Coronavirus: Latest updates

Survey: Majority in favour of normal school and kindergarten operation after the holidays +++ Here you find the most important news about the spread of the lung disease in Germany.

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June 4th, 2020: Survey: Majority in favour of normal school and kindergarten operation after the holidays

Mainz (dpa) - According to a survey, the majority of German citizens are in favour of the complete opening of schools and day care centres after the summer holidays. 58 percent of those questioned in the survey conducted by the opinion research institute Infratest dimap spoke out in favour of a complete opening of schools and daycare centres in Germany after the summer holidays, according to the SWR, which commissioned the survey in Mainz on Wednesday. Around a third of those questioned (34 percent), on the other hand, said that day-care and school operations should continue to be only partial.

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Everything you need to know about the corona crisis in Germany and the measures being taken against the spread of the virus:
www.deutschland.de/en/corona-virus-germany-overview

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June 4th, 2020:

June 3rd, 2020:

June 3rd, 2020: Fewer and fewer corona patients in intensive care units

Berlin (dpa) - The number of corona patients undergoing intensive medical treatment has decreased significantly in Germany over the past few weeks. According to the DIVI intensive care register, as of Tuesday 689 people suffering from Covid-19 were cared for in intensive care units, about half of them were ventilated. In mid-April, the number of patients had at times been more than 2900. The number of new infections remains at a comparatively low level. The health authorities in Germany reported 213 corona infections to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) within one day.

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June 2nd, 2020: Survey: majority in favour of masks and vaccinations

Berlin (dpa) - A clear majority of people in Germany are in favour of compulsory masks. 49 percent say the requirement should be maintained in its current form. 13 per cent of the participants in a representative online survey by the opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of the German Press Agency pleaded for an extension to other areas. According to the survey, every second German would be vaccinated against the coronavirus if a vaccine were available. One in four would perhaps do so. One in five of the 2056 people questioned refused to be vaccinated.

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June 2nd, 2020:

June 1st, 2020: Code of the Corona warning app made public

Berlin (dpa) - The developers of the Corona warning app by the German government have disclosed the complete program code of the eagerly awaited application. "Over Pentecost we published all remaining, not yet published source codes for the app on the developer platform GitHub", explained spokespersons of Deutsche Telekom and SAP AG. This means that all the codes for the complete app are now available to the expert community.


The two companies are thus keeping their promise to develop the tracing app as transparently as possible. In the open source project, more than 65,000 voluntary software experts have so far looked at the source codes already published and made their own suggestions for improvements. "This commitment is outstanding and a clear testimony to a vibrant software engineering culture in Germany," the declaration says.

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May 31st, 2020: Economic stimulus package worth billions planned

Berlin (dpa) - The German government wants to help the recession-stricken economy in the Corona crisis back on its feet with an economic stimulus package worth billions. The volume could be in the region of 75 to 80 billion euros, the newspaper "Bild am Sonntag" reports, citing government circles as a reason. However, the details are controversial. Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) is pushing for three measures in particular: the extension of the short-time work allowance from one to two years, a one-time family bonus of 300 euros per child, and a rescue package for the municipalities with reimbursement of old debts and compensation for the collapsed trade tax revenues. So far, the pandemic has cost the state 287.5 billion euros, according to a calculation by the Institute of the German Economy (IW).

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May 30th, 2020: Many want to do without summer holidays

Berlin (dpa) - According to the ZDF political barometer, more than a third of people in Germany do not want to go on holiday this year. Against the background of the Corona crisis, 37 percent of those surveyed said they did not want to go on holiday. Slightly less than a third (31 percent) would like to go on holiday but want to spend it in Germany. Only just over one in ten (13 percent) is planning a summer holiday in another European country. 18 percent are still undecided.

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May 29th, 2020: Survey: Large majority thinks corona measures are right

Cologne (dpa) - According to a representative survey, almost three quarters of Germans (74 percent) retrospectively assess the measures adopted in March to contain the coronavirus as correct. For 15 per cent of those questioned, they went too far, according to a survey by the opinion research institute Infratest dimap commissioned by Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR). For nine percent of those surveyed, the measures did not go far enough. According to the data, 58 percent of Germans consider the relaxation of the corona restrictions to be correct. One in four (25 percent), however, stated that the relaxation of the restrictions went too far. For 15 percent they did not go far enough.

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Everything you need to know about the corona crisis in Germany and the measures being taken against the spread of the virus:
www.deutschland.de/en/corona-virus-germany-overview

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May 28th, 2020: Strong economic upswing in 2021

Munich (dpa) - The Ifo Institute expects German economic output to slump by 6.6 percent in 2020. This is what the Munich economists predict in their economic forecast updated on Thursday. In 2021 the economy could then grow by 10.2 percent from a low level. The Ifo researchers therefore expect this year's slump to be much more severe than during the financial crisis in 2009, when economic output shrank by 5.7 percent.

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May 27th, 2020: Federal and state governments extend contact restrictions until mid-year

Berlin (dpa) - Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all people in Germany must continue to exercise great restraint in meeting outdoors at least until the middle of the year. The contact restrictions will be extended until June 29th, as agreed upon by the federal and state governments on Tuesday evening. As early as 6 June, however, the states may allow further relaxation - for example, that in future a maximum of ten people or members of two households may meet in public.

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May 26th, 2020:

May 26th, 2020: Economics Minister Altmaier defends Lufthansa rescue package

Berlin (dpa) - Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier has defended the rescue package for Lufthansa against criticism that the state should have secured a greater say for the airline in return for aid of over nine billion euros. The CDU politician said that the package could secure far more than 100,000 jobs. In addition, an important company would be preserved, which is globally active and plays an "outstanding role" for the competitiveness of the German economy.  The EU Commission and the Lufthansa supervisory board still have to approve the agreement between the company and the federal government. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) announced a "hard fight" in the CDU presidium, because Brussels would only approve the billion-euro rescue under strict conditions.

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May 25th, 2020: Significantly fewer participants in demos against Corona rules

Berlin (dpa) - In numerous German cities, people again demonstrated at the weekend against the restrictions imposed in the Corona pandemic. However, in most cases there were significantly fewer participants than expected. In Berlin, the meetings were scattered over various locations, mostly in small groups - the big rush failed to materialise. In Hamburg, around 750 people attended an event entitled "A vigil for the Basic Law". In Cologne (photo) about 250 demonstrators gathered in a human chain. The demonstration against the Corona policy, which had been widely announced in Munich, literally fell through. Shortly before the official start of the rally on Munich's Theresienwiese, a thunderstorm swept over the grounds, so that the organizers decided to cancel their protest action.

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May 24th, 2020: Holiday trips soon possible again

Berlin (dpa) - The Corona hotspot Spain wants to open its borders to foreign tourists in July. "From July, the reception of foreign tourists will be resumed under safe conditions," said Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Saturday. Shortly before the announcement from Spain, Tui chairman Fritz Joussen had said that he wanted to start air traffic to Mallorca as early as June. The Balearic government had previously taken the initiative for a pilot project with Tui. "As soon as the green light is given, we will be ready for take-off," he said, referring to the latest announcement from Madrid. Tui also wants to bring travellers to other countries again soon. Austria, Greece, Cyprus, Croatia and Bulgaria are very well prepared, the Tui boss told the Düsseldorf-based "Rheinische Post" newspaper. Talks are currently being held with Turkey. Recently, there had been first progress in the consultations within the European Union to reduce travel restrictions before the summer holidays. After video conferences with the Germans' neighbours and holiday countries, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) said he was confident that the worldwide travel warning could be lifted after June 14, at least for the EU.

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May 23rd, 2020: Thuringia wants to end corona restrictions

Erfurt (dpa) - The state of Thuringia wants to end the general corona restrictions at the beginning of June. This would make state-wide regulations on minimum distances, the wearing of mouth and nose protectors, and contact restrictions a thing of the past. They will be replaced by local measures only 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.

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May 22nd, 2020: German government and Lufthansa facing a solution?  

Berlin (dpa) - Negotiations between the German government and Lufthansa on a billion-euro rescue package are continuing. It is expected that the relevant committee of the Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF) will meet on Friday to make Lufthansa an official offer of support measures for the ailing airline. Lufthansa's committees will then have to consider and decide on the matter. The EU Commission must also give its approval.

The German government and companies had made it clear that they expected a decision to be reached shortly. A federal rescue plan provides for taxpayers' money totalling nine billion euros to help Lufthansa through the severe crisis. The federal government wants to take a direct 20 percent stake in the airline. This would be under the so-called blocking minority, which could block important decisions. Some questions about the rescue plan are still open, however.

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May 21st, 2020: Government wants to protect vaccine manufacturers from takeovers

Berlin (dpa) - The German government wants to better protect German companies that produce drugs and vaccines from takeovers by investors from outside the EU. To this end, the Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance will be tightened. This will allow the government to take earlier and more precise action in planned takeovers of companies in the health sector. Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier (CDU) said in Berlin: "The current crisis shows how important medical know-how and own production capacities in Germany and Europe can be in crisis situations."

Maas calls for distance to extremists at anti-corona demonstrations

Berlin (dpa) - Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) has warned citizens not to allow themselves to be used by extremists at demonstrations against the Corona conditions. "If radical extremists and anti-Semites come to demonstrations to riot and divide, then everyone should keep well over 1.5 metres distance", Maas told the newspaper "Welt". "Anyone who shouts conspiracy theories into the world without a mask, without a minimum distance and without any consideration for others is confusing courage with blind rage and freedom with sheer selfishness."

Merkel warns against "high price" of economic foreclosure

Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned against economic isolation in the Corona crisis. "The answer to the pandemic can certainly not be to renationalize all international supply chains now," the CDU politician said in Berlin on Wednesday. "Then everyone would pay a very high price." She made her statement after a video conference with the chairpersons of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank.

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May 20th, 2020: Berlin Tegel Airport may close in June

Berlin (dpa) - In the corona crisis, the most important airport in the German capital is likely to go off the grid: Berlin's Tegel Airport can be temporarily shut down on June 15. This was decided by the federal government and the states of Berlin and Brandenburg at a shareholders' meeting on Wednesday, according to a spokeswoman for the Berlin Senate Department of Finance. The corresponding application has already been filed with the aviation authorities. If passenger numbers do not recover significantly in the coming weeks, the airport will go into a two-month break. Most recently, only about 2000 passengers per day flew at the Berlin airports Tegel and Schoenefeld. Schoenefeld Airport on the south-eastern city border in Brandenburg will remain in operation.

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May 19th, 2020: Car registrations in the EU fall to a quarter

Brussels (dpa) - The Corona pandemic has caused a drastic slump in car sales. In the European Union (EU) alone, only 270,682 new passenger cars were registered in April, 76.3 per cent fewer than in the same month last year, according to the responsible industry association Acea, which was announced in Brussels on Tuesday. According to the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) the declines were particularly dramatic in Italy, Spain and the UK, which is no longer part of the EU. With declines of between 97 and 98 per cent, sales in these countries came "almost to a complete standstill" in April.

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May 19th, 2020:

May 18th, 2020:

May 18th, 2020: Foreign Minister Maas: Holiday that feels like a holiday

Berlin (dpa) - Before consulting with colleagues from popular holiday destinations, Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas damps expectations. "This year's holiday will not be like the one we know from the past," Maas said on Monday on ZDF's "Morgenmagazin". The Corona pandemic had not yet been overcome, he said, and security precautions had to be taken in case the number of infections rose again. However, he very much hopes that summer holidays in other European countries will be possible and that they will then "feel like holidays". At noon, Maas wants to discuss with his colleagues from popular holiday destinations of the Germans how the travel restrictions due to the corona pandemic can be gradually eased. Spain, Italy, Austria, Greece, Croatia, Portugal, Malta, Slovenia, Cyprus and Bulgaria are invited to the video conference. Among other things, the ministers want to discuss entry regulations, quarantine regulations and cooperation between health authorities, said Maas. The aim was to turn the worldwide travel warning currently in force in Germany into just a travel warning. This would allow citizens to judge for themselves whether and where they want to travel.

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May 17th, 2020: Bundesliga launched

Berlin (dpa) - After weeks of debates, the German Football League has made its return. For a new start, "ghost games" took place in ten stadiums in front of empty ranks in the 1st and 2nd division on Saturday. Almost everywhere, the players adhered to the German Football League's guidelines for restarting matches, and strict observers recorded only minor violations of the hygiene rules. Coaches, stewards and media representatives with masks, a lot of distance on the substitutes' benches and often only muffled cheering with fist contact - this is the new reality.

The fans could only follow the action on television. The crowds of fans around the arenas feared by the police and some politicians did not materialise, even at the "Revierderby": Dortmund won the match at home against Schalke, which normally draws more than 80,000 people into the stadium, 4-0.

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Everything you need to know about the corona crisis in Germany and the measures being taken against the spread of the virus:
www.deutschland.de/en/corona-virus-germany-overview

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May 16, 2020: Slow return to the city centres

Berlin/Cologne (dpa) - Even though almost all retailers and many restaurateurs in Germany have now reopened, life is only slowly returning to the city centres. "Customers are rather reluctant to shop these days," said Stefan Genth, General Manager of the German Retail Federation (HDE), to the German Press Agency.

This assessment is supported by figures from Hystreet, a company specialising in measuring customer frequency in city centres. According to these figures, the number of visitors in important shopping streets in Munich, Hamburg, Cologne, Leipzig and Stuttgart this week was still well below the normal level before Corona. Hamburg's Spitalerstrasse was still the busiest, with 53 percent of "normal" pedestrian frequency between Monday and Thursday. By comparison, the Neuhauser Strasse in Munich, which is otherwise very popular, especially with tourists, was only 42 percent.

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Everything you need to know about the corona crisis in Germany and the measures being taken against the spread of the virus:
www.deutschland.de/en/corona-virus-germany-overview

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May 15th, 2020: Entry quarantine is relaxed

Berlin (dpa) - In the next few days, the federal states want to lift their general quarantine rules for travellers from neighbouring countries introduced because of the corona pandemic. The Federal Ministry of the Interior is currently working on a new model regulation for the states, the ministry said on Friday. The states had agreed to it on Thursday after consultation with the Chancellor's Office.  At present, many German states require that anyone entering Germany from a neighboring European country must go into quarantine for 14 days.

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Everything you need to know about the corona crisis in Germany and the measures being taken against the spread of the virus:
www.deutschland.de/en/corona-virus-germany-overview

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May 15th, 2020:

May 14th, 2020: Tax estimators present forecast

Berlin (dpa) - Federal, state and local authorities have to get by with considerably less tax money because of the corona pandemic. How bad it will be, tax estimators predict on Thursday. Government revenues are expected to fall significantly for the first time since the financial crisis in 2009 - possibly even more drastically than then. According to reports, the federal, state and local governments could collect about 100 billion euros less this year than predicted in the previous estimate in November.

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May 13th, 2020:

May 13th, 2020: EU Commission: Open borders carefully

Brussels (dpa) - A cautious opening of the internal borders in Europe should make summer holidays possible despite the corona crisis, according to recommendations of the EU Commission. A flexible plan is proposed with the aim of gradually lifting controls, according to a paper the authority plans to present.

Due to the development of the infection situation so far, Germanys Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer has decided to adjust the border regime at the end of this week as follows

At the borders with France, Austria and Switzerland he will order an extension of the temporary internal border controls from 16 May 2020 until 15 June 2020. The same applies to the airside borders with Italy and Spain.

However, there will be some relaxation in the practical organisation of land border controls. In future, controls will no longer be systematic, but flexible and risk-based.

The principle of a valid reason for entry will be retained, but there will be additional facilities for travel for family or personal reasons.

At the border with Luxembourg, internal border controls will end at the end of 15 May 2020.

At the border with Denmark, the Federal Minister of the Interior is also prepared to terminate border controls. The date will be fixed jointly with Denmark.

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May 13th, 2020:

May 12th, 2020:

May 12th, 2020: Corona reserve hospital in Berlin completed

Berlin (dpa) - A corona reserve hospital was built on the Berlin exhibition grounds within a few weeks. Initially around 500 infected and Covid-19 patients could be isolated and treated, should the Berlin hospitals reach their limits during the pandemic. "Because the pictures from Italy, Spain and New York have shown us that well-positioned hospital systems can be overloaded," said Health Senator Dilek Kalayci at the official opening of the new treatment center on Monday. In total, up to 1000 spare beds could be created there.

May 11th, 2020:

May 11th, 2020: Study on Covid drug progressing

Cologne (dpa) - A study on the drug Remdesivir to combat corona disease is making progress, according to the head of the Cologne study. The study is "in a very advanced stage", Gerd Fätkenheuer, head of infectiology at the University Hospital of Cologne, told the newspaper "Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger". He heads the German part of the study of an international consortium researching Remdesivir.

The drug is considered to be a potential agent for the treatment of severe coronavirus infections. The USA has granted an exemption for the limited use of the active ingredient in hospitals. A clinical study had previously shown that it can shorten the time to recovery by several days in Covid patients. In Germany, the drug is accessible within a drug hardship programme confirmed by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) and is being tested in clinical trials.

Remdesivir was originally developed for the treatment of Ebola. To date, there is no vaccination against the novel coronavirus and no reliable approved drug therapy.

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Everything you need to know about the corona crisis in Germany and the measures being taken against the spread of the virus:
www.deutschland.de/en/corona-virus-germany-overview

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May 10th, 2020: Chancellor Merkel wants to help culture

Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has assured the cultural industry of further support in view of the weeks of forced hiatus due to the Corona crisis. The goal is that the broad and diverse cultural landscape can continue to exist even after the pandemic has been overcome, she said in her weekly video message distributed on Saturday. Concepts should now be developed how hygiene and safety regulations could also open up theatres, concert halls, operas and other cultural venues. There are calls from the Bundestag and the industry for quick further help. "I know what we are missing and how many citizens are waiting to finally be able to experience your cultural offerings live again," Merkel said to the cultural scene. "Until then, we will try to support you as best we can through our aid programmes - but also by saying how important you are to us.

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May 9th, 2020: "Emergency brake" has already been applied in some districts

Berlin (dpa) - In the relaxation phase of the corona requirements, the authorities in three federal states have already had to pull the "emergency brake" because infection rates were too high. In three districts in Thuringia, North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein, the critical value of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days was exceeded. Many people were infected in a slaughterhouse in the Münsterland region. Several planned easing measures in the affected district were postponed. However, the vast majority of German districts are far from the agreed limit.

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May 8th, 2020: China's ambassador: Open to search for Corona origin

Berlin (dpa) - According to its ambassador in Berlin, Wu Ken, China is open to an international investigation into the origin of the corona virus Sars-CoV-2: "We support research exchange among scientists," Wu told the magazine "Der Spiegel". Chinese and US scientists have already worked together on projects to trace the virus. Wu rejected accusations that China had initially covered up the outbreak of the epidemic, but admitted to communication deficits.

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May 8th, 2020:

May 7th, 2020:

May 7th, 2020: Bundesliga before the restart

Berlin (dpa) - The federal and state governments have granted permission for a resumption of matches without spectators in the Bundesliga from the second half of May onwards. This was agreed to by Chancellor Angela Merkel and the state premiers during their meeting on Wednesday. This means that the German Soccer League, as the umbrella organization of the 36 professional clubs of the 1st and 2nd leagues, will receive the long hoped-for permission for ghost games. According to a report in the newspaper "Bild", the DFL has set the date at 16 May.

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May 6th, 2020: Forecast: EU faces historic recession

Brussels (dpa) - According to the EU spring forecast, the eurozone economy could shrink by 7.7 percent this year due to the corona crisis and not fully recover next year either. When presenting its forecast in Brussels on Wednesday, the EU Commission spoke of a recession of historic proportions. "Europe is experiencing an economic shock the likes of which have not been seen since the Great Depression," said Paolo Gentiloni, European Commissioner for Economic Affairs.

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May 6th, 2020:

May 5th, 2020:

May 5th, 2020: Germany gives 525 million euros for vaccine development

Berlin (dpa) - Germany intends to provide 525 million euros for international cooperation in the development of vaccines and drugs against the coronavirus. This was said by Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday at an online donor conference hosted by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Merkel said that the pandemic was a global challenge that could only be defeated with worldwide cooperation. She criticized that during this time not everyone was ready for multilateral cooperation. "It is an hour of hope," Merkel said. And: "Germany will play an active role."

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Mai 4th, 2020:

May 4th, 2020: Global Alliance for Corona Vaccine starts with donor conference

Brussels (dpa) - In the fight against the coronavirus, a global alliance wants to raise at least 7.5 billion euros in start-up funding for vaccines, drugs and tests this Monday. The aim is to bring the antidotes to the market as quickly as possible and then make them available worldwide at low cost. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also scheduled to speak at an online conference organized by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Merkel has already promised a "significant financial contribution" from Germany. According to the EU Commission, more than 70 possible vaccines are currently being researched worldwide. At least three are now being clinically tested.

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May 3rd, 2020: Merkel calls for cooperation on corona vaccine

Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel is also counting on more speed in the development of a vaccine to overcome the corona crisis. In her weekly video address published on Saturday, the German head of government called for more international cooperation against the pandemic. "We know that it is causing severe damage everywhere, including to our economic, social and societal life. That is why we must work hard and with great concentration to contain and then defeat this virus by developing a vaccine," she said. At a donor conference on 4 May, to which the EU Commission had invited, Germany would make a "substantial financial contribution". An estimated eight billion euros are missing for the development of a vaccine.

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May 2nd, 2020: Saxony-Anhalt first federal state to ease contact restrictions

Magdeburg (dpa) - Saxony-Anhalt eases the contact restrictions that have been in force for six weeks. From Monday on, five people are allowed to travel together, even if they do not live in the same household, as the state government decided on Saturday. Previously, only one person or more members of one's own household were allowed to accompany them. The reason for the relaxation are the comparatively low infection rates in Saxony-Anhalt.

The federal government had announced after a conference of federal and state governments on Thursday that the tough contact restrictions should be maintained.

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May 1st, 2020: Demos for "Labour Day": Protest only digital

Berlin (dpa) - More than ten million workers in short-time work, and the worst economic consequences of the Corona crisis are probably yet to come: With a protest organised mainly on the Internet, trade unions warned on 1 May of cuts at the expense of employees. #SolidarityNot alone was the motto under which the German Trade Union Federation (DGB) celebrated "Labour Day" in a completely digital way with music and video switching - even over the roofs of Berlin. 

Only a few DGB representatives protested on Friday morning with a large banner in front of the Brandenburg Gate. The police announced that they would consistently try to break up possible demonstrations and crowds on May 1st. Berlin's Senator of the Interior Andreas Geisel announced that the day would be dedicated to infection control. Political gatherings and gatherings of more than 20 people even with intervals are currently not allowed due to corona restrictions.

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April 30, 2020: Federal government wants to reopen playgrounds. Contact restrictions will be extended

Berlin (dpa) - After weeks of closure due to the Corona pandemic, the German government wants children to be allowed to play in the playgrounds again soon. Larger opening steps - such as for schools, daycare centers and club sports - are not to be decided until May 6. This is the result of a draft resolution presented by the federal government for the consultations of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) with the heads of state governments, which began on Thursday afternoon. According to the head of the Chancellor's Office, Helge Braun, the contact restrictions in effect until May 3 will "certainly" be extended until May 10.

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April 29, 2020:

April 29, 2020: German government extends travel warning until 14 June

Berlin (dpa) - The German government has extended the worldwide travel warning for tourists due to the coronavirus pandemic until at least June 14. A corresponding proposal by the Foreign Office was accepted by the Federal Cabinet on Wednesday.

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April 28, 2020: Ifo-Institut: Economy back to pre-corona level at the end of 2021

Munich (dpa) - According to the Ifo Institute, the German economy is unlikely to return to pre-crisis levels before the end of next year. "We will not return to pre-corona levels until the end of 2021," said Timo Wollmershäuser, head of Ifo economic research, on Tuesday. However, the individual sectors are likely to recover at different rates once the restrictions have been removed. According to an evaluation of a company survey by the Ifo Institute, economic output is likely to have fallen by 1.9 percent in the first quarter and then slumped by 12.2 percent in the second. Overall, economic output is likely to fall by 6.2 percent this year.

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April 27, 2020:

April 27, 2020: Berliner Philharmoniker play Europe Concert with a small orchestra

Berlin (dpa) - The traditional European concert of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra on May 1 is to take place despite the corona pandemic. However, the orchestra will play in a small formation. The concert from the Berlin Philharmonic will open with a greeting from Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as the orchestra announced on Monday. The program, conducted by chief conductor Kirill Petrenko, will include Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 4 in an arrangement for chamber orchestra. Due to the rules of spacing and hygiene requirements, the Philharmonic Orchestra has adapted the programme to a chamber music instrumentation. Since 1991, the Philharmonic Orchestra has been playing at a special historical location for its birthday on May 1. This year, the concert was planned before a European tour in Tel Aviv and as part of the German President's state visit to Israel. Due to the pandemic, the visit was postponed and the tour cancelled.

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April 26, 2020: Merkel on EU Presidency: Climate as well as health on the Agenda

Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel has countered fears that in the Corona crisis climate change could be pushed off the EU agenda. Because of the pandemic, Germany's EU Council Presidency will "take a different course than we had planned", the German head of government said in her podcast. Climate issues would be "just as much on the agenda as health issues". It was important to see that something was being done for "Europe's economic revitalisation" and social cohesion, said the Chancellor, and "that we are thinking about the future - and that is the climate and environmental issues". On 1 July Germany will take over the EU Council Presidency for the first time in 13 years. The main topics should actually be climate protection and digitalisation, the brexite and the EU's medium-term financial planning.

 

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April 25, 2020:  Africa: Solidarity in the fight against Covid‑19

Berlin (Federal Foreign Office) - Germany is taking rapid and targeted action in numerous African countries in an effort of solidarity. Germany’s approach comprises, on the one hand, support for global and multilateral action, such as the development of vaccines and medicines, and on the other, projects carried out together with African partners at the local level, close to the people they serve. In many locations, existing projects can be adapted to meet the needs of the new situation, allowing assistance to be provided quickly and directly. Just a few examples:

  • GIZ and the Malawi Red Cross Society are working together to set up isolation wards for Covid‑19 patients in Malawian hospitals.
  • In Benin, three German experts from a rapid-response team are currently training Beninese laboratory staff. Medical equipment for the central laboratory in the capital Cotonou has also been made available.
  • In Ghana, the Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine is receiving support in modernising its facilities and procuring medical consumables and reagents in order to increase testing capacities.

The Federal Government is also committed to humanitarian aid and has already provided 363 million euro for humanitarian aid measures in Africa for 2020. 

More information

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April 24, 2020:

April 24, 2020: Merkel: Decisions on relaxation of corona requirements not until May 6th

Berlin (dpa) - According to Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), the federal and state governments will probably not decide on further relaxation of corona-related restrictions until May 6th. Merkel said after the EU summit in Berlin, that the effects of the opening of stores could only be estimated 14 days later. Other loosening would come into effect even later. So far it had been expected that decisions on further steps could be made as early as the end of April.

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EU plans trillion-euro program against Corona economic crisis

Berlin/Brussels (dpa) - On Thursday evening the heads of government of the states of the European Union approved a 500 billion aid package already agreed upon and the establishment of a reconstruction fund through which another 1000 billion euros in aid could be spent. German EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen will work out a model by mid-May. German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her "No" to a joint debt. She said, however, that Germany would pay more into the EU budget - most recently it was 13.4 billion euros more than Germany got back through EU programs.

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April 23, 2020:

April 23, 2020:

April 23, 2020: Merkel hires citizens for a long period of corona restrictions

Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has prepared citizens for the fact that the restrictions in the Corona crisis will continue for a long time to come. "I understand that this life under corona conditions has been happening to everyone for a very, very long time," said Merkel on Thursday in her first government statement on the corona pandemic in the Bundestag. Nobody likes to hear it, but it is the truth: "We are not living in the final phase of the pandemic, but still at its beginning. We will have to live with this virus for a long time to come."

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April 22, 2020:

April 22, 2020: Germany willing to boost EU budget share in Covid pandemic

Brussels (dpa) - Germany is prepared to significantly increase its contribution to the European Union's next long-term budget, Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth said on Wednesday, ahead of talks with his EU Counterparts. The European Commission is touting the bloc's next seven-year budget framework as a key to rebuilding Europe's economy, which is being ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic. Berlin is "ready to make significantly more funding available," Roth said, noting that this was a pledge already made by Chancellor Angela Merkel. The issue is expected to feature at a videoconference of EU leaders on Thursday, which the bloc's European affairs ministers were preparing. Roth stressed the need to show solidarity, noting that European states can expect Germany to make a "special effort."

 

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April 21, 2020: RKI: No return to normality without vaccine

Berlin (dpa) - The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) appealed to the German population on Tuesday to continue to comply with the anti-corona recommendations. "The virus is not gone," RKI Vice President Lars Schaade said in Berlin on Tuesday. Without a vaccine there would be no return to normality, he said. The situation was still serious, Schaade said, even though some progress had been made in Germany in the fight against the virus. Schaade called on people to continue to follow the recommendations: For example, staying at home as much as possible, keeping a distance of at least 1.5 metres, sneezing or coughing in the crook of one's arm, and additionally wearing a mask over mouth and nose, for example in shops or on public Transport.

 

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April 21, 2020:

April 20, 2020:

April 20, 2020: Merkel criticizes "opening discussion orgies" - risk of relapse increased

Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has criticised the discussions on further relaxation of restrictions in the fight against the corona virus in an exceptionally harsh manner. On Monday, Merkel made it clear in a switching conference of the CDU presidium how dissatisfied she was that the message of cautious loosening had led to "opening discussion orgies" in some countries. This, she said, greatly increased the risk of a relapse.

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April 19, 2020: Federal Minister of Finance wants to help hotel and restaurant industry

Berlin (dpa) - Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz (SPD) has promised financial support to hoteliers and restaurant operators who are particularly affected by the ongoing closure in the Corona pandemic. "Of course we are looking closely at whether and where we need further assistance. We are particularly focusing on those sectors which cannot start again quickly. The hotel and restaurant industry is certainly one of them," Scholz told "Welt am Sonntag". The German Hotel and Restaurant Association (Dehoga) warned that the more than 223,000 companies in the sector will have lost around 10 billion euros in sales by the end of April. Without additional state support, every third business would face insolvency.

 

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April 18, 2020: First federal state introduces compulsory masks

Dresden (dpa) - The East German state of Saxony is the first in Germany to make masks mandatory for public transport and retail. The regulation will apply from Monday, said State Premier Michael Kretschmer (CDU) in Dresden. To cover nose and mouth, it does not have to be an expensive FFP2 mask, a simple cloth or scarf is sufficient, the head of the government emphasized. Kretschmer said that if one allows additional contacts of people in so many areas, a mask obligation is "the right answer". Starting Monday, some restrictions to contain the Corona pandemic are to be relaxed in Saxony.

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Church services to be possible again despite corona

Berlin (dpa) - Worship services are to be made possible again in Germany step by step, provided that hygiene rules are observed to protect against corona. A concept for this is to be developed in the coming days. This should then be the basis for later decisions, said a spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of the Interior after a discussion with representatives of the Catholic and Protestant Churches, the Orthodox Christians, the Central Council of Jews as well as the Coordination Council of Muslims. Saxony now wants to allow public worship services again starting Monday under certain conditions. Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, chairman of the council of the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD), said afterwards that the consensus reached was that worship services should be permitted again as soon as possible after April 30th, provided that hygienic regulations and minimum distances are observed.

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April 17, 2020:

April 17, 2020: Germany demands more aid for poorest countries

Berlin (dpa) - Before the spring meeting of the World Bank, Development Minister Gerd Müller (CSU) has called for further aid for the least developed countries in the Corona crisis. At the same time he welcomed Wednesday's decision by leading economic nations to suspend debt service for such countries. "I expect that the World Bank will also participate in the debt moratorium," said Müller before the World Bank meeting this Friday, which he will attend as German Governor at the World Bank by video.

"Global supply chains are already breaking down. Millions of people without work or income are facing nothing, which can lead to hunger, unrest and violence," Müller explained. Müller mentioned several demands: "With the debt deferral we gain precious time, but I fear that many countries need much more help. That's why I am advocating that in a second step we prepare debt relief for the poorest 47 countries, the so-called Least Developed Countries." These countries would have to commit themselves to invest the interest saved in health and social security.

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April 16, 2020: The risks of the Relaxation

Berlin (dpa) - Germany has achieved a "fragile interim success" in the fight against the pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday in the wake of the announcement of initial easing of corona measures. She made it clear that even supposedly small changes in the so-called reproduction number can have considerable consequences. The figure indicates the average number of people infected by a diseased person.
With a reproduction value of 2 - one person infected with coronavirus infects two other people on average - 500 cases would result in more than one million cases after only ten rounds of infection. Even a change from 1.1 to 1.2 can mean that intensive care reaches its capacity limits months earlier. According to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), currently about one in six infected persons (16 percent) comes to hospital because of severe symptoms.
In order for an epidemic to end naturally - i.e. without a vaccine - the reproductive value would have to remain below 1 for a long time, i.e. one infected person would have to infect less than another on average. Not only in Germany is this considered to be virtually unattainable at present - especially if the situation is progressively relaxed.

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April 16, 2020:

April 15, 2020:

April 15, 2020: School, big events, business - how it goes on

Berlin (dpa) - Schooling in Germany is to resume on 4 May, starting with the final classes, the classes that will take exams next year and the top primary school classes. The federal and state governments agreed on this on Wednesday.
An agreement was also reached during the talks with regard to major events. Due to the corona pandemic, they are to be prohibited in principle until August 31. Soccer matches are also affected. Concrete regulations, such as the size of the events, are to be made by the states.
It is also planned to open shops with a sales area of up to 800 square meters. The states can approve this under conditions regarding hygiene, access control and avoidance of queues.
The severe contact restrictions in the fight against the coronavirus, which have been in place for weeks, should in principle be extended until 3 May.

 

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April 15, 2020: Retrieval campaign to be completed

Berlin (dpa) - A good four weeks after the start of the German government's recall campaign, more than 230,000 People stranded abroad because of the Corona crisis have returned home. As the German Press Agency learned from the Federal Foreign Office, only a "medium four-digit number" of travellers now need to be flown out, most of them from South Africa, Argentina and Peru. The largest repatriation operation in the history of the Federal Republic is thus likely to be completed in a few days. After that, however, the embassies will continue to deal with individual cases.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas launched the repatriation campaign in mid-March in order to bring back travellers from countries from which there are no longer regular flights, together with tour operators and airlines. The Foreign Office has also chartered aircraft for this purpose and transported 62,000 passengers on 245 special flights. These included 5,000 EU citizens and 2,000 citizens from countries outside the European Union.

 

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April 14, 2020:

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April 14, 2020: Broad call for eco-economic stimulus package

Berlin (dpa) - After the Corona crisis the economy must recover - but please sustainably: This is what politicians, company heads, trade unions, associations and experts from all over Europe are calling for. On Tuesday they published an appeal, which has also been signed by the German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze. "After the crisis, the time of reconstruction will come," it says. The massive investments and plans for recovery at all levels should make climate protection and the preservation of ecosystems a central part of economic policy. The initiative was launched by Pascal Canfin, Chairman of the European Parliament's Environment Committee. Schulze said that the opportunity to develop a new model of prosperity was already available.

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April 13, 2020: Science Academy Leopoldina: Schools to reopen as soon as possible

Halle (dpa) - The National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina recommends that, under certain conditions, primary and lower secondary schools should be gradually re-opened as soon as possible. The scientists' statement published on Monday states, among other things, that it is a prerequisite for this, however, that infections are stabilised at a low level and that the well-known hygiene rules are observed. In addition, the experts are in favour of making masks mandatory in buses and trains, for example. According to the opinion, other parts of public life could also be gradually returned to normal under certain conditions, for example the retail trade, the hotel and restaurant industry and public authorities. However, private and business travel as well as social, cultural and sporting events could also take place again.

Chancellor Angela Merkel had described the Leopoldina study as "very important" for the further course of action. Merkel intends to hold a switching conference with the prime ministers this Wednesday (15 April) to assess the situation in the corona crisis after the Easter Holidays.

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April 13, 2020: CDU leader urges uniform procedure for corona loosening

CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is insisting on a procedure as uniform as possible for a gradual exit from the harsh corona restrictions after the Easter holidays. "It is important that we have regulations that are as uniform as possible. Everything else raises additional questions", Kramp-Karrenbauer told the German Press Agency in Berlin. There was also a firm agreement within the Minister President's Conference "to be able to present a good overall package together with the Federal Government, with which one could possibly - depending on the development of the figures over Easter - take first steps".

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April 12, 2020: Maas: German EU Council Presidency becomes Corona Presidency

Berlin (dpa) - According to Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, the fight against the corona virus will be the defining issue of the German EU Council Presidency. "We will make it a 'corona presidency' in order to overcome corona and its consequences," writes the SPD politician in a guest article for "Die Welt". "Lessons must be learned from the crisis, for example by improving EU civil protection and the joint procurement and production of vital medical supplies." He added that the EU will have to take a more proactive approach to the crisis. Maas continues: "As soon as we are out of the woods, one of the first tasks will be to gradually and in a coordinated way reduce restrictions on free travel and the internal market." Germany will take over the EU presidency in the second half of this year.

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April 11, 2020: Steinmeier asks for patience

Berlin (dpa) - At Easter, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged the citizens to be patient, disciplined and show solidarity in the Corona crisis. In a television address on Saturday, the head of state expressed optimism: "We can and we will grow even in this situation." Steinmeier said it was "good that the state is now acting forcefully - in a crisis for which there was no script." At the same time, he appealed to the people in Germany: "I ask you all to continue to have confidence in me, because the rulers at federal and state level are aware of their huge responsibility." It was the first time a German president addressed a current event in this form. Normally he only gives such speeches at Christmas every year.

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April 11, 2020: Maas advocates strengthening the WHO

Berlin (dpa) - Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has spoken out in favour of strengthening the World Health Organisation as a consequence of the Corona crisis. “The WHO plays an indispensable role in this pandemic. We must strengthen it now, support it and then position it for the future even better than before,” said Maas. “Criticism is always permissible, but it must be constructive.”

In the meantime, the UN Security Council has also addressed the crisis. Maas welcomed this: “We can only overcome this crisis together and in solidarity. To do so we need strong United Nations and a strong Security Council,” he said. The Federal Foreign Minister called on the Security Council adopt UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ call for a global ceasefire.

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April 11, 2020: Germans satisfied with management of Corona crisis

Berlin (dpa) - According to a survey, the majority of Germans are satisfied with the German government’s management of the Corona crisis. In a survey conducted by the opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of the German Press Agency (dpa), 66 percent rated the actions of the cabinet headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel during the crisis rather positively. Two weeks ago the figure was 54 percent. During this period, the percentage of dissatisfied people has dropped from 38 to 27 percent.

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will give a television address on the current situation in the Corona pandemic this weekend. This is the first time that a Federal President has addressed a current event in this form.

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April 10, 2020: New quarantine obligation – Federal police inform at the airport

Frankfurt (dpa) - The Federal Police at Frankfurt Airport have been on duty since early Friday morning to inform returning travellers about the new quarantine obligation. "As administrative assistance for the health department, we have been handing out an information sheet to all passengers entering the airport since midnight," said the spokesperson for the airport federal police, Reza Ahmari. "It says that they must go directly to domestic quarantine and report to their local health department." 


On Good Friday, several thousand travellers were affected at Germany's largest airport, 80 per cent of them in connection with the repatriation programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the future, anyone entering Germany from abroad will have to spend two weeks in domestic quarantine as protection against the coronavirus. The agreement between the federal and state governments has been in force since this Friday and will initially remain in force until 19 April. There are exceptions, for example for persons who have been abroad for less than 24 hours or for certain seasonal workers.

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April 10, 2020: EU finance ministers agree on rescue package against corona crisis

Brussels (dpa) - In the Corona crisis, the EU finance ministers have agreed on aid worth billions for endangered states, companies and jobs. This was announced by participants on Twitter late Thursday evening. The compromise was only reached after two rounds of negotiations and fierce dispute over the terms of the package, which amounts to some 500 billion euros. The controversial topic of corona bonds was initially excluded.

"Today is a great day of European solidarity and also strength," said Finance Minister Olaf Scholz after the end of the protracted negotiations in Berlin. "It's about the health of our citizens, it's about job security and it's about the fact that many companies will survive this crisis."

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April 10, 2020: Good Friday service in the drive-in cinema

Düsseldorf (dpa) - Strictly separated but still together: In a drive-in cinema several hundred Christians in Düsseldorf attended a Good Friday service despite the Corona crisis. According to the cinema operator, visitors had come in about 400 cars to the parking lot at the state capital's trade fair. They were able to follow the ecumenical celebration via car radio.

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April 10, 2020: Economy for roadmap from the Corona standstill

Berlin (dpa) - Business associations are pressing for an early end to the standstill in large parts of business life. The Federal association medium-size economy (BVMW) demands an exit strategy after Easter from the Federal Government. The German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) suggests a joint roadmap of politics and economy towards normality.
"One thing is certain, many companies are fighting for their survival," said DIHK President Eric Schweitzer on Friday with a view to the decisions to be taken by the federal and state governments after Easter on the duration and possible end of shop closures and other restrictions. "A signal as to what the start of a gradual normalisation could look like is now becoming increasingly important for the planning and existence of companies".

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April 9th, 2020: Farmers' association welcomes the entry of harvest workers

Munich (dpa) - The German Farmers' Association welcomes the entry of foreign harvest workers in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. "We are relieved: thanks to this regulation our farms will remain able to work", President Joachim Rukwied told "Bayerischer Rundfunk" on Thursday. Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) and Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) had agreed to fly 80,000 foreign seasonal workers to Germany under strict conditions. The helpers are urgently needed for the asparagus harvest, among other things. The first flights are scheduled to land in Dusseldorf and Berlin on Thursday. Although Rukwied hopes that harvest workers from Germany can also be deployed. However, the foreign seasonal workers would have more experience: "Without them it would not have been possible".

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April 8th, 2020:

April 8th, 2020:

April 8th, 2020: RKI head: "Positive trend" identifiable through corona measures

Berlin (dpa) - The President of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, has expressed confidence in the effect of the restrictions in force in Germany in the fight against the corona virus. "In any case, it is a positive trend and we are of course bringing it together with the measures," Wieler said in an interview with the radio station "Deutschlandfunk" on Wednesday. "So that means: The measures introduced by the political decision makers, these measures are helping." However, he stressed that the all-clear could not yet be given.
According to Wieler, the current reproduction rate is 1.3, which means that an infected person infects an average of 1.3 healthy people. This number should be kept below 1.0. The virus will then be slowly contained. However, Wieler explained that not only the reproduction number is relevant for a relaxation of the measures, but also the proportion of immune people in the population as well as the capacities of the health system.

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April 7th, 2020: Ethics Council for debate on relaxation of corona restrictions 

Berlin (dpa) - The German Ethics Council considers a debate on the strategy for easing the initial restrictions in the corona crisis to be necessary. The chairman of the advisory body, theologian Peter Dabrock, expressed fears in Berlin on Tuesday that otherwise the necessary trust of the population could be damaged. 
Further insights into the spread of the pandemic are also important for easing restrictions on public life. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) is now hoping to gain these insights from the analysis of data from fitness wristbands and computer watches. To this end, the RKI has published the app "Corona Data Donation", which can access data from the devices. 

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April 6th, 2020:

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April 6, 2020:  Germany has admitted 198 corona patients from the EU

Berlin (dpa) - Germany has admitted 198 seriously ill patients from other EU countries for treatment since the outbreak of the corona pandemic. Currently there are still commitments for 58 treatment places that have not been taken up, a spokesperson for the Foreign Office said in Berlin on Monday. He said that 130 patients from France, 44 patients from Italy and 24 more from the Netherlands had been brought to Germany.

"From the Italian side, it is currently the case that a slight decrease in the number of corona intensive care patients can be observed. Therefore, no further transfer from Italy to Germany is planned for the time being," said the spokesperson. He added that the German states were prepared to provide further assistance. The German Air Force has also participated several times with the special aircraft Airbus A310 MedEvac.

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April 6, 2020: Survey: Many citizens in Corona crisis concerned about money issues

Berlin (dpa) - In view of the Corona crisis, many citizens are concerned about possible financial disadvantages, according to a survey. Usurious prices for perhaps once scarce goods such as hygiene articles procure 38 per cent very or rather strongly, as the inquiry on behalf the consumer center Federal association (vzbv) resulted in. One third (33 percent) strongly fear that private old-age provision will lose value. The greatest uncertainty is about not being able to receive adequate treatment due to a lack of hospital or doctor capacities. This is a major concern for 43 percent of those surveyed.

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April 6, 2020:

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April 5, 2020: Spring weather – Federal government calls for compliance with the contact ban

Berlin (dpa) – In view of the spring weather, the German government warns citizens to strictly observe the contact ban in the fight against the coronavirus even over Easter. “We must continue to do everything we can to prevent the virus from spreading too quickly in Germany. Unfortunately, this also applies to Easter – as bitter as this is for many families and circles of friends”, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas told the German Press Agency. He added that a look across the borders showed even more dramatically than in Germany how deadly the corona virus was. 

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Everything you need to know about the corona crisis in Germany and the measures being taken against the spread of the virus:
www.deutschland.de/en/corona-virus-germany-overview

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April 5, 2020: Head of the Federal Chancellery: Time with highest infection rates still ahead

Berlin (dpa) - Helge Braun, Head of the Federal Chancellery, has emphasised that the peak of the Corona crisis in Germany is still to come. It was now the task of the Federal Government to “prepare ourselves on behalf of our population for the most difficult part of this crisis”, Braun told the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung”. “The time with the highest infection rates is still ahead of us.” Before the current restrictions began, there had been a doubling every three days. In order not to overburden the health care system, doubling times of considerably more than ten days are necessary, Braun said. “Even more likely are 12 or 14 days.”

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April 5, 2020: Von der Leyen demands Marshall Plan for Europe

Berlin (dpa) - Europe must put more money into its hands for the period after the Corona crisis, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “We need a Marshall Plan for Europe”, she writes in a guest article for the “Welt am Sonntag”. In her piece, von der Leyen argues for massive investments in the EU budget. The budget is accepted in all member states as an instrument of solidarity-based compensation and must be adapted to the crisis, von der Leyen writes.

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April 4, 2020: Bavaria admits corona patients and sets up auxiliary hospitals

Munich (dpa) - Bavaria wants to admit ten seriously ill Covid-19 patients from the French capital Paris for treatment in the corona crisis. This was announced by Prime Minister Markus Söder on Twitter on Saturday. He had promised the French ambassador support. "Friends help in times of need," Söder wrote. "Europe must stand together." Since last Sunday, Bavaria has already admitted ten corona patients from Italy for medical care and is in the process of setting up 26 auxiliary hospitals. German hospitals have now admitted more than 100 patients infected with the corona virus from EU partner countries. 

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Müller calls for "world crisis management" in Corona crisis

Berlin (dpa) - Development Minister Gerd Müller (CSU) urges a more global approach to coronavirus control. In the magazine "Spiegel" he spoke out in favour of the creation of a "world crisis management". This new institution could be headed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Now is the "hour of the United Nations", Müller said. Guterres would have to coordinate international aid organizations in close cooperation with institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The pandemic was a "global wake-up call for cooperation", he said.

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April 3, 2020:

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April 3, 2020: Parcel volumes now at "pre-Christmas Level"

Bonn (dpa) - The parcel service provider DHL reports increasing parcel numbers after a few weeks of corona crisis. At the beginning of the restrictions, no significant effect was initially noticeable. One can now see "a daily increasing number of parcels, the volume of which is now very noticeably higher than last year at this time", said a spokesman for the German Press Agency. Over Easter, the quantity is expected to increase further. "The very sudden rise to the pre-Christmas level per day in our network shows us that small retailers in particular are increasingly turning to DHL to deliver their goods to consumers even when the shops are closed," said Tobias Meyer, member of the Post & Parcel Board.

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April 3, 2020: Maas says: National action Basis for international aid

Berlin (dpa) - For Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, national and European action in the corona crisis are not contradictory. "We must remain capable of acting nationally in order to help each other internationally," the SPD politician said on Friday on ARD's "Morgenmagazin". "Of course we must ensure that the problems we have in Germany with regard to the corona virus are solved."
At the same time, Maas emphasized the importance of European solidarity - also at the economic level: "The German economy is an export economy. We are dependent on the situation in other countries being good." The corona crisis will cost jobs in Germany. "But if we don't solve it internationally, there will be a second wave that will cost jobs: Because if the countries around us in Europe have more and more problems and go to the dogs," said Maas. "We must prevent this and we can only do it together in Europe."
In this context, he pointed out, for example, the possibility to financially cushion corona consequences in the individual countries via the ESM euro rescue parachute.

 

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Chancellor's Office strives for rapid spot checks with anti-body tests

Berlin (dpa) - In the fight against the coronavirus, the German government wants to have representative samples taken from the population as soon as a reliable antibody test is available. This was announced on Thursday evening on television by Helge Braun (CDU), Minister of the Chancellery. The goal is to get an overview of the percentage of people in the population who have antibodies against the virus. A test for antibodies in the blood was already available, he said, "but it is not yet as accurate as we need it".
The test currently available could "make the fatal mistake of suggesting that you are already immune and in the end it is not true at all". As soon as this is corrected, "a large number of people who believe they have never had anything to do with Corona" should be tested voluntarily. This will show how many people "silently" went through the disease and how large the infected dark figure is.

 

April 2, 2020:

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April 2, 2020: Steinmeier calls for helpfulness - "showing the best in us"

Berlin (dpa) - Germany's head of state Frank-Walter Steinmeier has called on the citizens in the Corona crisis to be helpful in everyday life. "Let us show each other the best in ourselves - let us show humanity, let us show solidarity," he said in a new video message on Thursday. "If we can do this together, our society will not disintegrate in this crisis, but on the contrary: Then it will grow closer together." "We may be condemned to isolation - but not to inaction", the Federal President continued. Anyone and everyone could help. This could be shopping for elderly neighbours, calling the family, telling a bedtime story for the grandchildren over the phone or writing letters to relatives in nursing homes that you are not allowed to visit now.

April 2, 2020: Coronavirus: German military readies 15,000 soldiers for deployment

Berlin (dpa) - Germany's military says it is making 15,000 soldiers available for deployment for the nation's response to the coronavirus pandemic, as the number of infections confirmed in the country edges towards 74,000. The Bundeswehr soldiers will be deployed within 12-72 hours of being called upon, a spokeswoman said on Thursday. However, the military is also suffering from a lack of protective medical supplies, Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said, telling the ARD public broadcaster that the army's inventories have enough for a "certain short period." According to data collated by dpa from Germany's 16 federal states, over 73,900 people are known to have caught the novel coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. At least 879 people have died in Germany after catching the virus.

April 2, 2020:

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April 2, 2020: Merkel: No statement possible at present about the end of the restrictions


Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel does not foresee an end to the restrictions in the Corona crisis. "I cannot make any statements on this question of how much longer it will take, at this point in time," the CDU politician said on Wednesday after telephone consultations with the state premiers. She said that the states had decided on the restrictions on public life together and also wanted to end them together when the time came.
The treatment of severe Covid-19 cases in the intensive care unit is on average well over two weeks and thus takes longer than expected. Therefore, Merkel said, the number of patients must be doubled only every "12, 13, 14 days". "We want to avoid excessive demands", she said, referring to the health system. "That's why we can only proceed from step to step, from date to date." The situation should be reassessed on the Tuesday after Easter.
"I believe that the people in the country - I hope so, and I also base my expectations on this - understand this and do not want us to get into a difficult situation. Especially for those groups that we have to protect in particular - namely the elderly, the disabled, those who were previously ill," Merkel said. "And I am grateful for this understanding. That is what distinguishes our society. Article 1 of our Basic Law says 'Human dignity shall be inviolable', and this is being lived at the moment, and I am very grateful for it, and we must continue to act in this way.


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April 2, 2020: Almost nobody flies at German airports any more


Berlin/Frankfurt (dpa) - Due to the corona crisis there are hardly any take-offs and landings at the larger German airports. In the last week of March (23.-29.3.) the number of passengers handled has dropped to just under 206,000, as the airport association ADV reported on Thursday. This is still 5 percent of the previous year's figure. The decline in cargo was much smaller, with the volume of cargo handled in the week in question only 20.4 percent below the previous year's figure.
Nevertheless, all airports were kept in operation as a public service, explained ADV General Manager Ralph Beisel. Urgently needed patient transport as well as cargo and return flights could still be handled without any problems. Beisel warned the German government to provide financial support: "Airport operations without income cannot be sustained for long. Liquidity assistance and cost transfers are urgently required.

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April 1, 2020: Von der Leyen announces European plan for short-time work compensation

Brussels (dpa) - In the corona crisis, the EU states could soon receive money from Brussels for short-time work assistance. EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen announced on Wednesday an initiative called "Sure", which is to be presented on Thursday.  According to information from the German Press Agency, the initiative is not about subsidies to national unemployment insurance funds, which are usually financed by social contributions from employees and employers. Instead, Eric Mamer, Spoekesman of the EU-Commission, spoke of "help to finance national short-time work programs". According to dpa information, instruments of the European Financial Stabilization Facility EFSF, which was set up during the euro debt crisis, could be used to finance the European programme. The EFSF was founded in 2010 as a precursor to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and was able to issue its own bonds, for which the euro states are proportionately liable.

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April 1, 2020: Corona crisis makes weather forecasts more uncertain

Geneva (dpa) - Because air traffic has largely been suspended due to the corona crisis, weather forecasts and climate observations are becoming more difficult. There is a lack of data for weather models, which normally comes from sensors on aircraft. "If even less weather data is provided by aircraft, and this over a longer period of time, the reliability of weather forecasts is likely to decrease," said Lars Peter Riishojgaard, Section Leader at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), in Geneva on Wednesday.

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March 31, 2020: Air cleaner because of corona barriers in German cities

Brussels (dpa) - Air pollution in German cities has already decreased significantly as a result of the corona exit restrictions. This is shown by a comparison of satellite images from the past few days with those from a year ago, which the European Public Health Alliance EPHA published on Monday. This is an alliance of non-governmental organisations for health and environmental protection.

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March 31, 2020: Masks instead of costumes - theatres help

Berlin (dpa) - Several theatre workshops help in the corona crisis and produce simple protective masks during the stage closure. The first orders have been placed, for example, by the Berliner Bühnenservice, which normally works for opera houses and the Staatsballett. About 300 masks have been sewn for an old people's and nursing home, managing director Rolf D. Suhl told the German Press Agency. About 300 more are to be made for a second home. Doctors' surgeries, pharmacies, and a clinic company had also asked.

The masks are sewn from boil-proof cotton fabric. There are similar initiatives in other German cities, such as Mainz and Leipzig. In order to prevent the spread of the corona virus, theatrical performances have been cancelled for quite some time. At the Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin, 15 employees are now sewing masks for mouth and nose, and there are also plans to do the same at the Deutsches Theater in the capital. At the Theater an der Parkaue, six employees are working on them. "The colleagues are happy to be able to make a contribution", said spokesman Julius Dürrwald. Fabric masks protect above all other people from possibly infectious droplets.

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March 30, 2020: Recession in Germany is inevitable

Berlin (dpa) - A deep recession in Germany is unavoidable due to the massive consequences of the coronavirus outbreak, a group of economic experts that advises the government said on Monday. The country's economy will contract significantly this year, the German Council of Economic Experts predicted in a special report. How bad it will be remains unclear because of the great uncertainty that still prevails. What will be "crucial" for the economy is the spread of the virus being contained and the restrictions on social and economic activities being lifted rapidly, the so-called "wise men" wrote. The group presented three possible scenarios. "In all three scenarios, the spread of the coronavirus abruptly ends the emerging economic recovery, so that a recession in the first half of 2020 will be unavoidable in Germany," the council said in a statement. It thinks the most likely scenario is that the economic situation will normalize over the summer - which runs from June to September in Europe - so that Germany's gross domestic product (GDP) will end up falling by 2.8 per cent this year. The council's two more pessimistic scenarios foresee a deeper slump in 2020, possibly followed by a very slow recovery. This could happen if the health restrictions remain in place beyond the summer and the economic recovery only sets in next year.

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March 30, 2020: Federal government takes stranded EU citizens on return flights

With an unprecedented retrieval operation, the German government is bringing stranded travellers home. Here, too, the Federal Government is thinking European: stranded European citizens were also taken on almost all return flights. On each flight chartered by the Federal Government, an average of 17 EU citizens travel with them. This means that a total of 1750 non-German EU citizens have already returned home.

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March 29, 2020: No rapid normalisation in sight - concerns about the health system

Berlin (dpa) - In the corona crisis there are also concerns in Germany as to whether the capacities are sufficient to care for seriously ill patients. "In any case, we have to reckon with insufficient capacities, quite clearly," the president of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. He added that it could not be ruled out that there would be more patients than ventilation stations. "Whether this will happen is speculation," Wieler said.

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March 29, 2020: Government wants faster supply of protective masks and gowns

In order to stem the shortage of protective masks and gowns, the German government is trying to speed up the purchase. To this end, it has launched a procedure in which supply contracts are concluded without further negotiations on the purchase price. The newspaper Welt am Sonntag had first reported on this. The so-called open-house procedure provides that suppliers can offer at least 25,000 surgical masks, protective gowns or FFP2 mouthguards and that the federal government buys them at a price set by itself - this is easier and faster than the otherwise applicable public procurement law with calls for tenders.

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March 29, 2020: Economy: Corona aid does not reach medium-sized businesses

The craft and travel industries complain about a funding gap. "In this extreme situation, not only small businesses, but also those with more than ten employees need immediate aid," said Hans Peter Wollseifer, President of the Crafts and Travel Industry. The German Travel Association expressed similar sentiments: "The Federal Government must urgently approve measures for small and medium-sized companies," demanded President Norbert Fiebig. Economics Minister Peter Altmaier held out the prospect of further government stimulus for the period after the crisis.

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March 29, 2020: Bundeswehr partially withdraws soldiers from Iraq because of Corona

Berlin (dpa) - Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the German Armed Forces are withdrawing some of the soldiers deployed in Iraq back to Germany. The deployment of German soldiers, which are currently not absolutely necessary for basic operations, has begun, the Operations Command told the representatives of the Bundestag's Defence Committee on Sunday. The first soldiers had landed in Germany on Sunday.
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March 28, 2020: Chancellor's office: Germany won't relax coronavirus restrictions before April 20

Berlin (dpa) - The head of the German chancellor's office said that measures to restrict the spread of coronavirus in the country won‘t be lifted before April 20. „We are not talking about any easing until April 20. Until then all measures will remain in place,“ Helge Braun told the Tagesspiegel newspaper in an interview. Older people would have to stick to restrictions on movement and interpersonal contact for much longer than younger people.

Braun said he wants to follow a similar approach to how South Korea is tackling the pandemic, using digital tracking to alert people if they have had contact with infected persons.

Chancellor Angela Merkel also underlined the importance of staying at home and asked people to be patient. „Nobody can say today with a clear conscience that they know how long this difficult time will last. There is still no reason to relax the rules,“ she said in her weekly podcast released on Saturday. Despite initial tests showing she has not been infected, Merkel remains in home isolation out of an abundance of caution after being given a vaccine by a doctor who later tested positive.

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March 28, 2020: Bundeswehr flies Italians suffering from Covid-19 to Germany

Berlin (dpa) - Because of the dramatic plight of northern Italian hospitals in the Corona crisis, the German Air Force is bringing patients to Germany for treatment. The Airbus A310 MedEvac, the flying intensive care unit of the German Armed Forces, flew from Cologne to Bergamo on Saturday to bring patients to North Rhine-Westphalia for intensive care treatment. The plane returned to Cologne at noon with six seriously ill Italians on board, a spokesman for the Air Force told the German Press Agency.

„In times of greatest need, it goes without saying that we stand by our friends,“ said Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on the mission. „This is why we are now bringing seriously ill patients from Italy to Germany for treatment in our flying intensive care unit of the Air Force. This is an important sign of solidarity. Europe must stick together.“

Six seriously ill corona patients from France are also being admitted to the Berlin Charité, a spokeswoman for the Senate announced on Saturday. According to the information, the infected patients will be brought by plane from the university hospital in Strasbourg to Berlin to receive intensive medical treatment in the hospital.

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March 27, 2020: Coronavirus aid ready to flow

Berlin (dpa) - Citizens and businesses in Germany that have been left in dire straits by the coronavirus crisis will soon be able to get help from the state, after the upper house of parliament on Friday approved an unprecedented aid package. It contains measures to save jobs and companies, support hospitals and preserve citizens' livelihood and housing. Tenants, parents, employees on short-time work, small firms and large corporations are all in line for support. It will be funded by 156 billion euros (172 billion dollars) in new debt, in a historic move that flouts the country's long-held fiscal rules. The first funds are expected to reach those in need before April 1.

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March 27, 2020: Five trillion US dollars planned to support the economy

Brussels/Berlin (dpa) - The European Union and the G20 of the leading economic powers are preparing comprehensive measures to contain the corona pandemic and deal with its economic consequences. At a video summit, EU leaders decided, after a hard struggle, to work out a new model for a rescue package with financial aid for indebted states within two weeks. Earlier, the G20 leaders had decided on a joint approach to the crisis. In total, the member states and the EU together have already earmarked five trillion US dollars to support the economy.

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March 26, 2020:

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March 26, 2020: Bosch develops COVID 19 quick test

The Stuttgart-based technology group Bosch has developed a rapid test for the detection of the Covid 19 virus. The new method produces results within two and a half hours.  Patients usually have to wait one to two days for a result. The newly developed test is to be available in Germany from April onwards, with other European and non-European markets to follow. "The COVID 19 rapid test helps to contain the spread of the pandemic and break through infection chains more quickly," said Bosch CEO Dr. Volkmar Denner.

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March 26, 2020: Support for coronavirus response

Berlin (dpa) - Almost two thirds of people expect further restrictions to be introduced in Germany as part of efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus, according to a survey commissioned by dpa. Polling institute YouGov found that 64 per cent of people believe that further measures are in the pipeline to restrict social contact, while 20 per cent believed this wouldn't be the case. Sixteen per cent did not give a response. There was broad acceptance for the measures, the poll found.

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March 25, 2020: Toilet paper and noodles: Demand explosion in retail

Wiesbaden/Cologne (dpa) - The corona crisis has caused the demand for disinfectants and toilet paper, but also for pasta and canned tomatoes, to explode in Germany in recent weeks. This is shown by current figures published by the Federal Statistical Office on Wednesday. According to these figures, last week consumers bought more than four times as much soap and more than three times as much toilet paper as the average of the previous six months. The statisticians relied on an analysis of digitally available cash register data.

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March 25, 2020: Parliament launches aid package

Berlin (dpa) - Lawmakers were convening under strict distancing measures in the German parliament on Wednesday to vote on a historic raft of spending measures aimed at bolstering the country's economic and medical defences against the coronavirus. Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government announced on Monday plans to suspend Germany's so-called debt brake in a move expected to be passed in the Bundestag parliament. The constitutional article limits structural net borrowing to 0.35 per cent of gross domestic product. Lifting it would pave the way for a record supplementary budget of 156.3 billion euros (167 billion dollars) in new debt. The sum will cover both 122.8 billion euros in aid and an expected drop of around 33.5 billion euros in tax revenues. The measures are set to go to the Bundesrat upper house on Friday, in an expedited legislative process aimed at providing urgent aid to families, tenants, employees, self-employed people and firms, as the coronavirus crisis wreaks havoc on the world economy.

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March 24, 2020: Germany admits corona patients from abroad

Leipzig (dpa) - A group of corona patients from Italy to be treated in Saxony landed at Leipzig-Halle Airport during the night from Tuesday to Tuesday. Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer announced on Monday that Saxony wants to admit corona patients from Italy to its hospitals. This was in response to a request by the Italian government. The hospitals in the Free State had signalled that they had the capacity for this. In addition, the treatment of Italian patients could teach them how to deal with the virus. North Rhine-Westphalia is also accepting ten corona patients from Northern Italy, which is particularly affected by the virus. This was said by North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Armin Laschet on Tuesday in a special session of the state parliament.

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March 24, 2020: Sports world relieved: IOC and Japan postpone Tokyo games to 2021

Tokyo (dpa) - The Tokyo Olympics makers have bowed to the pressure in the Corona crisis and are letting the sports world breathe a sigh of relief with the postponement of the Summer Games to 2021. In a telephone conference on Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese hosts took the long inescapable decision to postpone the Tokyo Games until next year. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed "one hundred percent" with the IOC proposal," said IOC President Thomas Bach. The Summer Games are to be postponed to "a date after 2020", but not later than summer 2021, it was said. "The now quick and clear decision to postpone the Olympic and Paralympic Games is a correct and enormously important step for international sport and the entire world community," said Alfons Hörmann, President of the German Olympic Sports Federation.

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March 24, 2020: First corona test at Chancellor Merkel negative

Berlin (dpa) - The first test of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) for the novel coronavirus did not reveal any infection. "The test result of today's test is negative," said government spokesperson Steffen Seibert on Monday in Berlin at the request of the German Press Agency. "Further tests will be carried out in the next few days."

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March 23, 2020: Merkel waits for result of corona test

Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) underwent a test for the novel coronavirus on Monday and is now waiting for the results. "The Chancellor is doing well", government spokesperson Steffen Seibert said in Berlin on Monday. Merkel had joined the cabinet meeting by telephone, and was temporarily doing her work from home. "Now we'll wait for the results and see what comes next." The basis for this is the recommendations of the doctors and the Robert Koch Institute.

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March 22, 2020: Merkel in quarantine

Berlin (dpa) - After Chancellor Merkel's press conference in Berlin, it was announced that she now has to put herself in domestic quarantine. After her press appearance in the evening, she was informed that she had been in contact with a doctor on Friday, who in the meantime had been tested positive for the coronavirus, said her spokesperson Steffen Seibert. "Even from domestic quarantine, the Chancellor will continue her official business."

Merkel had previously made another urgent appeal to the population to reduce contact with other people outside the family to an absolutely necessary minimum. "Please pull everyone along," said the Chancellor. "Show good sense and heart."

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March 22, 2020: Further drastic measures

The federal government and the state governments want to slow down the spread of the coronavirus with further and unprecedented drastic restrictions. Public gatherings of more than two people will be banned throughout Germany for an initial period of two weeks - with the exception of relatives living in the same households. Those who do not follow the rules will be threatened with fines. Restaurants will have to close, except for the delivery of food for the home. Hairdresser's shops will be closed. Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Prime Ministers of the federal state agreed on these new drastic measures in a telephone conference on Sunday.

Merkel emphasized: "We must do everything possible to prevent an uncontrolled increase in the number of cases and to keep our health system efficient." The restrictions are to remain in place for at least two weeks. A curfew, which has been repeatedly mentioned in recent days, is expressly not imposed by the politicians.

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March 22, 2020: Supermarkets rebuild because of Corona


Munich (dpa) - Distance markings on the floor, protective screens at the cash registers, cashless payment, as well as disinfectants and gloves for employees: With many measures, supermarkets and discounters in Germany want to contain the spread of the corona virus and at the same time protect their cashiers from infection.  Extended opening hours, as made possible by the new regulations in Bavaria, for example, are hardly an issue, however, as a survey of supermarket and discount store chains by the German Press Agency showed - also to protect employees.
In many branches, Plexiglas panels are currently being installed at the cash registers, the respective spokespersons announced. This protection is intended to protect cashiers from infection with the Sars-CoV-2 virus. "As one of many preventive measures, additional disinfectants and disposable gloves will be made available at short notice to protect our employees," explained a spokesperson. To protect customers, the chains in the checkout area of many stores have floor markings stuck to keep customers at a distance.

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March 21, 2020: Physician: Younger peoples should also follow rules

Munich (dpa) - In intensive care units in Germany, young patients infected with the coronavirus are also treated. This has already been shown in Italy - and "this is a picture that is also emerging in Germany," said chief physician Clemens Wendtner from the Department of Infectiology at the Munich Schwabing Hospital. "The youngest symptomatic Covid-19 patients were in their early 20s. Overall, we see the entire demographic age spectrum, regardless of whether they are in the normal ward or intensive care unit." Wendtner had treated the first patients infected with the Sars-CoV-2 virus in Germany at the end of January. "Even a young patient is not immune to having a severe course," warned the physician. "This is to shake up that everyone keeps to the hygiene rules and regulations."

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March 21, 2020: More people visit weekly markets

Berlin (dpa) - More people in Germany go to weekly markets. The interest has increased, reported the company Deutsche Marktgilde, which, according to its own statements, organizes markets at 125 locations. The weekly market is an open-air shopping opportunity and therefore there is a smaller risk of infection and spread, a spokesman said. Because of the Corona epidemic, the market management has been instructed to place the stands further apart.

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March 20, 2020: Far-reaching initial restrictions for the whole of Bavaria

Munich (dpa) - In order to contain the coronavirus, Bavaria's Minister President Markus Söder (CSU) has announced far-reaching initial restrictions for the entire Free State. As of Saturday, leaving one's own home will only be allowed if there are good reasons for doing so. These include, among other things, the way to work, necessary shopping, visits to doctors and pharmacies, help for others, visits from life partners, but also sports and exercise in the fresh air - but only alone or with the people you live with.

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March 20, 2020: Government brings back thousands of Germans


Berlin (dpa) - On Wednesday, the German government returned around 1500 Germans from Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Azerbaijan to Germany with the first seven charter flights of its return campaign due to the corona crisis. On Thursday, according to the Foreign Office, additional planes from the Philippines and the Dominican Republic were to take off with German tourists who were stranded there. A total of several tens of thousands of people are to be flown out on special flights.Governement will charter 30 to 40 planes from Lufthansa, Condor and Tui for 50 million euros. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on ARD television that all special flights, including those of tour operators, had carried 7,500 passengers back home on Wednesday alone. At the moment, the action mainly affects holiday destinations in North Africa. "We will probably bring back 20,000 tourists from Egypt alone over the weekend", said the Foreign Minister.

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March 19, 2020: Heads of states threaten with curfew

Berlin (dpa) - There is growing concern in Germany that the spread of the coronavirus cannot be contained fast enough because citizens are not changing their lives consistently. Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) and Baden-Württemberg's head of government Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) openly threatened curfews on Thursday if people do not comply with the urgently needed restrictions on social life.

March 19, 2020: Hopp gives hope for corona vaccine in autumn   

Berlin (dpa) - The Tübingen-based pharmaceutical company CureVac believes that its co-owner Dietmar Hopp might be able to supply a vaccine as early as this autumn. "If the results are positive, we might be able to start clinical trials around early summer," said the SAP founder and patron of the Hoffenheim football club in the "Bild" newspaper (Wednesday). Because the pressure is enormous, he said, approval by the authorities should be quicker than in other cases. "We would therefore be able to deliver the vaccine in autumn," Hopp said.

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March 18, 2020: Chancellor Merkel calls coronavirus biggest challenge since World War II

Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke directly to the citizens in a television address on Wednesday evening. Chancellor Merkel called on all people in Germany to show solidarity and discipline in the face of the threat of the corona virus in an unprecedented appeal. "This is a historic task, and it can only be mastered together," she said, "I firmly believe that we will succeed in this task if all citizens see it as their responsibility," Merkel said. "So let me say: this is serious. Take it seriously, too." Since the Second World War, the Chancellor said, there had not been a single challenge to Germany that had called so much for a joint solidarity-based action.

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March 18, 2020: RKI: Ten million infected people if measures are not complied with

Berlin (dpa) - The president of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has warned of a scenario with ten million coronavirus infections in Germany within a few months. This could happen if the measures ordered by the federal government were not followed, Lothar Wieler said in Berlin on Wednesday. "We have an exponential course of the epidemic." Wieler appealed to people to reduce their social contacts. The virus would only be transmitted from person to person. Meanwhile the RKI has received almost 8200 confirmed cases nationwide, a good 1000 more than the day before.

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March 18, 2020: Merkel wants to inform about corona measures in a television address

Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) wants to inform the population on Wednesday evening in a television address about the measures of the Federal Government against the corona crisis. A government spokesperson said that this was not about additional measures. Thus, Merkel apparently does not want to announce even more drastic steps like a general curfew. The spokesperson said: "It's about what needs to be done in Germany now to slow down the spread of the virus and how everyone should participate". Apart from the annual New Year speeches, this is the first time in Merkel's term of office that the Chancellor has addressed the population directly in a television address.

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March 17, 2020: Federal government issues a worldwide travel warning

Berlin (dpa) - Because of the Corona crisis, the German government has issued a worldwide travel warning for tourist travel. This was said by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Tuesday in Berlin. So far, the Foreign Office had only advised against unnecessary travel abroad.

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March 17, 2020: Volkswagen to pause production in response to coronavirus

Hanover, Germany (dpa) - The Volkswagen Group is to temporarily shut down production at the vast majority of its plants starting Friday in response to the coronavirus pandemic, sources from the German auto giant's works council said. They told dpa that the decision was taken in consideration of employees whose "work is carried out shoulder to shoulder ... on the assembly lines," arguing that this was not in keeping with German government guidelines on social-distancing.

March 16, 2020: Robert Koch-Institut: Please no corona parties

Berlin (dpa) - The club is closed, so the party is at home? The German Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has vehemently advised against such considerations in view of the spread of the coronavirus. Inviting people home or going to other parties would not make sense in terms of containment efforts, RKI Vice President Lars Schaade said in Berlin on Monday. "I say this because in the meantime there are apparently already so-called Corona parties when the clubs have been closed." He appealed: "Please don't do that. Stay at home if possible and limit your social life as much as possible." The Institute has now been notified of over 4800 confirmed cases of sars-CoV-2.

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March 16, 2020: Dispute over German vaccine company

Berlin/Tübingen (dpa) - In the coronavirus crisis there are disputes between Germany and the USA about the Tübingen-based vaccine company CureVac, according to a newspaper report. Tübingen is located in the south-western state of Baden-Württemberg. US-President Donald Trump is trying to lure German scientists to America with large financial contributions or to secure the drug exclusively for his country, the newspaper reported, citing government circles in Berlin.

The company said such a deal is out of the question: We want to develop a vaccine for the whole world and not for individual states,” said CEO Christof Hettich. Majority shareholder and SAP founder Dietmar Hopp also rejected a sale. The German government also rejects a sale.

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March 16, 2020: Bavaria declares the corona crisis an official case of emergency

Munich (dpa) - Due to the spread of the corona virus, Bavaria's Minister-President Markus Söder has announced that the Free State of Bavaria will declare an official case of emergency. Söder said on Sunday evening on BR television that this would be done because a uniform strategy under a single leadership was needed.

The proclamation of the emergency case is primarily connected with organizational issues. These were necessary so that the country could take appropriate measures in the fight against the coronavirus, government circles said. The disaster is to last for 14 days.

Food shops, pharmacies, drugstores, banks and gas stations are to remain open. Söder said that in the food supply sector, even more shopping opportunities would be created that went beyond the previous law on closing times.

In addition to the well-known steps such as closing all non-systemically relevant shops, the Bundeswehr and its hospitals will then also be included in the contingency plans. The Ministry of Health, the newspaper reports, will also record all ventilators in the country and develop an emergency plan on how to set up so-called temporary hospitals. According to the plan, these are to be set up in trade fair, sports and concert halls if the number of people suffering from the disease increases drastically.

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15.03.2020: Strict controls at several German borders and entry bans

Berlin/Vienna/Paris (dpa) - The rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic is increasingly paralysing public life in Germany. From Monday on schools and day-care centres will be closed, children will have to be looked after mostly at home. And like other countries, Germany has now decided to impose stricter controls at its borders. Many federal states are also banning major events and the railways want to reduce regional traffic.


Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has announced comprehensive controls and entry bans at the borders to Switzerland, France, Austria, Denmark and Luxembourg. "For travellers without a valid reason for traveling, the rule is that they cannot enter the country", Seehofer said on Sunday evening in Berlin. The decision will take effect on Monday, 16 March 2020, from 8 a.m.


"German citizens naturally have the right to re-enter their home country", Seehofer said about the restrictions. The same applies to foreigners with residence permits and domicile in Germany, State Secretary Hans-Georg Engelke explained. Goods traffic and commuter traffic were also excluded. 


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March 15, 2020: Germany and USA: Discussion about Tübingen vaccine company

Berlin (dpa) - Researchers in Germany are working flat out to develop a vaccine against the new coronavirus. Klaus Cichutek, President of the Paul Ehrlich Institute, which is responsible for vaccines, did not rule out the possibility that the first population groups might be protected by a vaccination as early as 2021.

Now, according to a report in the newspaper Welt am Sonntag, there are disputes about a Tübingen-based company that is working on a vaccine against the coronavirus. US President Donald Trump is trying to lure German scientists to America with large financial contributions or to secure the drug exclusively for his country, the newspaper reported, citing government circles in Berlin.

In response to an inquiry by the German Press Agency, the Federal Ministry of Health referred to statements that a ministry spokesman had already made to the newspaper Welt am Sonntag. "The German government is very interested in the development of vaccines and active substances against the novel corona virus in Germany and Europe," the newspaper quoted the spokesperson. "In this regard, the government is in intensive exchange with the company CureVac."

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March 15, 2020: Berlin shuts down public life to tackle coronavirus spread

Berlin (dpa) - The German capital city of Berlin is banning all public and private events with more than 50 people starting immediately in an attempt to stem the spread of the coronavirus. City authorities have closed all cinemas, theatres, concert halls and sport facilities, including gyms and fitness studios, along with bars, pubs, casinos and clubs, until at least April 19. Berlin's restaurants will remain open if customers are able to keep a 1.5-metre distance from one another.

Patients in hospital will no longer be allowed to have visitors, the new rules say, with the exception of children under 16 and the seriously ill. Elderly residents of care homes will no longer be able to receive visitors under the age of 16.

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March 14, 2020: First Bundesliga player tests positive as league shuts down

Frankfurt (dpa) - Paderborn defender Luca Kilian has been tested positive for coronavirus, becoming the first infected Bundesliga player.

The announcement came hours after the German Football League (DFL) postponed this weekend's Bundesliga and second division and is set to suspend them until April 2 due to the coronavirus.

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March 14, 2020: Federal Ministry of Health warns against false news

Berlin (dpa) - The Federal Ministry of Health has warned the population of false news and scare mongering in the Corona crisis. "Attention Fake News", the ministry wrote on Twitter on Saturday. "It is claimed and quickly spread that the Federal Ministry of Health/the Federal Government would soon announce massive further restrictions on public life. This is NOT true! Please help stop their spread."

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March 13, 2020: German Bundesliga football club stops playing

Frankfurt/Main (dpa) - Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the German Soccer League has now immediately suspended play and will not play this weekend. This was announced by the German Soccer League (DFL) on Friday afternoon. "In view of the dynamics of today", it was decided "to postpone the 26th matchday, which originally began today, in both leagues". In the morning, it was initially announced that the games would be suspended from next Tuesday until April 2. This interruption will continue for the time being, but as of today.

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March 12, 2020: Germany's DAX drops below 10,000 points

Frankfurt (dpa) - Germany's DAX index of 30 blue-chip companies has dropped below 10,000 points for the first time since mid-2016. The index fell by 5.5 per cent in opening trading on Thursday, dropping to 9,864 points. Shares across the globe have been steadily falling in value in recent weeks as fears of the global coronavirus pandemic grow and restrictions to prevent the spread take their toll on the economy.

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March 12, 2020: Gloves and masks offer travellers little protection

(dpa) - Travellers worried about contracting the novel coronavirus sometimes use ineffective methods to protect themselves. Wearing cotton gloves on a cruise ship or airplane, for instance, won't help to keep you safe, an expert says. "Gloves pick up everything you touch," remarks Tomas Jelinek, scientific director of the Dusseldorf-based Centre for Travel Medicine (CRM). The problem, he explains, is that at some point you'll touch your face with your gloved hands and thereby possibly transmit the virus to yourself. If you're going to wear gloves, then you have to continually change them, as is done in hospitals, he says. This isn't practicable for travellers. Paper face masks, which some travellers are now wearing at airports, won't protect you either, according to Jelinek. They can, however, lower the risk of infecting other people if you have coronavirus yourself.

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March 11, 2020: Lufthansa Group announces 23,000 flight cancellations for April

Frankfurt (dpa) - Germany's Lufthansa Group says it is cancelling 23,000 short, medium and long-haul flights as part of a reduced timetable from March 29 until April 24. A statement from the company announcing the decision cited "the exceptional circumstances caused by the spread of the coronavirus." The cancellations mainly affect Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Lufthansa said. The company says it will contact customers whose bookings have changed to inform them and offer alternative Options.

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March 10, 2020: First "drive-through" test stations for Coronavirus

In future, residents of the Esslingen district will be able to drive up by car to be tested for the coronavirus. There are now "drive-through" stations for this purpose.

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March 10, 2020: Germany's embassy in North Korea closes due to coronavirus measures

Germany is closing its embassy in North Korea temporarily due to measures there aimed at preventing the spread of the new coronavirus. Staff were flown out of Pyongyang to Vladivostok in Russia's far east, the German Foreign Office says. A spokesperson notes that North Korea has for weeks now halted all train and air travel to foreign countries due to fears of the viral pandemic and has placed all foreigners in the reclusive country under compulsory quarantine. Due to these "disproportionate" measures, which could last for months, Germany is unable to run its embassy in North Korea, the spokesperson says, adding that the mission would reopen as soon as the situation returned to normal.

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March 9, 2020: Germany minister: events with over 1,000 people should be cancelled

Germany's Health Minister Jens Spahn on Sunday recommended cancelling events with more than 1,000 participants in an effort to reduce the number of coronavirus infections. Up until now, people have been too slow to cancel such large events, Spahn told dpa. "That should change fast, given the dynamic developments of the last few days," Spahn said. Germany has been criticized for still going ahead with large sporting events such as the Bundesliga football games, while elsewhere in Europe similar events are being cancelled or held behind closed doors. On Sunday, Germany had a total of 847 coronavirus cases, according to the country's official disease control Institute.

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March 6, 2020: Germans stock up on soup sachets as coronavirus fears grow

Germans have been increasingly filling their cupboards with instant soup - particularly popular for weathering a potential health crisis - as the new coronavirus spreads in their country, according to data from a major research Institute. Revenues from the sales of dry soup mixes more than doubled last week, rising by 112 per cent on the previous week, the GfK reported. "We don't have spikes like this anywhere else," GfK expert Robert Kecskes said. Boosted sales were also noted with tinned fish and fruit, both up 70 per cent, while there was a 73-per-cent rise in dried pasta revenues and 80 per cent for tinned vegetables. The sales, attributed to panic-buying amid fears of consumers having to self-quarantine in an effort to avoid the disease, led to a 14-per-cent boost last week for German food retailing in general, the GfK said.

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March 5, 2020: Industry body warns of coronavirus risk to German economy

German industry is bracing itself for the economic blow from the coronavirus outbreak. "Economic growth threatens to almost come to a standstill," a quarterly report from the Federation of German Industries (BDI) warned. If the national economies affected by the pandemic do not return to normal in the second quarter, the BDI expects a reduction in Germany's own economic output. The industry body had previously forecast growth of 0.5 per cent for Europe's largest economy in 2020, owing in part to the fact that this year has more working days than the previous year.

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March 4, 2020: Germany's Hannover Messe industry fair postponed due to coronavirus

The organizers of the Hannover Messe, one of the world's largest industry fairs, say the event will be postponed due to the spread of the new coronavirus. The event is now set to take place on July 13-17 in the German city of Hanover, not April 20-24 as originally planned, Deutsche Messe AG announced on Wednesday. The company said it was "unable to implement the proposed measures" recommended by the Robert Koch Institute in order to prevent the spread of the outbreak at major events. Around 6,000 exhibitors had been registered for the Event.

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March 3, 2020: German carmakers present new models online after Geneva cancelled

Germany's leading automotive companies presented new vehicles aimed at cutting emissions on Tuesday, but online from their respective headquarters after the Geneva motor show scheduled to start this week was cancelled. In Munich, BMW presented its all-electric Concept i4. The four-door coupe has a range of up to 600 kilometres on the basis of new battery technology, chief executive Oliver Zipse said. Mercedes-maker Daimler aims to cut the CO2 emissions across its fleet by 20 per cent this year, chief executive Ola Kaellenius said from Stuttgart. Volkswagen aims for its first all-electric ID.4 sport utility vehicle (SUV) to be on the road this year, with a range of  500 kilometres. Chief operating officer Ralf Brandstaetter said from Wolfsburg: "We will produce and sell the ID.4 in Europe, China and the United States."

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March 3, 2020: Leipzig Book Fair cancelled due to coronavirus

The Leipzig Book Fair, the second-largest event of its kind in Germany, is being cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak, a spokesperson says. The fair was supposed to run from March 12-15 with a focus on works from across south-eastern Europe. The exhibition, which was due to feature 3,700 events at 500 locations throughout Leipzig's trade fair grounds and the wider city, had been expected to draw 2,500 exhibitors from 51 countries. Last year's Leipzig Book Fair attracted 286,000 visitors.

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March 2, 2020: Coronavirus cases rise in Germany

Berlin (dpa) - The number of cases of the new coronavirus in Germany rose to 150, the official disease control institute reported in Berlin on Monday. The Robert Koch Institute put its risk estimate from the epidemic at "moderate," with its head, Lothar Wieler, noting that the situation continued to be extremely dynamic. In the southern states of Baden Wuerttemberg and Bavaria, school pupils were order to stay at home after last week's carnival holiday, if they had been in a high-risk area. Certain public events have been cancelled throughout the country, as the federal government said it did not believe the epidemic would end soon. Germany's western states, as well as Berlin, have all recorded cases, with the exception of Saarland. Eastern states have been left largely untouched thus far. North Rhine Westphalia, the most populous state has recorded more than 70 cases, Bavaria 22 and Baden Wuerttemberg 20. The Heinsberg area of North Rhine Westphalia terminated quarantine conditions for several hundred residents after 300 participants at a carnival event on February 15 were thought to be at risk. Of the approximately 1,000 quarantined in their own homes, about a third will have to remain inside until the end of the week.