This is a live blog from May 23, 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

Short Facts

  • Steinmeier indicates to strength of the democracy
  • RKI: 638 new infections and 42 deaths
  • China reports no new infections
  • Brazil has the second most infections
  • Tui allows vacation to Mallorca in June

16:31 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.

16:20 German-wide demonstrations against coronavirus restrictions

Opponents of the coronavirus restrictions held nationwide demonstrations today. Besides the over 30 protests and counterprotests in Berlin, protestors took to cities such as Munich and Stuttgart.

In Stuttgart, the number of participants was "very manageable" compared to the previous weeks, said a police spokesman. Several demonstrations had been registered in the state capital of Baden-Württemberg. Some of them did not take place in pouring rain.

A similar situation could be seen in Munich: According to the police, none of the four originally reported demonstrations took place. The largest event on the Theresienwiese was therefore cancelled shortly before the organizer started – here too, on account of bad weather.

16:12 Merkel justifies government approach

On the occasion of the Day of the German Constitution, Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke on the restrictions on basic rights during the coronavirus crisis – and once again defended them.

15:52 Study from the US reinforces hopes for therapy

The results of a clinical study in the US reinforce hopes for a therapy against the novel coronavirus: According to the study, the antiviral agent Remdesivir shortens the recovery time of COVID-19 patients by around 30 percent.

The study enrolled 1,063 COVID-19 patients in the US and nine other European and Asian countries. They either received Remdesivir, originally developed to treat Ebola, or a placebo over ten days. The patients treated with Remdesivir recovered in 11 days on average, whereas the other patients recovered after 15 days.

The authors of the study indicate that the drug worked best in patients without the need for ventilation. They therefore recommended an early start of treatment.

The study is less clear on whether the drug can also reduce patient mortality. Of the patients who received Remdesivir, 7.1 percent died within 14 days. The mortality rate in the control group was 11.9 percent. This different is too small to clearly attribute it to the drug.

Remdesivir alone is never sufficient to ensure the survival of COVID patients, the authors wrote. A combination of several therapies, including a possible cocktail of several antiviral drugs, is probably more promising. Remdesivir penetrates viruses and prevents them from multiplying; it has not yet been officially approved as a drug.

15:31 Corona infections in empty: breaches against the restrictions?

After many infections in Leer in Lower Saxony, the authorities believe it possible that a restaurant has breached against the coronavirus restrictions.

15:29 Berlin again the scene of "hygiene demonstrations" and counter-demonstrations

With a massive deployment, the Berlin police has once again accompanied numerous demonstrations against the coronavirus regulations, as well as counterdemonstrations. A total of around 1,100 officers had been present at more than 30 registered corona-related protests.

Apart from a rally at the Großer Stern, which was prematurely terminated, all events have been peaceful, said a police spokesperson in the afternoon. Some of the demonstrated only attracted a dozen protestors or less.

Due to the measures to curb the coronavirus pandemic, Berlin currently only allows 50 participants per demonstration. According to media reports and the police, numerous supporters of the Reichsbürger und Yellow Vest Movement were expected to attend the protest at the Großer Stern. The event was broken up prematurely because too many participants joined.

In Berlin, people have been protesting each weekend for about two months at so-called "hygiene demos", against the restriction of basic rights over the course of the fight against the pandemic, with numerous supporters adhering to conspiracy theories. Meanwhile, there are also numerous counterprotests. According to the Berlin Alliance against the Far-right, far-right groups, parties, and organizations are clearly represented at the events against the coronavirus regulations.

15:17 Spain to open borders for foreign tourists in July

Coronavirus hotspot Spain will not open its borders to foreign tourists until July. “From July onward, we will start welcoming foreign tourists again, under secure conditions,” said Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in a speech to the nation.

“We will guarantee that tourists will not be at risk and that they will not cause risks to us,” said the socialist politician.

With his announcement, Mr. Sánchez has clarified that any hopes for an earlier return to tourism -  which more and more people have called for after another hot spot, Italy, had announced the opening of its borders for tourists from June 3rd – are in vein.

15:05 15-year-old Indian girl attracts attention of the National Cycling Federation after incredible journey

A 15-year-old Indian girl, who has cycled 1,200 kilometres across the country with her injured father on the back carrier, has been invited to try out for the Indian national cycling team.

Jyoti Kumari and her father, who had suddenly become unemployed as a result of the corona curfews, had cycled, with her father and their luggage on the back, from Gurugram near New Delhi to the family's home village in the north-eastern state of Bihar, according to Indian media reports. Jyoti managed to cycle the incredible distance in just seven days.

Her journey, on a second-hand bicycle they had bought using the last of their savings, has made headlines nationwide and attracted the attention of the Indian Cycling Federation: "She managed to cycle this distance with her father and luggage on the back in seven days. I think she has what it takes – with such stamina. We can test her," Head of the Federation Onkar Singh said.

Jyoti initially replied that she wanted to continue her school education. "We told her that we can also give her an education at our academies," said Mr. Singh. Now that the nationwide travel ban has been lifted, the 15-year-old will travel to New Delhi to try riding a bike in competition conditions.

14:54 Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger: "Massive restriction of basic rights"

Former Federal Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has called on politicians to permanently monitor restrictions imposed by the corona pandemic and "gradually retract" them.

"Basic rights have been restricted to an extent not seen in the 71 years of our German Basic Law (Constitution)", the FDP politician told broadcaster WDR to mark the anniversary of the Constitution, which took force on May 23rd, 1949, "Restrictions on freedom must be justified, not any relaxation of these restrictions".

It is "absolute necessary" to clearly regulate the conditions under which greater freedom of movement is possible, for example in daycare centers and travel, said Ms. Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. In some cases, courts have forced governments to relax measures and allow greater freedom, for example with regard to the right of assembly.

"Freedom of assembly is crucial to our coexistence, even in times of pandemics, and even if the protesters demand for nonsense," stressed the former Minister of Justice. There are protection concepts for this, she said, and the police must monitor compliance with these concepts effectively and in a proportional manner: "that’s how we can keep living out our basic rights in these times.”

For the future, Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger demanded a different way of dealing with the effects of the pandemic, which includes strengthening parliaments. The 68-year-old warned against leaving the impression that "the elites and powerful control everything". She criticized that Bavaria had declared a "state of semi emergency" without any parliamentary participation. Parliaments have to be involved with such massive changes, and temporary restrictions of rights to freedom.

14:40 Football to resume in Spain on June 8

Spanish football leagues will be allowed to resume play from June 8, according to Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who announced the news in a speech to the nation. The new regulations apply to the Primera División as well as the second division. However, there is no specific schedule yet.
Game play has been on hold in Spain since March 12. Recently, eight out of around 2,500 players and employees of clubs in the first and second divisions tested positive for coronavirus. In the Primera División, the FC Barcelona is in first place with 58 points after 27 out of 38 games. Real Madrid is only two points behind in second place, while the FC Sevilla – in third place with 47 points – has little hope of winning the title.

14:00 Spain: Thousands protest against Sánchez government

Thousands of people across Spain have called for the resignation of socialist President Pedro Sánchez during protests against the country’s coronavirus measures. In Madrid and many other cities, the protesters, most in private vehicles, followed the call of the right-wing populist party Vox.
Vox, the third-strongest faction in the Spanish parliament, has accused the left-wing government of driving the country into economic "ruin" with the strict rules and prohibitions to curb the pandemic, as well as illegally restricting the freedoms of the nearly 47 million citizens. These accusations have also been made by the largest opposition party, the conservative Partido Popular (PP) – however, it did not call for its supporters to participate in the protests.
With more than 230,000 cases and more than 28,000 deaths, Spain has been one of the worst-affected country’s in the world. Since mid-March, strict lockdown measures have been in place, which are only now gradually being eased – they were introduced as part of a state of emergency that has been extended several times by parliament.

13:45 Wuhan carries out around 1.5 million tests a day

Yesterday, health authorities in the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan – the presumed place of origin of the coronavirus outbreak – carried out nearly one and a half million tests. Around one million tests had already been recorded the day before.

The many tests are part of a study to investigate so-called asymptomatic pathologies – i.e. those in which the infected people show no or only very weak symptoms.

13:36 Study raises doubts about efficacy of controversial malaria drug

According to a large-scale study, the malaria drugs that are being aggressively promoted by US President Donald Trump and the Brazilian head of state Bolsonaro are more likely to be counterproductive in fighting coronavirus.
The study, which compared 96,000 patients on six continents, showed that the death rate of people taking hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine was 13 percent, according to a report by the journal "Lancet". For patients who were treated differently, it was nine percent.
In addition, the risk of heart rhythm disorders was five times higher when taking the antimalarials, the paper wrote. According to the lead researcher, a heart specialist from Boston, there is not only no advantage, but actually a very consistent indication of adverse effects.

13:33 International appeal to protect the elderly

Leading figures from politics, sociology, religion, and science have made an international appeal not to devalue the lives of elderly people during the coronavirus crisis – and are calling for a "moral revolution". "All necessary energies must be invested into saving the greatest number of lives and enabling access to treatment for all," said the appeal, which was published as an advertisement in the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" and signed by the philosopher and sociologist Jürgen Habermas, among others.
"The value of life must remain the same for all. Anyone who devalues the fragile and weak lives of the elderly is paving the way for a devaluation of every life," said the appeal. In many countries, "a dangerous model" that favors a selective health care system was emerging, in which the life of the elderly was deemed second-class. The numerous signatories of the appeal include the former President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, and the former Minister of Education, Annette Schavan (CDU).

13:25 China extends international flight restrictions until October

China will continue to impose stringent restrictions on international flights until at least October due to the coronavirus pandemic. Intra-Chinese air traffic has now returned to half its pre-crisis levels, according to a report by the "Caixin" business magazine. Nevertheless, the air transport authority remains committed to restrictions on flights from abroad.
Since the end of March, a "Five Ones" policy has been in force, which allows airlines to operate one flight to one other country once a week. The Chinese newspaper "21st Century Business Herald" reported that, according to air transport authority regulations, this rule would be in place "at least until October".

13:22 Destruction of Brazilian rainforests at record high

The destruction of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil has increased rapidly in the shadow of the coronavirus crisis.

13:13 Uncertainty remains over Formula 1 in Silverstone

The holding of two planned Formula 1 races in Silverstone remains uncertain. As reported by the English newspaper "The Guardian", the organizers, like other sports organizations, have thus far been denied any exemption from the quarantine proceedings, despite great efforts.
According to "The Guardian", the races in Silverstone are planned for July 26 and August 2. However, the coronavirus measures introduced by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson entail two weeks of quarantine for all air travellers upon arrival in England. If self-isolation after entering the country is necessary, keeping to these dates would not be possible. The organizers have pointed out that this would have a significant impact on tens of thousands of jobs linked to the sport. Seven of the ten Formula 1 teams are based in Great Britain.
Following cancellation or postponement of the first ten races, Formula 1 is now planning to resume the season in Austria in early July. The first two races in Spielberg will also be held without spectators due to the coronavirus crisis.

12:43 Vatican Museums to reopen

The world-famous Vatican Museums will reopen their doors on 1 June following the coronavirus lockdown. Visitors will be required to wear face masks, comply with social distancing rules, and have their temperature checked on entry, the museums announced on Saturday in Rome. Tickets must be booked in advance.
The museum in Vatican City showcases, among others, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms and countless sculptures and paintings from the time of antiquity. It was closed on 8 March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican has been open again since 18 May.

11:46 France: Travellers from Spain and Great Britain must go into quarantine

France has imposed a 14-day quarantine for travellers from Great Britain and Spain. This is the French government's response to the quarantine obligation declared by both countries to contain the coronavirus pandemic. The domestic isolation applies to travellers from European countries whose authorities decided in an uncoordinated manner to impose a 14-day measure on travellers entering their territory from European countries, announced the Parisian Ministry of the Interior. Spain and Great Britain had previously imposed entry restrictions.

11:29 Waigel calls for CO2 tax to help overcome the crisis

Former German Finance Minister Theo Waigel has proposed a European CO2 tax to finance the consequences of the corona virus pandemic. In an interview with the rbb, the former head of the CSU said that this way one could "combine a reconstruction program with climate goals and nature conservation". A CO2 tax for the whole of Europe would be "more sensible than acting and negotiating for gross and net contributions and possible rebates", he said.

11:17 Thuringia plans to lift restrictions in early June

The state of Thuringia plans to end the general coronavirus restrictions in early June. They will only be replaced by local measures if a certain infection rate is exceeded in a region. A limit of 35 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within one week is under discussion. "As of June 6, I would like to lift the general lockdown and replace it with a package of measures that focuses on local empowerment," Minister President Bodo Ramelow (Left) told the newspapers of the Media Group Thuringia. According to a government spokeswoman, the details are to be discussed at the next cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

11:12 Grütters: "Culture is not a luxury but a necessity of life

Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters has called for the preservation of the cultural infrastructure in Germany even after the coronavirus crisis. "I very much hope that at the end of the crisis, even if greater economic damage may become apparent, the federal states and municipalities will not allow their cultural institutions to become a breaking point in their budget consolidations," the CDU politician told the newspaper "Rheinische Post". Culture is not a luxury, but a necessity of life, an expression of humanity, and indispensable for a vibrant democracy. Public money for the cultural landscape is "an investment in the future", the Minister of State emphasized. She is working together with the Ministry of Finance on an aid and rescue package for the arts. The aim is to preserve the "large, dense network as a whole". We must prevent that in the end the "artists have survived, but their places of work and activity have disappeared". On Wednesday, Grütters and the Conference of Ministers of Culture of the States presented key points for the further opening of cultural institutions and activities. The Federal Government is providing 20 million euros for the "Neustart" emergency aid program for small and medium-sized cultural institutions.

11:04 Deutsche Bank asks managers to waive salary during the crisis

The German Federal Bank has asked some of its managers to voluntarily waive one month's salary. "This is a voluntary measure in keeping with the entrepreneurial spirit and discipline with which we run our company," said Group spokesman Jörg Eigendorf. Some of the bank's senior executives have already agreed to voluntarily waive their monthly salary. Now they want to give a larger group of managers the opportunity to be part of this initiative, Eigendorf continued. The Deutsche Bank continues to push ahead with the Group restructuring initiated in 2019 despite the Corona crisis. The voluntary salary waiver is part of the cost reductions, a Group spokesperson said.

10:59 China intends to further restrict international flights

China will continue to severely restrict international flights at least until October. This was reported by the Chinese media. Since the end of March, a "five-one rule" has been in effect, which allows only one flight per week per airline on a route to a country. This rule is now to be extended into the autumn. According to reports, airlines must have their flight plans approved two months in advance before they are allowed to sell tickets. Fearing that the virus could be introduced from other countries, China wants to limit not only the number of tourists but also, and above all, the number of returning Chinese.

10:41 "Thrifty Four" present alternative draft to Merkel-Makron paper

Austria, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands have submitted a counter-proposal to the Franco-German initiative for a corona recovery plan. The four countries argue in favor of a one-off, two-year emergency fund to strengthen the EU economy. The EU Commission should raise the money for the fund on the financial markets and pass it on to the member states as cheap loans. The money would have to be used for reconstruction and the future resilience of the health sector and the economy. A maximum amount for the emergency aid fund is not mentioned.

10:33 Easing restrictions in the USA: Los Angeles goes its own way

The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, has rejected a warning from President Donald Trump's administration that the coronavirus restrictions imposed in his city may be illegal. "We are not letting politics guide us in this matter, but science," Garcetti said at a press conference. Los Angeles has been slower than other parts of California in lifting restrictions. More than 43,000 coronavirus infections and more than 2,000 deaths have been recorded in the densely populated city - well over half of all deaths in the state. Most recently, statements from Los Angeles that the restrictions could continue for another three months caused outrage in Washington. The US Department of Justice wrote a letter stating, among other things, that the US Constitution and California law prohibit "arbitrary and unreasonable actions". Trump advocates further opening of the US economy in view of his potential re-election in November. The restrictions in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic are currently causing massive job losses in the US.

10:24 Cardinal Marx strongly condemns appeals against coronavirus measures

Munich's Archbishop Reinhard Marx has strongly condemned the appeal of right-wing conservative Catholic clergy against the coronavirus measures. The appeal, signed by the former prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, among others, "has left me amazed and also stunned," Cardinal Marx told "Der Spiegel". In the text, published at the beginning of May, it assumes a global conspiracy with the goal of permanently restricting personal liberties. "These anti-liberal measures are the disturbing prelude to the creation of a world government that is beyond all control," it said. Marx explained that the appeal is divisive and frightening. He personally adheres to what the politicians in the corona crisis claim after intensive consultation, the former chairman of the Catholic German Bishops' Conference stressed. "I don't know from which competence the church should debate what is sensible and what is not sensible in a pandemic."

10:21 Merkel: Corona an " imposition on our democracy

On the occasion of today's Constitutional Law Day, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke about constitutional restrictions in the coronavirus crisis. "This virus is an imposition on our democracy. That's why we of course have a hard time with the restrictions on fundamental rights, and that's why they should be as short as possible. But they were necessary." In her podcast, the Chancellor says that right now, "it is essential to respect the principles of constitutional law. Article 1 is particularly important: "Human dignity is inviolable." This includes preventing our health system from being overtaxed: "Fortunately, we have succeeded in this." In easing the restrictions, the proportionality of the restrictions must be maintained, and reasons must be given again and again "as to why we have not yet abolished one thing yet we have eased something else". She is very pleased "that the current infection level allows many things to be permitted and made possible again that were only partially allowed for a many weeks," emphasised the Chancellor.

09:58 Report: Demand for state financial aid increases

According to a report, the demand for state financial support during the coronavirus crisis has increased significantly. The Funke Mediengruppe newspapers report that 44,089 applications for loan programs have already been received by the state development bank KfW, citing documents from the Federal Ministry of Finance. According to the report, the application volume now totals 42.3 billion euros. The federal government launched several aid and support programs during the coronavirus crisis. Money is paid out - depending on the amount - as a loan or as a one-off financial grant.

09:38 Nearly ten thousand new infections in Russia

Russia has reported 9434 additional coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. The number of new infections in the country remains at a high level: Yesterday, the number of new infections was 8894. Russia has the third highest number of cases after the USA and Brazil.

Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier has spoken out against a legally established right to work from home. The CDU politician told the German Press Agency: " We need less bureaucracy first and foremost, not always new state guarantees. I am convinced that many companies will allow more home offices of their own accord, but it just doesn't fit everywhere, especially when direct contact with customers and employees is necessary". Altmaier said he had full confidence in employees, employers, and works councils that the right solutions would be found locally. "Government manipulation is wrong." Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) had announced that he wanted to establish the legal right to work from home and present a new law on this issue by autumn.

08:54 NBA legend Patrick Ewing in hospital with Covid-19

NBA legend Patrick Ewing has become ill with Covid-19. According to the former basketball pro, he has been infected with the coronavirus. "This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly," the 57-year-old wrote on Twitter. The long-time center of the New York Knicks, who also played for the Seattle Supersonics and Orlando Magic, is currently in isolation in a hospital near Washington, according to Georgetown University. The two-time Olympic champion coaches the college team Georgetown Hoyas there. Ewing is the only one in the basketball program who has tested positive so far, the university said. "I'm fine and we're all going to get through this," Ewing said. "I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of themselves and their loved ones."

08:00 Here's what happened last night

  • CoViD-19 numbers for Germany: Robert Koch Institute reports 638 new cases of CoViD-19 (177,850 total) and 42 new deaths (8,216 total) due to the virus
  • TUI wants to fly tourists to Mallorca in June
  • Minister of State for Migration, Refugees and Integration: More racist attacks since Corona
  • Brazil with the second most infections worldwide
  • China reports no new Corona cases for the first time