This is a live blog from May 22, 2020.

Head here for today's news:

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.

Join our Daily Update if you want to receive one email per day from us with the news of last night and a link to the feed of the day. Click here to sign up.

17:53 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).

Join our Daily Update for a daily newsletter report on the latest news. Click here to sign up.

17:22 Steinmeier: Democracy proves itself in the pandemic

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier views the debate about coronavirus policy as proof of the strength of democracy. “How lively our democracy is, how deeply rooted it is, and how highly valued the fundamental values are, this is being shown right now in this crisis,“ he wrote in a byline article in the "Süddeutschen Zeitung".

Criticism is not "reserved for coronavirus-free times". The free democratic basic order has also proved itself in the pandemic. We have jointly succeeded in flattening the infection curve so that we have already been able to ease painful restrictions. He is happy that the federal and state governments have oriented their decisions on scientific findings, which are continuously developing. He sees the decisions made as "sensible and measured". But he is also pleased "that they have been animatedly discussed, they have been disputed, almost from the first day on".

He also warned at the same time that the debates about the best way out from the crisis could be abused. Some are trying to feed their "poisonous ideas" into the debates, "to sow doubt in the sense and rightfulness of the democratic process", warned the State Head. "Thus even though some conspiracy theories appearing may seem potty – we won’t forget that there are political aims behind them, which we are not allowed to ignore."

Discrediting elected representatives of the people and their serious reporting, democratic processes, scientific findings, and reason is "nothing less than an attack on our democracy, and on the freedom which it purports to defend", warned Steinmeier.

16:50 Chechen leader Kadyrow in hospital

Chechen regional president Ramsan Kadyrow may have been infected with the novel coronavirus. He was brought to Moscow by plane, where he is now under "medical supervision", reported the Russian state news agency Tass. According to the agency, his condition is "stable“. The 43-year-old Ria-Nowosti is being treated in a Moscow hospital. Kadyrow is considered to be the undisputed number one in the Caucasus Republic. However, human rights groups have criticized his authoritarian government style and report numerous cases of extrajudicial killings and abductions in the Muslim republic.

16:24 No new infections in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

No further infections have been detected compared to the previous day for the third time since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. There is a total of 759 cases in the state according to the State Office for Health and Social Affairs in Rostock. About 700 of the people tested positive in the Federal State have recovered from CoViD-19. In Saxony-Anhalt, there were no new reported infections with coronavirus compared to the previous day since the beginning of the pandemic for the second time.

15:34 Three out of four Germans do not expect negative impact on finances

Despite the coronavirus crisis, a survey reports that 73 percent of Germans do not expect any change to their income over the next six months. One in six households expect to earn more by the end of the year, reports the "Spiegel" on the basis of a joint study by the Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE, the market research institute Nielsen, and the Economics Chair of the Goethe University Frankfurt. On the other hand, one in ten expect to earn less.

15:15 India reports record increase in infections

India has reported 6,088 new coronavirus infection within 24 hours – the highest increase within a day so far. The total number of confirmed infections in the country has increased to 118,447, with the confirmed death toll rising to 3,583. More than 48,000 people have now recovered, according to data from the Ministry of Health. The State of Maharashtra has been hit hardest, with more than 41,000 confirmed cases.

14:57 Steinmeier thanks Muslims for conduct during corona crisis

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has thanked Muslims for their careful behavior to help curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. In a greeting message to mark the end of the month of fasting, Mr. Steinmeier wrote that the restrictions to religious life are all but certain to have placed a serious burden on many Muslims. "I am very grateful to all those who have complied with these strict rules and helped us achieve our first successes in the fight against the virus," wrote the Federal President.

The President of the Central Council of Muslims, Aiman Mazyek, warned his fellow believers not to over-eagerly return to their mosques, with a view to the upcoming Iftar feast of fast-breaking. The mosque communities cannot return to normality for the time being. “Those who believe ijn the romantic notion that all will be the same are mistaken.”

14:42 Plans for family bonus

According to a report, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz wants to boost purchasing power after the coronavirus crisis with a family bonus. Parents are to receive a one-off bonus of 300 euro for each child, reports the "Spiegel" on the basis of plans from the Ministry of Finance. The measure can cost the Federal Government between five and six billion euro and are part of the economic recovery package planned for June.

The State Government of North Rhine-Westphalia feels that this measure does not go far enough, and calls for a bonus of 600 euro per child. Minister-President Armin Laschet wants to add the money to the child benefit payments.

In a video message on Thursday, Mr. Scholz had proposed plans to support families, workers, and sectors such as culture, actors, restaurants, hotels, and travel agencies – without mentioning any concrete plans. According to information from "Spiegel", restaurant owners and artists can receive compensation for loss of incomes – measured by the average earnings over recent years. Mr. Scholz furthermore plans to facilitate depreciation and investment allowances. The economic recovery package will comprise up to 150 billion euro.

14:00 Health insurance companies want money for coronavirus tests from the state

In light of  planned increase in coronavirus testing, health insurance companies are insisting that the the state helps cover the costs. "It definitely seems sensible to expand testing in the context of fighting a pandemic," the spokesman of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds (GKV) told the news agency dpa. As a state task, tests should also be financed by the state within this framework.

"We are legally obliged to initially finance the series of tests in many cases," said the spokesman. The total costs would depend on how this number develops. "With 59 euros per test, it is obvious that we will probably end up with a huge sum," he said. "Of course, when discussing the finances in fall, we will insist that the statutory health insurance companies are reimbursed for these costs through the federal budget."

13:35 NRW proposes a 600 euro coronavirus bonus per child

The state government of North Rhine-Westphalia has proposed a one-time increase in child allowance to support families during the coronavirus crisis. The family bonus of 600 euros per child aims to help relieve families and promote private consumption, State Premier Armin Laschet (CDU) explained in Düsseldorf. Families have had to bear a considerable burden in recent weeks due to school and kindergarten closures, he said. The bonus could strengthen purchasing power without additional bureaucracy and raise demand for retailers.

13:28 Smaller increase in death rates in the second half of April

At the end of April, a marginally higher number of people died in Germany compared to the average of the past years. This is indicated preliminary results of the Federal Statistical Office, published in Wiesbaden. For the latest data, statisticians used the death reports of registry offices. Currently, only preliminary data are available up until the end of April.

According to the special evaluation, at least 17,974 people died in Germany in the week between April 20 and 26. This is a decrease of 882 cases compared to the week before. If you look at the average numbers in the period from April 20 to 26 in the years 2016 to 2019, this number is three percent higher.  According to the data, the highest excess mortality rate occurred in the 15th calendar week: between April 6 and 12, the number of deaths was 13 percent higher compared to the four-year average.

13:22 Schulze presents stimulus package for municipalities

According to the magazine "Spiegel", environment minister Svenja Schulze plans to present a concept for a stimulus package on Monday to support municipalities with sustainable investments. "Economists say that investments in climate protection are among the most effective stimulus impulses," she told to the magazine, according to the preliminary report. Among other things, it is planned to promote solar energy systems for police stations or schools. In addition, oil and gas heating in public buildings is to be exchanged for sustainable heat sources by means of funding programs.

12:55 Great Britain incurs debts of GBP 62 billion

In the past month, the British government has incurred more debt than ever before, as the statistics authority ONS (Office for National Statistics) reported. According to their figures, new government debt amounted to around GBP 62 billion pounds (nearly EUR 69 billion) in April, which is 51 billion more than in the same period last year.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the British government has launched a generous program for companies that to furlough their workers. 80 percent of workers' wages are still paid by the state until the end of June. Last week, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced that the program will be extended until October, although with lower government subsidies. At the same time, tax revenues have fallen."

12:52 Greece extends curfew in refugee camps

The Greek government has not lifted the coronavirus curfew for the refugee camps in the country as initially planned but has extended it until June 7. The Ministries of Civil Protection, Health and Migration have agreed to extend the curfew imposed two months ago, the Migration Ministry said in a brief statement without explanation. So far, no coronavirus infections have been detected in the completely overcrowded refugee camps on the Greek Aegean Islands. On the mainland, however, dozens of residents of three refugee facilities have been infected. So far, however, there have been no fatalities.

12:33 Scholz to prepare the family bonus plan

According to a media report, the federal government's planned economic stimulus package also includes a family bonus. Parents are to receive a one-time payment of 300 euros for each child, according to "Der Spiegel". Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) is thus following the suggestions of Family Minister Franziska Giffey (SPD). The measure would cost the tax authorities five to six billion euros.

12:08 Debate on school operation after the summer holidays

According to Stefanie Hubig (SPD), President of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the German States (KMK), school operations will not function as they did before the coronavirus pandemic, even after the summer holidays. "I assume that even after the summer holidays, school cannot be held under the usual conditions", the Rhineland-Palatinate Education Minister told the newspaper "taz". At the moment, nobody can say what the timetable will look like then. "We are currently preparing for all conceivable scenarios," Hubig said. It would be sensible to stick with the summer holidays, the KMK head said in response to the debate about shortened holidays. Teachers, parents, and pupils needed a break. In addition, preparations for the new school year need to be made; new staff must be hired. At the same time, Hubig said she is not ruling out the possibility that a return to a more normal atmosphere in schools might be possible even before the development of a vaccine against Covid-19. She said that this will depend on the rules of hygiene. "At the moment, it's not a question of avoiding any infections, but keeping the number as low as possible." It's clear now that it will take longer. Saxony's State Premier Michael Kretschmer announced that all schools in the state would offer regular school lessons again after the summer holidays.

11:51 Lower Saxony: Minister announces investigation in meat plant

Following the massive coronavirus outbreak among employees of a meat processing plant in Dissen near Osnabrück, Lower Saxony's Minister of Social Affairs, Carola Reimann, has called for detailed investigations. "We have to find out exactly what the causes of the infections are", the SPD politician told the "Neue Presse" newspaper published in Hanover. She added that it was necessary to clarify whether the infections were due to hygiene, distances, living quarters, or work processes. "We will examine the subcontractors in particular", said the minister. The structure of work contracts will also be examined more closely. In the processing plant "Westcrown" in Dissen near Osnabrück, 146 mainly Eastern European employees were infected with the coronavirus in the past few days. The plant was closed for two weeks.

11:27 Germans prefer contactless payment

People in Germany are trying to avoid cash payments as often as possible during the coronavirus crisis. This was the result of a representative survey commissioned by the digital association Bitkom. Three-quarters of those surveyed said they would rather pay with a card, a smartphone, or a smartwatch. At the same time, 7 out of 10 respondents (71 percent) would like more options for contactless payment. The Federal Bank of Germany also recently announced that more and more people in Germany were paying for their purchases contactlessly due to the coronavirus crisis.

11:21 Great Britain plans 14 days quarantine for travelers

Great Britain now intends to quarantine arrivals from abroad for 14 days. The two-week quarantine should help to contain the coronavirus in the United Kingdom, the Northern Ireland Minister Brandon Lewis told Sky News television. British citizens arriving from abroad could be quarantined at home, while other travellers would have to make appropriate arrangements for their isolation. According to Brandon, the maintenance of this measure would be reviewed every three weeks. It will accompany the gradual relaxation of other coronavirus restrictions from 1 June. He said that "for the time being" there would be no exceptions to the quarantine obligation for countries with low infection rates. However, exceptions are planned for truck drivers, medical staff, and citizens of neighbouring Ireland.

10:44 Renault applies for government aid in the billions

French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire sees the car manufacturer Renault in a serious crisis. "Renault is fighting for its survival", Le Maire told the newspaper "Le Figaro". The company has applied for a state-guaranteed loan of five billion euros, the minister said. "I haven't signed this loan yet." The government is asking Renault "to make commitments in three areas: electric vehicles, respect for its suppliers, and the localization of its most technologically advanced activities in France." Le Maire also stressed that Renault's big factory in Flins, in the Paris area, should not be closed. "This is the position of the government and the state as shareholder," Le Maire told Europe 1 on Friday morning. They are now waiting for the Renault chairman's proposals.

10:44 Renault applies for government aid in the billions

French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire sees the car manufacturer Renault in a serious crisis. "Renault is fighting for its survival", Le Maire told the newspaper "Le Figaro". The company has applied for a state-guaranteed loan of five billion euros, the minister said. "I haven't signed this loan yet." The government is asking Renault "to make commitments in three areas: electric vehicles, respect for its suppliers, and the localization of its most technologically advanced activities in France." Le Maire also stressed that Renault's big factory in Flins, in the Paris area, should not be closed. "This is the position of the government and the state as shareholder," Le Maire told Europe 1 on Friday morning. They are now waiting for the Renault chairman's proposals.

10:41 3249 Deaths in Russia

Russia records 150 more deaths in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, the highest daily increase to date. The total number of deaths thus rose to 3249, according to the authorities. The number of confirmed infections increased by 8894 to 326,448 cases.

10:39 Pandemic destroys tropical forests

The destruction of tropical forests has massively increased worldwide in the course of the spreading Covid 19 pandemic. This is the result of a study by the environmental foundation WWF, for which it evaluated satellite data from the University of Maryland. "Everything points to the fact that we are dealing with a coronavirus effect in the masively increasing destruction of forests," says Christoph Heinrich, Director of Nature Conservation at WWF Germany. According to the study, the area of tropical forests in the 18 countries studied shrank by 6500 square kilometres in the "corona month" of March, which is about seven times the area of Berlin.

10:33 Warnings about state economy

According to information from ARD Studio Berlin, the Federal Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF) will meet today in the committee responsible for the planned coronavirus crisis aid for Lufthansa and subsequently submit an official offer to the airline. CDU/CSU politicians warn that government involvement in the economy should not get out of hand.

10:11 China issues no growth forecast

Due to the coronavirus crisis, China is refraining from issuing a growth forecast. "Our country is facing developments that are difficult to predict," said Prime Minister Li Keqiang at the National People's Congress session. The Communist Party is not capable of self-criticism, reports Axel Dorloff from the ARD studio in Beijing.

09:34 Massive slump in UK retail sales

Sales in the British retail sector fell more sharply than ever before in April due to the coronavirus crisis. Revenues fell by 18.1 percent compared to the previous month, according to the ONS statistics office in London. This is the biggest drop since the surveys began in 1988. The decline was stronger than analysts had feared.

09:21 McDonalds defers rent to franchisees

McDonald's is waiving a portion of the payments of its restaurant operators in Germany in the coronavirus crisis. Operators were granted deferral of the lease and franchise fees for March and April, and part of the rent was also waived, reported the "Wirtschaftswoche". The burger restaurant chain is also planning an advertising offensive. According to a spokesperson, the reason for this is that starting Monday, the interiors of the fast-food restaurants can once again be used throughout Germany.

09:11 More than 20,000 deaths in Brazil

The number of coronavirus deaths in Brazil has exceeded the 20,000 mark. With a new record of 1188 reported deaths within 24 hours, the number of overall deaths rose to 20,047, according to the Brazilian Ministry of Health. In the most populous country in South America, 310,000 cases of infection with the novel coronavirus have now been confirmed. This makes Brazil the country most severely affected by the pandemic worldwide after the USA and Russia. According to expert estimates, the infection figures in Brazil could even be 15 times higher than officially recorded, as comparatively little testing is being done. Experts also expect the peak of the spread of the coronavirus in Brazil to not be reached until June.

09:03 India reports highest daily increase in infections

India has recorded the largest daily increase in coronavirus cases to date, with around 6000 confirmed new infections. The country with 1.3 billion citizens reported an increase in confirmed cases by about five percent to 118,000. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had extended the curfew until the end of May, but recently relaxed the restrictions in regions with fewer infections.

08:00 Here's what happened last night

  • CoViD-19 numbers for Germany: Robert Koch Institute reports 460 new cases of CoViD-19 (177,212 total) and 27 new deaths (8,174 total) due to the virus
  • German Council of Economic Experts rejects car premium
  • No new Corona cases in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
  • Jens Spahn will enable preventive Corona tests in care homes