This is a live blog from May 17, 2020.

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16:41 That's it for today. Join us tomorrow for more live updates!

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Short Facts

  • RKI reports 583 new cases
  • Green party draws up plan for a reform in meat industry
  • Israel re-opens its schools
  • Chinese metropolis Jilin largely closed
  • Rescue concept for theatres and cinemas is introduced

16:29 Museum Day during the coronavirus crisis – also digitally

International Museum Day in times of coronavirus: In addition to the opening by Brandenburg’s Minister-President Dietmar Woidke, many exhibitions will also be held digitally.

In a video message, Mr. Woidke, who is also the patron of Museum Day 2020, had praised the fact that many museums across the country had made use of “productive distancing” during the coronavirus crisis, finding new ways to present cultural treasures and to impart knowledge. “Virtual collections, digital live tours, exciting podcasts – they open up completely new perspectives and give us insights behind the scenes,” Mr. Woidke said.

He encouraged people to visit museums – in person and digitally. Over 800 museums present their collections digitally, on the Museum Day website. The website also has a list of museums that have once again opened their doors to the public.

The Museum Day, an initiative by the International Council of Museums, is intended to highlight the diversity of museums – there are over 6,500 museums in Germany alone.

16:10 Infections exceed upper limit in Bavaria

In the district of Straubing- Bogen and the city of Straubing, the upper limit of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days has been exceeded. Nevertheless, the district does not plat on undoing the easing of restrictions while referring to a communication from the Ministry of Health.

The statement reads: "In the current situation, it does not seem necessary to enact further measures for a larger share of the population in the district and city".

On Friday, it became known that at least 77 employees of a slaughterhouse had been infected with the coronavirus. According to the District Administration, the community accommodations in which the infected employees live has been placed under quarantine. Those infected with the virus who could not be isolated were taken to a central accommodation.

16:02 Demonstrations against restrictions in Schwerin

According to police reports, over 250 people have protested against the coronavirus restrictions in Schwerin. Demonstrators gathered close to the city castle with the motto “coronavirus panic threatens our constitutional rights”. Posters carried by demonstrators read demands such as “Stop the nanny state” and “Give us our fundamental rights back now”. Outside the area blocked for the demonstration, another 400 people had gathered, according to the police. There have not been any incidents.

On Saturday, thousands of people already took to the streets in numerous German cities to protest restrictions during the coronavirus crisis. Counter-protests also took place.

15:40 Qatar introduces face mask obligation and harsh penalties

Qatar starts to impose severe penalties for violations of the measures to curb the coronavirus pandemic. Appearing in public without a mask can be fined with up to three years in prison and up to 55,000 dollars (50,800 euro). According to news agency reports, this is the most severe penalty anywhere in the world. The Qatar Ministry of the Interior specifies that the mask requirement applies to all those who leave their home, with an exception in place for those who are traveling in a vehicle alone. Besides Saudi Arabia, Qatar is one of the countries in the Arab world hit hardest by the pandemic.

14:46 Deaths in Spain at all-time low

The daily Covid-19 death rate in Spain fell to 87 on Sunday, the lowest in two months. The figures were announced by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez at a video conference with the heads of the regions, according to national media reports. Since March 17, the number of coronavirus deaths in Spain has exceeded 100 every day.

14:16 Knobloch criticizes overt anti-Semitism at protests

The President of the Israelite Religious Community of Munich & Upper Bavaria, Charlotte Knobloch, is appalled at the extent of the hatred seen at protests against coronavirus policies. "Conspiracy theories and overt anti-Semitism" are being spread in German cities "under the guise of political protest," she said. "Frightening extremism" was spreading through society, she added. "Mumblings of secret powers and dark plans, which underpin many of these protests, clearly carry anti-Semitic traits."

13:45 Chinese metropolis goes into widespread lockdown

The Chinese metropolis of Jilin has imposed tougher preventive measures following new cases of coronavirus. This has resulted in the closure of all businesses except food stores. Three new infections have been recorded throughout the entire region, which has been classed as a high-risk zone by the authorities.

At the same time, the government’s top health adviser Zhong Nanshan stated that the risk of a second coronavirus wave remained. Due to a lack of immunity, the majority of Chinese people are currently still vulnerable to the virus, Zhong Nanshan told CNN. “We are facing a major challenge.” Recently, new infection clusters have occurred in the north-eastern provinces and the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

13:08 UN: Coronavirus crisis particular threat to LGBTI community

To mark the International Day Against Homophobia, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has warned of particular threats to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, and intersex people during the coronavirus pandemic. "There are also reports of Covid-19 guidelines being abused by the police to target LGBTI people and organizations," said Guterres. "Many LGBTI people who are already exposed to prejudice, attacks, and murder just because they are who they are or love who they love are experiencing increased stigmatization as a result of the virus, as well as new obstacles when trying to access medical care," he continued.

The International Day against Homophobia dates back to May 17, 1990: This was the day when the World Health Organization (WHO) decided to remove homosexuality from its list of psychological disorders.

12:27 Klöckner: Higher penalties for slaughterhouses that violate regulations

Following the coronavirus outbreaks in slaughterhouses, the CDU in Rhineland-Palatinate has called for higher fines for companies that violate working time regulations. Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner – who is also the state’s CDU chairman – supports the proposal. "The penalty framework should be increased from 15,000 to 30,000 euros," said Klöckner.

The politician additionally demanded that companies also comply with the standards to prevent infection risks at the workplace when employing foreign workers. This also concerns the accommodation of workers. Recently, hundreds of Eastern European workers had become infected with coronavirus. This had triggered massive criticism of the industry.

Federal Minister of Labour, Hubertus Heil (SPD), has also announced that a plan will be introduced on Monday to improve working and hygiene conditions in the industry.

11:44 OSCE: Corona Aid Packages for the Economy Fuel Corruption

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) fears that corruption is likely to flourish as a result of the huge Corona aid packages for the economy because authorities are overburdened. "We suspect that we will experience much more corruption in the coming months," OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger told the Austrian news agency APA.

"Criminals are adapting quickly to the systemic weaknesses caused by the coronavirus crisis." Human trafficking is also likely to increase, the Swiss diplomat said. The introduction of controls at the internal borders puts the border authorities in the Schengen area under excessive strain. Resources are thus lacking in other areas and criminals are taking advantage of this.

11:21 Spain: Less than 100 corona deaths for the first time

In Spain, the number of new deaths from Covid-19 fell below 100 for the first time in two months. Within 24 hours, 87 people died in connection with the coronavirus, according to the Ministry of Health in Madrid. A total of 27,650 people have died. The number of confirmed cases of infection rose by 652 to 231,350.

11:06 Concept for re-opening cinemas and theatres

The federal and state ministers responsible for culture have drawn up proposals for a gradual re-opening of cultural institutions. In a six-page concept for Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and the state leaders, the ministers advocated "a systematic opening of further cultural institutions and activities". Individual solutions would have to be developed on the basis of the recommendations.

In theatres, for example, rows of seats could be left free and events could be moved outside. For cinemas, the aim is to have re-opening dates as close together as possible. In order to avoid queues, the Ministers of Culture advocate online tickets and staggered admission times. The flow of visitors should be regulated, for example, by not tearing off tickets or scanning them. To protect artistic performers, the number of people in rehearsal rooms or cloakrooms should be limited.

10:27 Greeks are allowed to attend church again

For many weeks now, Orthodox worship services have been forbidden or severely restricted in Greece. Now, for the first time in weeks, the faithful can listen to a sermon together - according to media reports, thousands flocked to the churches. However, distance rules and compulsory masks still apply. The traditional kissing or touching of the icons is allowed again - but the icon must be disinfected after each touch.

10:03 Israel begins opening schools

Israel began opening its schools to all age groups today. After a significant decrease in coronavirus infections in the Mediterranean country, fourth to tenth grades will be gradually re-opened this week. Masks will be compulsory from the fourth grade onwards. Other hygiene regulations must also be observed.

Parents are also required to take their children's temperature every morning and sign a health declaration. Schools are to remain closed only in villages with a high incidence of coronavirus infections. In Israel the working week starts on Sundays.

09:53 High infection rates reported again in Russia

The number of new infections in Russia has increased again. Within 24 hours, 9709 new cases of the coronavirus were reported, according to the Coronavirus Working Group. On Saturday, 9200 new infections were reported, after some 10,600 on Friday. A total of 281,752 infections have been detected so far. The number of deaths related to the coronavirus increased by 94 to 2631. Russia has reported the most infections worldwide after the USA.

09:15 Basketball league hopes to play again

The Basketball Bundesliga is hoping for permission from the government to hold its championship tournament. A decision is expected soon. The basis is a strict hygiene concept: no contact with the family, no cheerleaders - and the teams have to clean the floors themselves. Here are the most important points:

Foreign players: Many players, especially from the USA, travelled to their home country during the coronavirus crisis. When they return, they will be subject to a 14-day domestic quarantine.

Hotels: Unlike in football, active players will be completely isolated from the public during the tournament and accommodated in a hotel. Even after the games, showers will not be taken in the changing rooms, but only in the hotel.

Tests: As all active participants are in group isolation, one corona test per week is considered adequate. In the case of a positive test, the person will be immediately isolated, there is no automatic quarantine for the whole team.

Ball: If the ball leaves a two-meter safety area around the field, it must be disinfected before it is used again.

08:00 Here's what happened last night

  • CoViD-19 numbers for Germany: Robert Koch Institute reports 583 new cases of CoViD-19 (174,355 total) and 33 new deaths (7,914 total) due to the virus
  • Arrests during protests against Corona restrictions
  • According to RKI, reproduction factor still below critical value
  • State of emergency in Spain to be extended one last time
  • Dozens of indigenous peoples affected by coronavirus