to talk “at the moment” to Chinese President Xi Jinping. He’s “very disappointed” about Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. He has a “very good relationship” with Xi, but he doesn’t want to talk to him at the moment. Trump again accused the Chinese of not stopping the spread of the coronavirus pandemic right at the source and thus causing enormous damage. “It was either stupidity, incompetence or it was intentional.”
16:26 Lufthansa wants to fly more again
Lufthansa wants to offer significantly more flights again from June onwards. However, the airline is still a far cry from the standard flight schedule. More than 100 destinations in Europe and more than 20 intercontinental airports are expected to be in the flight destinations again. For example, Sylt, Crete, and Mallorca are in the program again, including for the low-cost airline subsidiary airline Eurowings. However, the Spanish Balearic Islands could remain closed for tourism throughout June. The airline wants to include the first destinations restarted in the booking system at once.
16:18 Daycare, mask tips, holidays: searches on the internet
The coronavirus crisis is also affecting search behavior on the internet. According to a Google evaluation, a large number of users are currently searching for "happiness". This term is at a record high worldwide. Internet users in Germany were increasingly interested in the current restrictions in the coronavirus crisis according to Google. The search for "conditions for fitness studio coronavirus nrw" for example increased by more than 5000 percent in the last seven days. Furthermore, people typed "restricted regular operation daycare meaning" more frequently (+ 1850 percent) in the search engine. From brothels to arcades up to nail studios and shisha bars: When public places can open again, many people wanted to know this via Google in the past few days. The obligation to wear masks in shops, buses, and trains were also noticeable in internet searches. The search for a solution to the problem “Glasses broken by wearing mask“ rose by 1850 percent in the last 7 days. The coming summer is also noticeable in the search engine evaluations: Many Google user questions were about when it is possible to go on holiday in Austria, Italy, or Mallorca.
16:11 German football league games in other stadiums
Football matches can also be transferred to other stadiums during the coronavirus crisis according to the German Football League (DFL). There is the possibility of "playing a game at short notice in another stadium for overriding legal, organizational, and/or security reasons," the German Football League said. This arrangement had been made because of regional infection hot spots breaking out.
15:57 Constitutional complaints against coronavirus regulations fail
The Federal Constitutional Court supports the basic policies of easing measures and at the same time continuing the existing restrictions on public life. The highest German court did not reach a decision on two constitutional complaints: one addressed against the easing of measures, the other against the continuing restrictions.
15:06 Drop in tax revenues of almost 100 billion euro
The coronavirus crisis is tearing a hole in state finances. For the first time since the financial crisis in 2009, tax revenues from the Federal Government, States, and Municipalities have decreased, the Federal Ministry of Finance has announced. Tax estimators expect a drop in revenue of 81.5 billion euro this year – a decrease of over ten percent. The Federal Government, States, and Municipalities will therefore have to plan with a 98.6 billion euro deficit compared to the November estimates – money that has already been factored into the budgets.
14:43 Sanofi calls for more speed in vaccine development
A manager at the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi has called on the EU to pick up the pace regarding its guidelines for the development and production of a coronavirus vaccine. There is already an acceleration in the USA, the head of Sanofi in France, Olivier Bogillot, told the channel France Info. "Europe must do the same."
13:56 Steinmeier appeals to reason
In the face of increasing conspiracy theories concerning the coronavirus pandemic, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has called for reason in the political debate. During a visit to the new coronavirus reserve hospital at the Berlin exhibition grounds, he said that a critical discussion was necessary. However, he hoped that "we will continue to lead it in such a way that facts and figures will not be ignored and that we will liberate ourselves from the current situation with reason."
13:36 1,000 euros for care workers
As promised, employees caring for the elderly will receive a coronavirus bonus 1000 euros this year. This was decided by the Bundestag on Thursday. The bonus will initially be financed by the statutory care funds. In the second half of the year, the Ministries of Health and Finance want to determine the extent to which the federal government will contribute to funding. States or employers can top up the tax-free extra payment to up to 1,500 euros. Some have already announced that they would do so. The initiative is estimated to cost around one billion euros.
The bonus is part of the so-called second population protection act implemented by the coalition government. In addition, an expansion of testing as well as reporting requirements are planned. The law foresees numerous additional changes and must be approved Bundesrat.
13:18 Will the basketball season continue too?
At the beginning of next week, basketball players will find out whether they can continue their season as planned. On Tuesday, the cabinet of the Bavarian state government will discuss the league's hygiene and safety concept. The BBL has presented a 50-page concept to politicians and the authorities.
If the politicians give the green light, the BBL will crown its champion after a 12-day tournament in the Munich Audi Dome over a period of three weeks. According to the league's plans, the tournament will start on the first June weekend and end on June 28.
12:55 EU: Time limit for corona tracing apps
According to Didier Reynders, the EU Commissioner for Justice and Consumer Protection, the use of so-called coronavirus tracing apps must be limited in time. The apps for tracing coronavirus infection chains may only be used during the health crisis, Reynders said on Thursday in the European Parliament in Brussels. The apps must be completely disabled when the pandemic is over. Reynders stressed that it would not be sufficient for users to simply log off.
Reynders said that the EU must strive for a common approach to the app. Currently, several member states are working on individual solutions. It is important that all apps from the individual countries function in a coordinated manner. Data protection, however, is a central requirement.
12:28 France announces support package for travel industry
The French government has announced a 1.3 billion euro investment program to support the travel industry during the coronavirus crisis. "What's good for the tourist industry is often good for the whole of France," says Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
This brings the total volume of aid to the sector to 18 billion euros. The outlook for the summer holiday season is still uncertain. Philippe says he hopes that the French will be able to take holidays in France in July and August.
12:21 Oxfam calls for worldwide access to vaccine for all
The aid organisation Oxfam is calling for patent-free production of coronavirus vaccines and medications and fair distribution worldwide. "For decades, the poorest of the poor have had to wait at the back of the line for access to vaccines and medication. This costs millions of people their lives every year," explained Sandra Dworack, expert for poverty reduction and basic social services at Oxfam Germany.
The development organisation warned against putting the interests of rich countries and pharmaceutical companies before the supply of medicines to developing countries, even in the coronavirus crisis. The procurement and distribution of a coronavirus vaccine to the world's poorest people would cost an estimated 25 billion US dollars, which is less than the ten largest pharmaceutical companies earn in four months, the organization further explained.
At the United Nations World Health Assembly on May 18, Oxfam therefore called for financial support only for those pharmaceutical companies that provided patent-free coronavirus drugs.
11:57 Study - Crisis increases wage gap between women and men
According to a study, the coronavirus crisis is likely to further increase the pay gap between women and men. "The pandemic not only exposes problematic inequalities in economic and social opportunities, it often exacerbates them," said Bettina Kohlrausch, an expert at the WSI Institute of the Hans Böckler Foundation in response to a survey of almost 7700 workers.
The WSI Institute concluded that mothers bear the main burden of "additional care work in Corona times" due to closed day-care centers and schools. "The existing wage gap between the sexes is likely to widen even further as a result of the coronavirus crisis," said Kohlrausch.
11:54 WHO Europe urges vigilance in the fight against the coronavirus
The European Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) has called on Europeans to remain vigilant in the fight against the coronavirus. There is no room for complacency, said WHO Regional Director Hans Kluge. Governments and authorities must remain attentive to their citizens, and citizens must continue to act responsibly and adhere to policies. "Each of us is shaping the history of this pandemic," said Kluge. Every single one of us has a part in keeping Covid-19 in check.
11:52 Bulgaria declares a state of "epidemic emergency"
Bulgaria has declared a state of "epidemic emergency" until June 14 due to the coronavirus. The new regulation replaced the state of emergency that was imposed two months ago. "The state of emergency will be lifted, but all measures continue to apply," said Health Minister Kiril Ananiew. Shopping malls, schools, and kindergartens will remain closed. Previously, there had been various relaxations.
Since May 6, open-air restaurants and terraces of restaurants and cafés have been allowed to reopen. Outdoor sports have been allowed again for the last ten days. Visits to parks, museums, galleries, libraries, and cinemas are also permitted again. On Thursday the capital city's zoo opened its doors. By Thursday, 2100 cases of coronavirus had been recorded in the EU's poorest country. 100 people have died.
11:34 Actions against corona demonstrations and conspiracy theories
The Berlin Alliance Against Right-Wing extremists has called for a protest against further corona demonstrations on Saturday. Right-wing groups, political parties, and organizations have been clearly represented at the demonstrations against corona ordinances and the restriction of basic rights, said Alliance spokesman David Kiefer. The organizers must consistently distance themselves from this.
On Friday, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation is organizing an action day on the Internet to counter conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism. Together with the Anne Frank Center, conspiracy theories and their anti-Semitic core will be explained. One of the reasons for this is action is that conspiracy theories and false information are gaining increasing popularity in connection with the corona crisis. Some of these show anti-Semitic tendencies and pave the way for racist world views.
11:28 Churches receive less income due to the coronavirus
The churches in Lower Saxony and Bremen expect serious financial losses due to the coronavirus crisis. This is the result of an epd-poll among the Protestant state churches and Catholic dioceses. The Hanoverian state church alone, the largest Protestant state church in Germany, expects losses of up to 105 million euros. One reason is an expected decrease in church tax.
Church tax is by far the largest source of income for the churches and is directly linked to income tax. Catholics paid just under 6.5 billion euros in church taxes in 2018, while Protestants paid around 5.8 billion euros.
11:09 Parliament approves further aid
The parliament has adopted further social policy measures to counteract the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The "Social Protection Package II" passed on Thursday includes an increase in short-time work compensation. It will be increased to 70 percent (77 percent for households with children) of the lump-sum net wage for those who receive short-time work compensation for working hours reduced by at least 50 percent, starting in the fourth month, and to 80 percent (87 percent for households with children) of the lump-sum net wage starting in the seventh month. In addition, unemployment benefits will be extended by three months for those whose entitlement would end between 1 May 2020 and 31 December 2020. The bonus for elderly nursing staff is also to be decided today. According to this, a nursing staff member is to receive 1,000 euros from the nursing insurance funds. The bonus will initially be financed by the statutory nursing care insurance funds.
10:37 First coronavirus case in Lower Saxony's prisons
The first coronavirus case has been reported in Lower Saxony's correctional system. According to the state ministry of justice in Hanover on Thursday, a so-called "Freigänger" (prisoner on release) at the Delmenhorst correctional facility (JVA) has become infected with the virus.
The man concerned works outside the prison, they added. On May 8, he was informed by his employer that a colleague had fallen ill with Covid-19. As a precautionary measure, the prison placed the prisoner in isolation after his return to the Delmenhorst ward.
The staff and other prisoners were then tested for the virus on May 13, but results are still pending. Until then, the prisoners will remain in quarantine in their detention rooms by order of the health department, while the staff will remain in domestic quarantine. In addition, the health department has been informed of all other contact persons of the infected prisoner.
09:57 More than 250,000 infections in Russia
In Russia, the number of people infected with the coronavirus continues to rise rapidly. In the last 24 hours there have been 9974 new cases, slightly less than the day before. This brings the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases to 252,245. The number of deaths rose by 93 to 2305.
Due to the unusually low mortality rate of less than one percent, there are doubts about the official figures. In virtually all countries - even those with better equipped and better financed health care systems - the mortality rate is significantly higher: in Germany it is around 4.5 percent, in Italy as high as 14 percent. The global average is just under seven percent.
09:29 Politicians and experts demand free coronavirus vaccinations
More than 140 leading government politicians and experts from around the world have called for free treatment and vaccination against the coronavirus for all people. The drugs must be fairly distributed in every country, according to a appeal published in Geneva by UNAIDS - the United Nations Programme to Reduce HIV/AIDS. The drugs must also be produced in large quantities and without patent protection.
Among the signatories are the President of South Africa and Chairman of the African Union, Cyril Ramaphosa, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, and the US economist and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz.
09:26 Millions of Americans stand to lose health insurance
Since March, more than 33 million people in the USA have lost their jobs - the highest number ever in such a short time. Experts expect a further increase in unemployment in the world's largest economy due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, there is a further problem: almost 27 million people could also lose their health insurance because of this. According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, most people have health insurance through their employer. Those who lose their jobs can often not afford to continue to pay the premium for themselves and co-insured family members privately.
The USA is virtually the only developed industrial country without a national health insurance system. Even before the coronavirus crisis, around 28 million people - almost one-tenth of the country's population - had no health insurance. Under former President Barack Obama, the options for health insurance were significantly expanded. However Trump and his fellow Republicans are fighting bitterly against universal coverage.
09:05 Kretschmer condemns sweeping criticism of corona demonstrators
Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer has warned against putting all demonstrators against corona measures in the same category. "I respect that people are demonstrating and warn against putting all protests into one pot", the CDU politician told the newspaper "Sächsische Zeitung". At the same time, he warned of possible infiltration by people "who will use anything to stir things up and spread false information".
In Pirna, Saxony, about 200 people demonstrated against the coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday. Thirty of them attacked the police, one officer was injured.
08:00 Here's what happened last night
- CoViD-19 numbers for Germany: Robert Koch Institute reports 933 new cases of CoViD-19 (172,239 total) and 89 new deaths (7,723 total) due to the virus
- 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