Coronavirus: Latest updates

Merkel: No statement possible about the end of the restrictions +++ Here you find the most important news about the spread of the lung disease in Germany.

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2.04.2020: 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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2.04.2020: 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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1.04.2020: 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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1.04.2020: 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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31.03.2020: 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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31.03.2020: 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:

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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 25, 2020:

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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."

March 24, 2020:

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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 23, 2020:

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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:

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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.

March 16, 2020:

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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: USA close borders for Europeans

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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.