The Federal Government informs about the Corona crisis
This is what the German government is doing to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Read in this ticker the most important facts about the current measures.
+++ Saturday, September 26th +++
New travel warnings are now in force for other regions in the European Union due to increased corona incidence. Due to a strong increase in infection numbers, the whole of the Czech Republic, Luxembourg and the Austrian province of Tyrol have been classified as a Covid 19 risk area.
Already during the week, existing travel warnings for parts of France, Austria, the Netherlands, Croatia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania were extended. Regions of Denmark (including Copenhagen), Portugal (including Lisbon), Ireland (including Dublin) and Slovenia were classified as risk areas for the first time. In total, 15 out of 27 EU countries are now at least partially designated as risk areas.
The Robert Koch Institute publishes international risk areas following a joint agreement between the Federal Ministry of Health, the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of the Interior. The definition of risk areas is based on an examination of the infection figures and a qualitative assessment. The Federal Foreign Office contributes observations and assessments of the handling of the infection situation abroad. Health protection remains the main objective of the travel and safety instructions.
+++ Friday, September 25th +++
The Ifo Business Climate is a highly regarded indicator of economic development in Germany. The Ifo Business Climate Index is published monthly. The managers assessed the outlook for their business and their situation as more favourable than recently: The index rose to 93.4 points in September from 92.5 points in the previous month, the fifth consecutive rise. This was announced by the Munich-based institute.
The German economy had slumped by a record 9.7 per cent in spring due to the corona pandemic. Economists and the Federal Government expect strong growth for the summer quarter that is coming to an end. The Ifo Institute, for example, anticipates growth of 6.6 percent. Nevertheless, there is likely to be a severe recession in 2020 as a whole, with the economy slumping by five to six per cent.
The experts from the four major German non-university research organisations have used the available data on the Covid 19 pandemic to model how the pandemic could develop in Germany. In doing so, they analysed the current situation and worked out which factors would have a decisive influence on the further course of the pandemic.
According to the scientists' opinion, increasing case numbers would again cause considerable health, social, psychological and economic costs. "This can be prevented", says the opinion. To achieve this, the number of new infections must be kept low. This can be achieved by respecting hygiene and distance rules, wearing a mouth and nose protector, following infection chains, isolating suspected and infected cases and avoiding superspreading events.
An important conclusion of the scientists: "If each person contributes according to his or her ability, SARS-CoV-2 can be kept under control".
+++ Thursday, September 24th +++
New travel warnings now apply to additional regions of eleven EU countries due to increased corona incidence. Existing travel warnings for parts of France, Austria, the Netherlands, Croatia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania have been extended. Regions in Denmark (including Copenhagen), Portugal (including Lisbon), Ireland (including Dublin) and Slovenia have been classified as risk areas for the first time. In total, 14 out of 27 EU countries are now at least partially designated as risk areas again.
With a funding programme totalling 500 million euro up to 2024, the German government intends to support the Corona-compatible conversion and upgrading of ventilation and air-conditioning systems in public buildings and places of assembly. An investment subsidy of 40 percent is planned for this purpose. "The hygiene of indoor air is of great importance for infection control - especially if we are all going to spend more time indoors again soon," says Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier.
Funding is available for HVAC systems in buildings and assembly rooms of federal states and municipalities as well as for institutions which are predominantly publicly financed by means of participation or in some other way and which are not economically active. These can be, for example, canteens, lecture halls and auditoriums. A maximum limit of 100,000 euros applies to funding. The funding directive is to enter into force as early as mid-October. Applications for subsidies can then be submitted until the end of 2021.
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
+++ Wednesday, September 23rd +++
The draft budget for 2021 provides for a total of €413.4 billion. This is almost 19 percent less than this year, but more than € 43 billion more than originally estimated. In the next year and in the coming years until 2024, among other things, the measures decided by the Federal Government against the consequences of the corona pandemic will be continued and financed. "Our budgetary policy has so far brought Germany through the crisis comparatively well - we are continuing on this path," said Federal Finance Minister Scholz.
Investments in road, rail and waterways are planned, among other things. The Länder are also to be supported in childcare, education and research. The digital infrastructure and the climate-friendly restructuring of the economy are also to be promoted. Investments of 55 billion euro are planned for 2021 and 48 billion euro in the following years.
Due to the exceptional emergency situation, the Federal Government plans to take on debts of 92.6 billion euro for the projects in 2021. From 2022 the debt rule is to be fully complied with again.
+++ Tuesday, September 22nd +++
The Federal Government intends to invest a total of 6.5 billion euro in digitisation in schools. Among other things, 500 million euro are to be invested so that terminal equipment for teachers can be purchased this year. Overall, "a very ambitious programme" had been discussed, said Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek on Tuesday after the Chancellor's meeting with the Länder ministers of education.
The projects include the establishment of a competence centre and a networked education platform. In addition, the funds from the Digital Pact should be able to flow by the end of next year without the schools having to submit a pedagogical concept beforehand. The Federal Government also wants to support the Länder by investing 500 million euro in technical support.
Some things have already been initiated, said Karliczek: for example, the acquisition of digital terminals at schools that can lend them to needy children. The funding for administrators is also close to completion. At the beginning of the new year, they want to meet again in the same round to discuss the status of implementation, said Karliczek.
+++ Saturday, September 19th +++
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has emphasised the importance of improved digital equipment in schools. Children should not be the losers of the Corona pandemic, Merkel emphasises in her current video podcast. The restrictions to contain the pandemic had particularly affected day-care centres and schools. "From one day to the next, everyday school life had to be completely switched to learning at home," says Merkel.
It had become clear how important learning with digital media and digital education formats was - but also what was not yet working. "Therefore, we have to push ahead with the digitisation of schools at full speed. We need them as an indispensable complement to face-to-face teaching," said the Chancellor.
The Federal Government was supporting the Länder with massive investments. Within the Digital Pact for Schools alone, it was providing a total of six billion euro for the establishment of digital learning and infrastructure at general and vocational schools.
Next Monday, the Chancellor will meet the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder. "We have concrete ideas which we want to talk about: All schools should be connected to the fast Internet as soon as possible". In addition, all teachers need the right computers for digital teaching, says Merkel.
+++ Friday, September 18th +++
An investment programme for digitisation and for strengthening regional care structures - these are the central contents of the Hospital Future Act, which has now been approved by the Bundestag. It also provides for an extension of the entitlement to child health benefits by five days per parent.
The Federal Government's aim is to modernise and improve the equipment of hospitals. This includes both modern emergency capacities and an improved digital infrastructure. In addition, it creates, among other things, a legal framework for the proportional compensation of declining revenues which the hospitals have suffered due to the corona virus and which have not been compensated otherwise so far. In addition, nursing staff in hospitals and clinics who were particularly burdened by the care of Covid-19 patients are to receive a bonus of up to 1,000 euros.
+++ Thursday, September 17th +++
Some European regions are now subject to new travel warnings due to increased corona incidence. Existing travel warnings for parts of France have been extended. Also affected are the federal state of Vienna in Austria as well as the Hungarian capital Budapest and parts of the Netherlands (status: 17.09.2020). In addition, other European regions have been designated as risk areas and travel warnings have been issued for these areas. An overview of current risk areas worldwide can be found here at the Robert Koch Institute.
The Robert Koch Institute publishes international risk areas following a joint agreement between the Federal Ministry of Health, the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of the Interior. The definition of risk areas is based on an examination of the infection figures and a qualitative assessment. The Federal Foreign Office contributes observations and assessments of the handling of the infection situation abroad. Health protection remains the main objective of the travel and safety instructions.
Information on travel advice and warnings can be found in the FAQ of the Federal Foreign Office.
Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer welcomes the agreement of the federal states on the return of sports fans in stadiums and halls. "For me, sport without an audience is inconceivable in the long term, because it shapes our culture. We want to make social life possible again without neglecting infection control," said Seehofer.
The resolution recommends that sports facilities should be used at most 20 percent of their capacity. The concept also includes taking into account the regional pandemic events and the capacity of local health authorities to track contact persons. It also provides for a ban on alcohol and measures to maintain a 1.5 metre distance. A six-week test phase is initially planned. The situation will be reassessed at the end of October.
+++ Wednesday, September 16th +++
Many regulations on short-time working allowances are limited in time and expire at the end of the year. In order to continue the successful measures, the Federal Cabinet has adopted the draft Employment Protection Act and two ordinances.
The package is intended to extend the following regulations, among others, until 31 December 2021:
- the simplified access conditions to short-time working allowance
- the increase in short-time working compensation
- the opening up of short-time working allowances for temporary workers
"Short-time work is our model for success, with which we are securing the livelihood of millions of employees and their families. We will continue to pursue this path," said Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil on the cabinet decision.
In addition, the Federal Government is creating incentives for companies to make use of short-time work and invest in further training. "In this way, short-time work will not only become a bridge over a deep economic valley, but also a way into the future," said the Minister.
+++ Tuesday, September 15th +++
The safety of a vaccine comes before the speed of approval, Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn and the President of the Paul Ehrlich Institute responsible for vaccine approvals, Klaus Cichutek, emphasised at a joint press conference. "Only safe vaccines are accepted by the population", said Karliczek. There would be no risky shortcuts in the approval process. Spahn and Karliczek were very confident that a safe and effective corona vaccine will be available in large quantities by mid 2021.
The Federal Minister of Health stressed that the vaccination would be voluntary: "Where voluntary action leads to the goal, there is no need for a commitment". He was convinced that voluntary vaccination would achieve herd immunity. This would require 55 to 60 percent of the population to be vaccinated.
As Spahn and Karliczek announced on Tuesday, the Federal Government is supporting the vaccine developers BioNTech from Mainz with 375 million euro. CureVac from Tübingen will receive 230 million euros from the special vaccine development programme. Funding discussions with the third vaccine developer, IDT Biologika from Dessau, have not yet been concluded.
At the invitation of Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters, the Ministers of Culture of the EU member states discussed measures to strengthen culture in the face of the Corona pandemic. At their meeting in Berlin, they exchanged national experiences and successful strategies for resuming cultural activities.
Staasminister Grütters also provided information on the German future programme "Neustart Kultur", for which the Federal Government is providing a total of one billion euros. "Culture is the heart of Europe", said Grütters, "There is a consensus that the cultural and creative sector must be given appropriate consideration in European reconstruction aid.
For more information, please contact the Minister of State for Culture and Media.
+++ Monday, September 14th +++
The current corona crisis clearly shows how much health care systems depend on effective measures in the fight against pandemic infectious diseases. This is particularly true when pathogens with a high infection potential such as SARS-CoV-2 are involved, according to the Federal Ministry of Research. In order to better meet current challenges in diagnostics, prevention or mobile care, applied research and development will be strengthened - with an additional 20 million euros.
"To combat Covid-19 and future waves of infection, we are also dependent on innovative medical technology. These are products that help in health care by physical means - such as ventilators or PCR tests," says Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek.
You can read more about this at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Some European regions are now subject to new travel warnings due to increased corona incidence. Existing travel warnings for parts of France have been extended. The regions concerned are Auvergne-Rhônes-Alpes, Occitanie, Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Corsica. The travel warnings for the capital region of Île-de-France and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region remain in place.
The Federal Foreign Office is also warning against travel to the Swiss cantons of Geneva and Vaud. Other areas in Croatia have also been added due to increased case numbers: Dubrovnik-Neretva and Požega-Slavonia. The Zadar, Šibenik-Knin and Split-Dalmatia regions are also affected. A travel warning has also been issued for part of the Czech Republic. Here, a warning has been issued against unnecessary tourist travel to the capital region of Prague.
In addition, travel warnings have been issued for other European regions and a large number of countries outside the European Union due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Robert Koch Institute publishes international risk areas following a joint agreement between the Federal Ministry of Health, the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of the Interior. The definition of risk areas is based on an examination of the infection figures and a qualitative assessment. The Federal Foreign Office contributes observations and assessments of the handling of the infection situation abroad. Health protection remains the main objective of the travel and safety instructions.
+++ Friday, September 11th +++
The results of the 158th tax estimate show that Germany is financially well positioned despite the Corona crisis. According to the forecast, tax revenues this year are stable compared to the regular May tax estimate. Lower revenues from 2021 to 2024 are not as strong as feared. They are largely due to the relief measures adopted by the Federal Government and are therefore intended - because they are intended to secure the liquidity of citizens and companies.
Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz stressed: "The Federal Government is doing everything to ensure that Germany emerges from the crisis well and with momentum. This requires unprecedented efforts, but we can cope with them". The figures in the tax estimate and the improved economic forecasts showed that the aid is getting through and is having an impact. The tax estimate is also an important basis for the 2021 federal budget, which Scholz will present to the cabinet on 23 September. For the current year, the "Tax Estimates" working group is expecting federal revenues of 275.3 billion euros. For the state as a whole (federal/state and local authorities) it is 717 billion euro. For the coming year, revenues for the Federation are forecast at 295.2 billion euro, and 772.9 billion euro for the state as a whole. In 2019 the federal government had still collected 329 billion euro.
Some European regions are now subject to new travel warnings due to increased corona incidence. Existing travel warnings for parts of France have been extended. The regions concerned are Auvergne-Rhônes-Alpes, Occitanie, Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Corsica. The travel warnings for the capital region of Île-de-France and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region remain in place. The Federal Foreign Office is also warning against travel to the Swiss cantons of Geneva and Vaud. Other areas in Croatia have also been added due to increased case numbers: Dubrovnik-Neretva and Požega-Slavonia. The Zadar, Šibenik-Knin and Split-Dalmatia regions are also affected. A travel warning has also been issued for part of the Czech Republic. Here, a warning has been issued against unnecessary tourist travel to the capital region of Prague.
In addition, travel warnings have been issued for other European regions and a large number of countries outside the European Union due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Robert Koch Institute publishes international risk areas following a joint agreement between the Federal Ministry of Health, the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of the Interior. The definition of risk areas is based on an examination of the infection figures and a qualitative assessment. The Federal Foreign Office contributes observations and assessments of the handling of the infection situation abroad. Health protection remains the main objective of the travel and safety instructions.
+++ Thursday, September 10th +++
From 1 October, all countries will have a uniform system of travel warnings and alerts based on the Covid 19 risks:
- For countries designated as risk areas, i.e. the vast majority of third countries - i.e. all countries outside the EU, the Schengen associated countries and the United Kingdom - the travel warning for unnecessary tourist travel will continue to apply in principle.
- For countries that are not designated as risk areas, non-essential tourist travel can be discouraged if entry restrictions to Germany apply to these countries or, conversely, these countries have adopted entry restrictions from Germany. The overall view of the situation in the respective country (e.g. equipment of the health system, previous handling of sources of infection) is also taken into account.
- For all other countries: Travellers are asked to exercise special caution.
The Robert Koch Institute publishes international risk areas following joint coordination between the Federal Ministry of Health, the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of the Interior. The definition of risk areas is based on a consideration of the infection figures and a qualitative assessment. The Federal Foreign Office contributes observations and assessments of the handling of the infection situation abroad. Health protection remains the main objective of the travel and safety instructions.
The Federal Cabinet has extended the simplified access to basic provision until the end of the year. For applicants, this means that
- the asset audits were only carried out to a limited extent, and
- the actual expenses for accommodation and heating are covered.
With the Social Protection Package I, the Federal Government had considerably simplified access to basic provision for jobseekers and to social assistance in the spring. It thus offers protection to people who have fallen on hard times as a result of the pandemic - in particular the self-employed, employees on low incomes and those who were previously in precarious employment. Regulations are also extended until 31 December for lunch for schoolchildren and day-care centre children who are entitled to benefits from the education package, as well as for people in workshops for the disabled.
In order to avoid unnecessary risks for social institutions such as sheltered workshops for the disabled, providers of vocational integration measures or integration courses suffering from the consequences of the Corona pandemic, the Federal Cabinet has decided to extend financial support for a limited period until the end of the year. The scheme would have expired on 30 September. Due to the pandemic, social institutions were often unable to provide their usual services. Some institutions therefore suffer serious financial losses or are even threatened with insolvency. At the end of March, the Federal Government had already decided to support social service providers in order to ensure their continued existence. Under a provision in the Social Protection Package I, it obliged service providers such as the German Pension Insurance, the Federal Employment Agency and the social welfare offices to pay the institutions subsidies of up to 75 per cent of the contractual benefits previously paid. Provided that all other Corona assistance has already been exhausted. In return, the institutions are to use all the capacities at their disposal - manpower, premises and material resources - to help cope with the pandemic.
A possible vaccine against Covid-19 may be tested in Germany in a Phase II clinical trial. The Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI), the Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedical Drugs, has granted authorisation for its vector vaccine to Janssen, a pharmaceutical company based in Neuss (North Rhine-Westphalia). A vector vaccine involves the addition of an attenuated, well known virus. This will allow the vaccinated persons to produce their own immune response to the Sars-CoV-2 virus.
Vaccine candidates have to undergo several phases of testing, as they must be effective and safe. Only after successful testing in the laboratory and on animals can testing with humans begin. In Phase I, a small number of healthy people are vaccinated with the vaccine candidate. If this is successful, Phase II can start with significantly more volunteers. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 170 vaccine developments against the corona virus have started worldwide. 34 vaccine candidates are currently in clinical trials, 145 vaccine candidates are being tested in preclinical studies (as of 8 September 2020).
+++ Wednesday, September 9th +++
A total of four billion euros will be spent to strengthen the public health service by 2026. Chancellor Merkel explained this at the video conference with representatives of the Federal Government, the Länder, local authorities and health institutions. Among other things, these funds are to be used to create 5,000 new full-time permanent jobs. In addition, digitisation in the health sector is to be promoted through modern and networked IT systems. "You have played a major role in the fact that we have been able to and are still able to keep the incidence of infections in Germany largely under control and that we will hopefully continue to succeed in this way," Federal Chancellor Merkel addressed the Public Health Service in her welcoming statement. The virtual conference was intended to serve as a forum for exchange. The continued support of the health service by the Federal Government, the Länder and local umbrella organisations was the main focus. In addition, five public health offices presented concepts on how they envisage new ways of structurally improving their work.
+++ Tuesday, September 8th +++
Around 18 million children in Germany will receive the child bonus. It amouants to 300 euros and is paid for each child for whom there is a claim to child benefit for at least one calendar month in 2020. The bonus is paid in two instalments - 200 euros in September and 100 euros in October. The payment starts on this Monday and is usually paid automatically via the family insurance funds. In addition to child benefit and child supplement, the child bonus provides financial support to many families, says Federal Minister for Family Affairs Franziska Giffey. "Especially in times of financial shortage, every euro is welcome to buy something for the children or to do something together," she says. Why is the child bonus paid in two instalments? Is it credited against social benefits?
The German government is expanding its corona aid for India. 330,000 test kits and 600,000 protective equipment for medical staff are to be made available to the country particularly affected by the pandemic, as announced by Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller. "Every day, more than 70,000 new infections are reported - as many as in no other country", Müller told the newspapers of the Funke Media Group. "Now it's a matter of slowing down further spread." The measures are financed from the Corona Emergency Programme of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. In addition, there are to be short-term loans of 460 million euros for India. "In this way, we are working together to help distribute food to 800 million people and provide bridging aid to 320 million people who lost their jobs in the Corona crisis," said Müller.
+++ Monday, September 7th +++
By the end of next year, at least 1500 new jobs are to be created in the Länder and filled with doctors and specialist and administrative staff. At least another 3500 full-time positions are to be created by the end of 2022. In addition, investments are to be made in the digitisation of the health authorities. This is what the Federal and Länder ministers of health agreed on in the Pact for the Public Health Service. The Federal Government provides four billion euro in the Pact. "Our goal is a networked system of modern health authorities throughout Germany", said Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn. In her current video podcast, Chancellor Angela Merkel also underlined: "The corona pandemic shows how important the work of the health authorities is. They make a great contribution. The Federal Government wants to further strengthen the public health service, said the Chancellor.
Nursing staff who were particularly burdened by the care of Covid-19 patients are to receive a bonus of up to 1,000 euros. A sum of 100 million euros will be made available for this purpose. The GKV-Spitzenverband and the Deutsche Krankenhausgesellschaft presented a corresponding concept on 3 September. The bonus is to benefit above all nursing staff who provide "care at the bedside". Eligible nurses are selected by the hospital owners in consultation with the employee representatives. They also define the individual premium amount for the nursing staff - depending on the burden caused by the pandemic. In order to acknowledge the work in nursing care for the elderly, the Bundestag had already decided on a bonus in May at the suggestion of Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn and Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil. Depending on the type and scope of work, employees receive up to 1,500 euros in bonuses. Nursing facilities are responsible for applying for and paying out the bonus. Around 700 million euros have now been paid out.
+++ Friday, September 4th +++
Due to the current infection situation, the Robert Koch Institute has declared the whole of Spain a risk area. The German Foreign Office warns against unnecessary tourist trips to the country. According to the Federal Foreign Office, there are regional centres of infection throughout Spain, particularly in the Autonomous Communities of Cantabria, Castile and Leon, La Rioja, Navarre, the Basque Country, the capital region of Madrid and the Canary Islands, with the emphasis on Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. In Mallorca, Palma de Mallorca is particularly affected. The latest travel warnings from the Federal Foreign Office can be found here. An overview of international risk areas is also available from the Robert Koch Institute. Further information on travel can be found here.
Anyone entering Germany from a risk area must go into quarantine and inform their local health authority. Since 8 August, anyone entering Germany from a risk area must also submit a negative corona test which is not older than 48 hours or be tested for corona infection within 72 hours of arrival. If the test result is negative, the quarantine can be lifted. From 1 October, it should be possible to lift the quarantine after five days at the earliest with a negative test.
For travellers returning from a country that is not a risk area, the possibility of having themselves tested free of charge after entering Germany ends on 15 September 2020.
+++ Thursday, September 3rd +++
The law on mitigating the consequences of the corona pandemic in insolvency law is to be extended until 31 December 2020. In March this year, the law suspended the obligation to file for insolvency for companies that have become insolvent as a result of the corona virus pandemic and yet still have prospects of being able to restructure themselves by taking advantage of state aid offers or by other means. The extension would only apply to companies that are over-indebted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic without being insolvent. This is because, unlike insolvent companies, over-indebted companies have a chance of averting insolvency permanently. Companies that are insolvent, on the other hand, are already unable to pay their due liabilities. The draft bill is now to be brought before the Bundestag by the coalition parties and will be dealt with swiftly.
An investment programme for digitisation and for strengthening regional care structures - these are the central contents of the Hospital Future Act. The Cabinet has adopted a corresponding draft. It also provides for an extension of the entitlement to child health benefits by five days per parent. The Federal Government's aim is to modernise and improve the equipment of hospitals. This includes both modern emergency capacities and an improved digital infrastructure. In addition, a legal framework is being created for the pro rata compensation of declining revenues which the hospitals have suffered due to the coronavirus and which have not been compensated otherwise. In addition, regulations in the care sector will be extended to compensate for financial losses of care facilities due to the corona pandemic.
The Federal Government is providing up to 25 million euro to support cultural centres, literature houses and socio-cultural centres in making the necessary investments to enable them to resume operations during the Corona pandemic. "As meeting places, cultural centres, houses of literature or socio-cultural centres bring together very different population groups. In this way they strengthen not only neighbourly but also, and above all, social cohesion in a district or municipality", said Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters. This important basic cultural work must not be lost. Among other things, support is being provided for protective measures in the cash desk and sanitary areas or the installation of ventilation systems. Up to 100,000 euros can be provided per institution. The funding line is part of the major economic stimulus package Neustart Kultur.
+++ Wednesday, September 2nd +++
Although the gross domestic product is expected to fall by 5.8 percent this year due to corona. However, the recession already bottomed out in May. For the coming year, the German government expects growth of 4.4 per cent. According to Federal Minister of Economics and Technology Peter Altmaier, this upward trend shows that the aid provided by the Federal Government is reaching people and companies and providing clear impetus. Germany's economy could already return to its pre-crisis level at the beginning of 2022. The Federal Government does not expect that such far-reaching restrictions will be necessary again in the further course of the crisis as they were at the beginning of the pandemic. If necessary, targeted and regionally limited measures should help to ensure that the economic recovery can continue. Altmaier thanked the people for their responsible actions in recent months. In view of the rising number of infections, however, he reminded them to remain vigilant so as not to jeopardise the successes.
At the beginning of the pandemic, some day-care centres were closed for weeks. This should be avoided at all costs in the new day care centre year and the start of regular operation - in order to be able to support children and relieve the burden on parents. At its kick-off meeting, the new Corona day-care centre council argued that everything possible must be done to prevent further closures across the board. In the future, measures to contain infections should only be taken locally or regionally. Federal Minister for Family Affairs Franziska Giffey had initiated the Council. It is to monitor the regular operation in the day-care centres and evaluate it nationwide. The Council comprises experts from the Federation, Länder and local authorities, trade unions, funding organisations and the scientific community. "We are able to take a comprehensive look at which measures are successful and where we can support the practice even more", explained Giffey. With a view to the approaching autumn, the Minister pleaded for a coordinated approach in the day-care centres for dealing with cold symptoms. The Corona Kitchen Council would also provide impulses for this.
Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn warns against regarding the demonstrations in Berlin this weekend as exemplary for the overall mood in the country. "We see in surveys and I sense in events that there is a great deal of support for our policy overall", the Federal Minister of Health said in an interview. "We must not take these pictures as the overall mood in the country. Admittedly, there is criticism that can be dealt with. But where "pure hatred" is to be experienced, there can be no more discussion, Spahn stressed. Following the incidents at the weekend, numerous ministers voiced criticism of the demonstration participants. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert described the pictures of anti-democrats in front of parliament as "disgraceful".
+++ Tuesday, September 1st +++
„The right to demonstrate is a valuable asset even in a pandemic. It was abused by some people at the weekend,“ said government spokesman Steffen Seibert on Monday. The pictures of anti-democrats in front of the parliament had been „disgraceful“. „Our thanks and appreciation go to the police officers.“ Following the incidents at the weekend, numerous ministers took the floor at the beginning of the week and criticised the events in Berlin, especially in the Reichstag. Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said: „Diversity of opinion is a hallmark of a healthy society. But freedom of assembly has its limits where state rules are trampled underfoot“, Seehofer said. „Nazi symbols, Reich citizens' flags and flags of the Empire have absolutely no place in the German Bundestag,“ said Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The Basic Law guaranteed freedom of opinion and the right to demonstrate. It was the answer to the failure of the Weimar Republic and the horrors of the Nazi era, said Scholz. „The intolerable image of Reich citizens and neo-Nazis in front of the Reichstag must not be repeated - not in front of Parliament and never in Parliament“, said Federal Minister of Justice Christine Lambrecht in an interview. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also stressed: „Reich flags in front of Parliament are shameful. Everyone had the right to argue about how to deal with Corona and to demonstrate for their opinion. However: „Nobody should chase after right-wing extremists, endanger police officers and expose many to the risk of infection“, said Maas.
Following the support programme for the dance sector, the Federal Government is now also launching a programme for guest performance and touring theatre to the tune of up to 20 million euros. The „Theatre on the Move“ programme is part of the Neustart Kultur future package, which has a budget of one billion euros. Guest performance theatres can each receive up to 200,000 euros to resume touring under the corona-related restrictions. „After the approximately 400 guest performance theatres without their own ensembles in Germany had to close down due to the corona crisis, the ensembles and theatres specialising in guest performances lost every opportunity to perform. De facto, theatre no longer takes place at all in many regions,“ says Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters. A resumption of guest performances is often not financially viable on its own in view of the clearly limited audience numbers.
+++ Monday, August 31st +++
The Corona pandemic has threatened the existence of numerous non-profit institutions for child and youth education. These include, for example, youth hostels, rural school homes, youth education centres and initiatives for family leisure activities. In order to support these in the short term, the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs has set up a 100 million euro emergency programme. The effects of the standstill and the continuing restrictions have hit the non-profit organisations hard, explained Federal Family Minister Giffey. „It is important to me that these places are preserved. I will therefore help the affected organisations quickly and unbureaucratically,“ emphasised Giffey. The funds can be applied for from 1 September. The special programme will provide assistance to an estimated 2,000 non-profit organisations with a total of over 200,000 beds. The support refers to financial shortages from April to December 2020.
The corona pandemic had confronted states, societies and economies around the world with unprecedented challenges and dramatically changed lives for everyone, Chancellor Merkel said at the beginning of the summer press conference. In future - in autumn and winter - it will therefore be important to keep the number of infections low. „It is serious, as serious as ever, and continue to take it seriously,“ stressed Merkel.
For the coming period, the Chancellor formulated three goals that were of particular importance to her: Education - whether day-care centre or school - must be one of the most important. Because children must not be the losers of the pandemic. The Federal Government would also support this with a digital procurement programme. In addition, the aim was to keep the economy going or get it going again: to preserve the substance of the companies, the basis of prosperity and jobs. The third priority in the pandemic is to maintain social cohesion as far as possible. It is particularly important that vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, those in need of care and relatives, families with children, students, job-seekers, small businesses, artists, etc. continue to benefit from support.
Together, however, citizens and the state have so far managed to cope well with this crisis - measured against the challenge - so far. Overstretched and overburdened hospitals have so far been spared Germany because of the strong health system. Above all, however, the vast majority of people in Germany have contributed to this by showing reason, responsibility and humanity. „I will always be grateful for this millionfold reaction of people,“ said Merkel.
+++ Friday, August 28th +++
Chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of government of the Länder have agreed on further measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus in Germany. According to the agreement, the quarantine obligation for travellers returning from risk areas will continue to apply immediately after their return - and the testing obligation will also remain in place for the time being. In future, returnees from risk areas will be able to end their quarantine at the earliest by a test from the fifth day after their return. The implementation of this regulation should take place on 1 October 2020 if possible. As of 15 September, non-risk area returnees will no longer be able to have a free corona test.
The Federal Government and the Länder also appeal to all citizens: wherever possible, travel to designated risk areas should be avoided.
The need to maintain a minimum distance of 1.5 metres remains. The Länder will set the minimum regular fine for violations of the mask obligation at at least 50 euros. Saxony-Anhalt has announced not to introduce a fine.
In addition, the Federal Government and the Länder agreed to ban, at least until the end of this year, large events where contact tracing and compliance with hygiene rules is not possible.
In order to ease the burden on families in the corona pandemic, the child health benefit is to be paid for five additional days per parent in 2020, and for single parents for ten additional days.
On Wednesday the Foreign Office extended its travel warning to the Principality of Andorra between Spain and France and the British overseas territory of Gibraltar in the south of Spain. In addition, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) classified some regions in the Caribbean as risk areas. These include the island of St. Martin with its French and Dutch parts and the Dutch and French overseas territories of Aruba and Guadeloupe and French Guyana. In view of the current incidence of infection in these regions, the Federal Foreign Office warns against unnecessary tourist travel there.
Large parts of Spain and the French Mediterranean coast had already been classified as risk areas, including Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. Travel warnings have also been issued for the French region of Île-de-France, with its capital Paris, and parts of Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria and Belgium.
A corona test has been mandatory for those returning from risk areas since 8 August. Until a negative test result is obtained, they must isolate the returnees themselves at home. Test centres have been set up at airports, railway stations and other easily accessible locations for the tests. The tests are free of charge for travellers.
+++ Thursday, August 27th +++
The Federal Cabinet has extended the travel warning on the Corona pandemic for around 160 countries until 14 September. We advise against unnecessary tourist travel to these countries. Exceptions are most EU countries, Schengen-associated countries (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Great Britain. Anyone entering Germany from a risk area must go into quarantine and inform their local health authority. Since 8 August, anyone entering Germany from a risk area must also present a negative corona test not older than 48 hours or be tested for corona infection within 72 hours of arrival. If the test result is negative, the quarantine can be lifted.
Test centres have been set up at airports, railway stations and other easily accessible locations for the tests. The tests are free of charge for travellers.
+++ Tuesday, August 25th +++
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) classifies the French regions of Île-de-France, including the capital Paris, and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur as risk areas. Due to the current incidence of infection, the Federal Foreign Office warns against unnecessary tourist trips to these regions of France. Last week the RKI classified the counties of Šibenik-Knin and Split-Dalmatia in Croatia and the Vâlcea region in Romania as risk areas. Travel warnings have also been issued for parts of Bulgaria, Spain and Belgium.
A corona test has been mandatory for people returning from risk areas since 8 August. Until a negative test result is obtained, they must isolate the returnees themselves at home. Test centres have been set up at airports, railway stations and other easily accessible locations for the tests. The tests are free of charge for travellers.
+++ Monday, August 24th +++
The Federal Ministry of Education has extended the bridging aid for students who are in particular need as a result of the Corona pandemic. Affected students can also apply for the bridging aid in the form of a non-repayable grant from their student or student union in September. Originally, the bridging allowance was intended as a grant for the months of June, July and August. The Federal Government has put together a comprehensive package to cushion the hardships for students. In addition to adjustments to BAföG, this package also includes a bridging aid, which includes the KfW student loan of up to 650 euros per month as well as grants from the student services. The KfW Student Loan has been interest-free for everyone from May to the end of March 2021. Since June, foreign students have also been able to apply for it.
Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters supports music clubs and live music venues with 27 million euros. The funds come from the rescue and future package Neustart Kultur. The programme "Preserving and strengthening the music infrastructure in Germany" is aimed at operators of small and medium-sized live music venues and clubs in which live performances take place. "Since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, music life in Germany has largely come to a standstill, clubs and concerts are sorely missed," says Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters. Many operators have since fallen into an existential emergency. "The club and concert scene is, however, an important part of our unique musical landscape worldwide, which is why we now want to support it actively", said Grütters.
The Federal Government supports book publishers and bookstores with 20 million euro from the "Neustart Kultur" programme for the future. This was announced by Minister of State for Culture Grütters during a visit to the Literaturhaus Berlin and the associated bookshop Kohlhaas & Company. Under the Neustart Kultur programme, publishing companies can apply for printing and production cost subsidies of up to 10,000 euros for a new publication. Bookshops can apply for grants of up to 7,500 euros per bookshop to digitalise their distribution channels. For the book industry as a whole, the aid package provides a total of 25 million euros, four million euros of which alone are earmarked for holding the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2020.
+++ Saturday August 22nd +++
The Covid 19 pandemic presents Europe with "one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult economic challenges" since the Second World War, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel after a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. This makes it all the more important that the European countries act together and coordinate closely. There must not be any new border closures. "Politically, we really want to avoid that at all costs. But that also requires us to act in a coordinated manner", the Chancellor said. With regard to the handling of the pandemic, Merkel spoke in favour of similar criteria in Europe, for example the classification of risk areas. Even in Germany, many people do not understand that corona measures vary from state to state. The same applies to Europe. "I can feel the will in Europe to act together, even if we have a lot to learn", said Merkel.
+++ Friday, August 21st +++
The German Foreign Office has issued a travel warning for parts of Croatia and Romania. Returnees from these areas are subject to a corona test. The Robert Koch Institute classifies the Šibenik-Knin and Split-Dalmatia counties in Croatia and the Vâlcea region in Romania as risk areas. In view of the current incidence of infection, the Federal Foreign Office warns against unnecessary tourist travel to these parts of Croatia and Romania. Luxembourg and in Romania the areas ("counties") Ialomita, Mehedinți and Timis, on the other hand, are currently no longer considered risk areas. There are also still travel warnings for parts of Bulgaria, Spain and Belgium. You can find the current travel warnings issued by the Federal Foreign Office here. An overview of international risk areas is also available from the Robert Koch Institute. Further information on travel can be found here. Since 8 August, anyone entering from a risk area is obliged to be tested for corona infection. Test centres have been set up for this purpose at airports, railway stations and other easily accessible locations. The tests are free of charge for travellers. In addition, all travellers returning from abroad have the opportunity to be tested for the corona virus SARS-CoV-2 voluntarily and free of charge within 72 hours of their return - regardless of the country they come from or whether they show symptoms of the disease.
The German government is supporting Mexico, which has been severely affected by the pandemic, by sending a medical mission. "We must do everything we can to stem further spread," said Development Minister Müller. As part of the Federal Development Ministry's Corona Emergency Programme, Germany is providing 100,000 test kits and laboratory materials to help Mexico cope with the corona pandemic. In addition, medical personnel from the "Rapid Deployment Expert Group on Health" (SEEG) will help to adequately equip laboratories and train health personnel. According to the WHO, Germany is one of the most important international supporters in the fight against the spread of the pandemic. The Expert Group on Health was deployed in Namibia, Benin, Ecuador and Peru, among others. SEEG has provided the African Union with 1.4 million corona tests. With more than six million people infected, Latin America is one of the regions most affected by the Covid 19 pandemic worldwide. Mexico is in seventh place in terms of numbers with a total of 530,000 infections.
+++ Thursday, August 20th +++
In the reporting week 33, 39 percent (2,952 people) of those who were proven to be infected with Covid-19 probably contracted the disease abroad. This is reported by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in its situation report. In the last four weeks of reporting (30 to 33) a total of 15,942 people have probably become infected abroad. The countries of the Western Balkans, Turkey, Bulgaria, Spain, Romania and Poland were most frequently named as probable countries of infection. Among those infected from Kosovo and Turkey, children and middle-aged people predominate. In contrast, among the cases with probable infection countries Spain and Croatia are more likely to be persons between 20 and 24 years of age. By comparison, the majority of cases that are likely to be due to an infection abroad were eleven in reporting week (46 percent, 2,976 cases). As a result of travel restrictions, this figure has fallen to 0.4 per cent in reporting week 20 (19 cases). With the start of the first border openings in Europe in the 25th reporting week, the proportion of cases indicating a probable country of infection abroad is rising again.
In order to make concerts and alternative, pandemic-proof cultural experiences in Corona times possible, Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters is making up to 80 million euros available to organisers of music festivals and live music programmes of all genres. The funds are part of the 150 million euro rescue and future package Neustart Kultur, which the Federal Government has launched for the music industry in the face of the Corona pandemic. Due to the corona-related cancellation of concerts and festivals, many small and medium-sized companies in the live music industry are threatened in their economic existence. The funding programme is intended to encourage and support them in planning and giving concerts again. "Our goal is to safeguard the immense diversity of our musical life in the metropolises, the cities and in the countryside so that we can all enjoy musical performances again as soon as possible," Grütters explains.
Music festivals can receive up to 250,000 euros from the support programme, and organisers of live music programmes up to 800,000 euros. The application documents and further information will be available here from 7 September 2020.
Larger start-ups have so far received state corona aid amounting to 614 million euros. The Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) announced that 28 applications have been approved for this. The venture capital funds, through which larger start-ups are financed, intend to support around 330 start-ups. To date, the funds have submitted 75 applications with a total volume of 1.16 billion euros. The so-called Corona Matching Facility is part of the two-billion-euro package of measures for start-ups that the Federal Government has drawn up together with KfW and KfW Capital. The facility provides venture capital funds with additional public funds. This enables them to continue to provide sufficient funds to accompany financing rounds for start-ups. Start-ups and small SMEs that do not have access to the Corona Matching Facility are provided with venture capital in close cooperation with the regional companies.
+++ Wednesday, August 19th +++
In view of the increasing number of new corona infections, Chancellor Merkel has called for compliance with corona protection measures. If the rules were observed, " we can also make a lot of public life possible" . In Düsseldorf, Merkel stressed that "everyone can make a contribution". In the last three weeks, the number of corona cases has doubled throughout Germany, said Chancellor Angela Merkel at a joint press conference with North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Armin Laschet. She appealed to the population to comply with the rules: "Anyone returning from a risk area must be placed in quarantine - unless there is a negative test". This test would be mandatory, this is not an "optional rule". The same applies to wearing masks and keeping your distance when shopping and using public transport.
"We are in the middle of a pandemic", reminded the Chancellor, "the virus is there, even if it is not visible". The priorities are to maintain economic life and secure jobs as well as to keep schools and day-care centres running as far as possible. A further easing of restrictions could therefore only be possible if the number of cases decreased again. "Everyone can make a contribution to this", the Chancellor said. The Chancellor thanked all employees of the health authorities: "They are currently doing something really important for us all. Merkel announced a federal-state pact for the public health service to strengthen the health offices. A corresponding conference is planned for September.
+++ Tuesday, August 18th +++
In view of the increasing number of new corona infections, Federal Minister of Health Spahn warns against private festivities as a source of danger. There are local outbreaks all over the country, mostly related to celebrations, Spahn explained on Sunday evening on ZDF television. In addition to travel returnees who carry the virus into the country, social events, where people usually gather under the influence of alcohol, must be considered a source of corona infection, said Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn on ZDF television. "What we see is, at celebrations, events there, it is transmitted very, very quickly", said the Minister. "That's why I think we have to look again with the federal states, what are the limits, what are the regulations for the size of events, for example. Spahn recommended that "for a while at least, we should only celebrate within the immediate family circle". Whether the number of new infections can be kept under control is up to the individual.
+++ Monday, August 17th +++
A fresh coat of paint, better information systems for travellers, more accessibility: Germany's railway stations are to become more attractive. The German government is providing Deutsche Bahn with 40 million euros for this purpose. The funds for the emergency programme come from the federal government's economic stimulus package to strengthen the German economy and combat the consequences of corona. The investments will also support small and medium-sized craft businesses. "The winners are our small and medium-sized businesses and rail customers," said Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer. Nationwide, 167 railway stations will be refurbished this year. Deutsche Bahn will commission regional painters, scaffolders, electricians and other tradesmen to carry out the work, who will thus benefit from the immediate programme.
The immediate action programme will support the following work, among others:
- Replacement of floor coverings, paintwork and facades
- Renewal of stairs, accesses, fences and roofs
- Addition of seating and waiting facilities
- Extension of travel information systems
- Further development of accessibility
- Energetic renovation, for example replacement of heating systems
Renewed widespread closures of schools and daycare centres should be avoided as far as possible. There was agreement on this goal during the informal exchange on Thursday, when Chancellor Angela Merkel, Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek and SPD leader Saskia Esken met with a number of state ministers of education. "It is one of the most difficult tasks in this pandemic to organize school lessons while keeping an eye on all the necessities of infection protection and hygiene regulations," emphasized government spokesman Steffen Seibert at the federal press conference on Friday. The focus of the discussion on Thursday was the expansion of digitization in schools and forms of digital learning. The urgency of the matter was once again demonstrated by the challenges posed by the Corona pandemic. He said that the prerequisites for this were to be created, for example by connecting all schools to fast Internet, providing pupils with affordable access to the Internet at home and equipping teachers with the necessary end devices such as laptops or tablets. Education ministers from seven German states took part in the informal exchange. A further exchange with all ministers of education is to follow.
Due to the current incidence of infection, the Robert Koch Institute has declared the Spanish mainland and the Balearic Islands a risk area. The Foreign Office warns against unnecessary tourist travel to these areas. According to the Federal Foreign Office, the regional centres of infection are located in the Autonomous Communities of Aragon, Catalonia, Navarre, La Rioja, Castile and Leon, the Basque Country, the capital region of Madrid and the Balearic Islands. In Mallorca, Palma de Mallorca is particularly affected.
In the Canary Islands (Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro), however, infection rates remain at a lower level.
Since August 8th, anyone entering the country from a risk area is obliged to be tested for corona infection. Test centres have been set up for this purpose at airports, railway stations and other easily accessible locations. The tests are free of charge for travellers. In addition, all travellers returning from abroad have the opportunity to be tested for the corona virus SARS-CoV-2 voluntarily and free of charge within 72 hours of their return - regardless of the country they come from or whether they show symptoms of the disease.
+++ Friday, August 14th +++
The new SARS-CoV-2 occupational health and safety rule includes technical recommendations for infection protection such as ventilation of rooms and partitions between employees as well as organizational measures - for example the organization of working and break times or work in the home office. For work areas where these measures cannot provide adequate protection against infection, personal measures can be used: for example, the wearing of mouth-and-nose covers. The rule also contains suggestions for dealing with employees who are particularly vulnerable.
Companies that implement the technical, organisational and personal protection measures proposed in the SARS-CoV-2 rule can assume that they are acting in a legally compliant manner. The rule offers nationwide security of action in occupational safety. It creates a uniform basis for the supervisory authorities of the federal states to assess the measures in the companies. The occupational safety rule can help to further improve and expand measures already implemented to protect employees. The SARS-CoV-2 occupational safety regulation will come into force in August.
+++ Thursday, August 13th +++
The German population rates social cohesion after the outbreak of the Corona pandemic better than before. This is indicated by the "Radar of Social Cohesion 2020" of the Bertelsmann Foundation. While in February 46 percent of those surveyed still considered cohesion in Germany to be at risk, this proportion fell to 40 percent in March and fell again in May and June to 36 percent. According to the study, the assessment of those surveyed also shows a positive trend in the area of care and solidarity: While in February 41 percent of those surveyed still felt that citizens did not care about their fellow man, in May and June only 21 percent said they did.
On the other hand, however, the study shows that there are social groups that experience less cohesion in society. These include, for example, people with a low level of education, low economic status, migration background or single parents. Thus, especially those people who already experienced a high level of cohesion before the crisis have less of an impression that the pandemic is a burden on living together. For the study, 3,010 people were questioned representatively in February and March, 1,000 of them again in May and June - after the end of contact restrictions.
In view of the increasing number of new Covid-19 infections, government spokesman Seibert appeals, especially to the young population, to adhere to the protection rules against the Corona pandemic: " We must remain cautious and vigilant in order to do everything possible not to jeopardize what has been achieved lightly. The development of new infections worries him, declared government spokesman Steffen Seibert at the intergovernmental press conference in Berlin. " Because we do not have the one big infection event, but we have many small and medium outbreaks all over the country." Although the health care system is currently well prepared - a worsening of the situation must be avoided at all costs. Seibert appealed to the population to observe the rules of distance and hygiene and to wear mouth and nose protection wherever it is recommended or necessary. "Every individual bears responsibility for himself, his family and his fellow men", emphasised the government spokesman.
Recently, the number of Covid-19 infections in Germany rose by 1,226 to 218,519 on Wednesday. There are also more and more young people among the infected. Everyone can help to further stem the spread of the coronavirus: you must keep your distance, observe hygiene rules and wear everyday masks.
Due to "again high infection rates and local barriers", the Foreign Office has issued a travel warning for the Spanish capital Madrid and the Spanish Basque Country. A warning against unnecessary tourist travel also continues to apply in Spain for the autonomous communities of Aragon, Catalonia and Navarre. You can find the latest travel warnings from the Federal Foreign Office here. An overview of international risk areas is also available from the Robert Koch Institute. Further information on travel can be found here.
Since 8 August, anyone entering from a risk area is obliged to be tested for corona infection. Test centres have been set up for this purpose at airports, railway stations and other easily accessible locations. The tests are free of charge for travellers. In addition, all travellers returning from abroad have the opportunity to be tested for the corona virus SARS-CoV-2 voluntarily and free of charge within 72 hours of their return - regardless of the country they come from or whether they show symptoms of the disease.
+++ Wednesday, August 12th +++
The majority of Germans (59 percent) consider government measures to combat the corona pandemic to be appropriate. This was the result of a survey conducted by ARD-Deutschlandtrends together with infratest dimap in August 2020. 28 percent of those questioned even said that the measures did not go far enough. According to the survey, only eleven percent consider the corona measures to be exaggerated. Further information can be found here. In a joint study by the University of Erfurt with the RKI and the BZgA, 57 percent of the majority were also satisfied with the measures and relaxation. In a study conducted by the University of Heidelberg, more than two thirds (68 percent) stated that they were satisfied with the work of the Federal Government with regard to the containment of the corona pandemic.
In order to contain the corona pandemic, the federal and state governments have agreed on various restrictions and conditions. These still apply, for example, to major events. The Federal Government continues to recommend following the AHA rule in everyday life: Keep your distance, observe the rules of hygiene and wear masks.
Around 65 percent of German companies applied for state aid during the Corona pandemic. 44 percent of them stated that the company would not have survived the corona crisis without state funding or measures. This is the result of a study by the German Business Panel (GBP) of the University of Mannheim in cooperation with ZEW. Among the possible government measures taken up by the companies surveyed were corona emergency aid (33 percent), short-time work and short-time allowance (30 percent) and deferral of tax payments (19 percent). The companies that stated that they would not be able to survive the Corona pandemic without state funding made use of at least one of the measures mentioned.
The survey questioned 8,500 companies. The study was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).
+++ Tuesday, August 11th +++
The Federal Government supports the Länder in resuming regular operations in day-care centres. According to Federal Family Minister Giffey, everything must be done to prevent a second lockdown. Even in times of a pandemic, parents and children would have a right to a functioning day care center. "Parents need clarity and reliability just as much as educators do, so that everyday life in pandemic times can be successful and the overall system functions well. Giffey presented five guidelines that the federal government has developed for resuming regular operations:
- Adhere to hygiene rules, including regular airing and washing of hands.
- Educators should also observe distance rules when in contact with parents. Large events such as summer festivals should be avoided. A mask obligation for children is not practicable.
- Infections should be recognized quickly. Free corona tests should be possible for educators.
- Possible infections should be better tracked. For example, fixed groups in the day-care centres are important.
- Sick and feverish children should not be sent to the day care centres. However, this recommendation does not apply to a harmless cold.
The federal government's investment programme of an additional one billion euros is an important aid for the federal states in the implementation of regular operation, said Giffey. The money could also be used for investments in new hygiene and room concepts or in digitalisation. Giffey also announced the formation of a "Corona-Kita Council", which would include parents, sponsors, states and municipalities. In addition, a study financed by the federal government is accompanying the return to regular operation and researching the role of children in the infection process.
+++ Monday, August 10th +++
People who come from a third country and can prove a permanent partnership with at least one previous personal meeting in Germany or a previous joint residence abroad may re-enter Germany as of today, Monday. Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer welcomed the fact that "we can now make this possible in a European framework". During the German Council Presidency, coordinated European action was very important to him.
For entry from a third country, the following must be presented
- an invitation from the person resident in Germany,
- a jointly signed declaration on the existence of the relationship, and
- Proof of previous meetings through passport stamps, travel documents or airline tickets.
Irrespective of this, travellers from risk areas are obliged to be tested for the coronavirus within 72 hours. Alternatively, a negative corona test not older than 48 hours can be presented. Further information on travel can be found here.
+++ Saturday, August 8th +++
Healthcare and public health services can deal with the current magnitude of new corona infections. Federal Minister of Health Spahn has pointed this out. He said it was important to stabilize the numbers and to pay attention to each other in everyday life. The Robert Koch Institute has recently again recorded more than 1,000 new corona virus infections per day. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn said: "At the moment, we are in any case still at a level that the health care system and the public health service can cope with. Intensive care beds are more than adequately available according to current estimates. But one has to remain alert regarding the further dynamics, said Spahn on the TV channel ZDF. "If we stabilize now at a certain level, we can deal with it," said Spahn. It was up to everyone to pay attention to each other in everyday life.
The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs supports children and youth hospices in the Corona pandemic. 100,000 euros are available for digital services that enable affected families to be accompanied sensitively despite the restrictions. The corona pandemic places an enormous burden on families with terminally ill children and hospice work is significantly more difficult. "Especially in this incredibly difficult situation, the parents, the sick children and also the siblings need professional support and advice. They are dependent on help to cope with their everyday lives," says Federal Minister for Family Affairs Franziska Giffey. The Federal Ministry of Family Affairs is providing around 100,000 euros to enable the German Children's Hospice Association and the Federal Association of Children's Hospices to set up digital services such as virtual exchange and support facilities. Since the beginning of the pandemic, both organizations have recorded a significant increase in the number of calls and e-mails in which families ask for help. Around 50,000 children and young people in Germany suffer from a life-threatening or life-shortening illness.
+++ Friday, August 7th +++
For all those who come back from risk areas "let's play it safe". This was the statement made by Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn on the new regulation, which provides for mandatory coronate tests from Saturday. The compulsory test is an interference with the freedom of the individual, "but I think it is a reasonable interference", said the Minister. In a society it is important to look after and protect each other, he said, and test centres have been set up at airports, railway stations and other easily accessible locations for a few days now. The tests are free of charge for travellers. Spahn emphasized: "We as a society must not let the question of testing become a social issue." At the end of the holidays, the risk of bringing the virus from abroad to Germany increases. The following already applies: Anyone who was in a risk area in the two weeks before entering Germany must go into quarantine or prove a negative test result that is not older than two days.
+++ Thursday, August 6th +++
The Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) has raised hopes that a vaccination against the corona virus will be available relatively quickly. "Confidence is high, because we have just seen in recent weeks that we have obtained results from the first clinical trials that show that some vaccines can actually induce a specific immune response in humans against coronavirus 2," said PEI President Klaus Cichutek. This was very good news. Worldwide, there are 140 to 150 vaccine projects in this field; in Germany, 26 clinical trials are already underway, Cichutek explained on ZDF television. In a new video, the PEI, which is responsible for the approval of vaccines in Germany, shows how a vaccine is developed - from the identification of antigens to testing in three phases and approval.
You can watch the video here.
+++ Wednesday, August 5th +++
The Foreign Office's warning against unnecessary tourist trips abroad has been lifted on 4 August for the four Turkish provinces of Antalya, Izmir, Aydin and Mugla. There is a low incidence of infection there, with about five new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days. Turkey has developed a special tourism and hygiene concept for these four regions in order to realize safe tourism under the conditions of the pandemic.
+++ Tuesday, August 4th +++
Criticism must always be possible in a democracy, said deputy government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer on Monday. "But the pictures we had to see at the weekend are unacceptable, the behaviour of many demonstrators is in no way justified and exploits the high value of freedom of demonstration." There had been massive breaches of hygiene rules during the large demonstration in Berlin at the weekend and basic safety measures had been disregarded. In addition, according to all we know, there were also inhuman statements and the press was hindered in its work. This was to be condemned in the strongest possible terms.
Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht also emphasized that freedom of demonstration was "a particularly important legal asset". However, the conditions for containing the pandemic had to be observed in order not to endanger others. "I have no sympathy for demonstrators who are high-handedly ignoring this", she told the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Twitter: "Yes, demonstrations must be possible even in corona times. But not like this. Distance, hygiene rules and everyday masks serve to protect us all; this is how we treat each other with respect and appreciate the renunciation of so many in this pandemic.
The Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) has raised hopes that a vaccination against the corona virus will be available relatively quickly. "Confidence is high, because we have just seen in recent weeks that we have obtained results from the first clinical trials that show that some vaccines can actually induce a specific immune response in humans against coronavirus 2," said PEI President Klaus Cichutek. This was very good news. There are 140 to 150 vaccine projects in this area worldwide. "We already have 26 clinical trials underway, and six of these clinical trials are already at a stage where statistically significant safety and efficacy data in humans are being collected again," Cichutek explained on ZDF television. The PEI is responsible for the approval of vaccines in Germany.
"We want to prevent the dying of shops in the inner cities," says Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier. He is also counting on digitization to strengthen retailers and make shopping and spending time in city centers more attractive for customers, as he told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur. "We have seen that since the Corona pandemic, many more shops are being done online. We have to help shop owners in the city centres to digitalise their customer relations in such a way that it also benefits fashion and shoe shops", the Federal Minister of Economics explained. A meeting with all parties involved is to be held in September to work out an effective concept.
+++ Monday, August 3rd +++
All travellers returning from abroad now have the opportunity to be tested for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 voluntarily and free of charge within 72 hours of their return - regardless of the country they are coming from or whether they show symptoms of the disease. Those entering the country from a risk area must either be tested or can alternatively be placed in domestic quarantine for 14 days. In future, every person entering the country from a risk area will be required to be tested for corona infection. In addition, returnees from risk areas will be obliged to report to their local health authority. The corona test result must not be older than 48 hours.
In order to stop the spread of the corona virus, the Federal Government Commissioner for Tourism, Thomas Bareiß, appeals to holidaymakers returning from risk areas to have themselves tested. "This is for their own protection, but also for general security. Passengers from risk areas by train and car should also be tested. Travel must not become a danger". said Bareiß in an interview. Each individual bears a special responsibility for his fellow men.
On Friday the Federal Foreign Office issued a travel warning for the three northern Spanish regions of Aragón, Catalonia and Navarre. "There are currently warnings against unnecessary tourist travel to the autonomous communities of Aragón, Catalonia and Navarre due to renewed high infection rates and local closures. according to the Foreign Office. There are currently new regional centres of infection in these areas with an incidence of more than 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants per seven days, which is why the Robert Koch Institute has declared Aragón, Catalonia and Navarre to be risk areas.
With the federal programme "Securing Training Places", the Federal Government supports small and medium-sized enterprises in particular. The first funding guideline was launched on August 1. Within this guideline, companies can benefit from premiums or grants that
- maintain or increase their level of training, although they are affected by Corona start,
- Do not send apprentices and trainers on short-time work,
- Take over trainees from insolvent companies.
"A good education is also the best protection against unemployment. It's important to me that young people can get an apprenticeship despite the Corona crisis. said Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil. 410 million euros are available for the first funding guideline, and the Federal Government is supporting the programme with a total of 500 million euros.
The Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy is increasing the funds for the "Impfkraft" project at the University of Tübingen by five million euros. With the outbreak of the corona pandemic, the project has focused entirely on the development of a comprehensively effective vaccine against the novel corona viruses and has made considerable progress in this regard. "Combating the pandemic and its economic consequences is a top priority for me. Innovative German start-ups in particular can make an important contribution to the global fight against COVID-19," said Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier. The world will need more than one vaccine candidate to defeat the virus.
+++ Friday, July 31st +++
The Expert Group on Health of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has handed over a first large corona aid delivery to the African Union. A total of around 1.4 million corona tests have been made available to the African Union to combat the corona pandemic. These measures are part of BMZ's corona emergency programme. Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller: "Corona is far from being defeated. Worldwide, 17 million people have become infected with the virus. The numbers are rising rapidly, particularly in developing and emerging countries. Our neighbouring continent of Africa reports around 20,000 new infections every day - twice as many as a month ago. With 450,000 confirmed infections, South Africa already ranks fifth among the countries with the most corona cases worldwide. We must do everything we can to stop the spread of the disease.
Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters is supporting the programme "Artists*innenförderung der Initiative Musik" within the framework of the future programme NEUSTART KULTUR with an additional ten million euros. The programme is aimed at solo artists and bands who, together with their commercial partners, produce and release albums and concert tours. "With the approximately one billion euro rescue and future programme NEUSTART KULTUR, we want to support the cultural and creative industries and make artistic work and cultural life possible again," Grütters emphasises. The increase in the established support of the Initiative Musik with an additional ten million euros is another important building block for the preservation and strengthening of the unique music scene in Germany. "In this way we are directly supporting the artistic work of the musicians who so urgently need our help in the Corona pandemic," Grütters continued. You can read more about the Initiative Musik here. The dance scene in Germany also receives support. A multi-part aid programme for the independent professional dance scene, for which up to 20 million euros have been made available, will strengthen artists, as well as production facilities, festivals and other areas. "The dance scene has been particularly hard hit by the Corona crisis. This is all the more true as dancers often have only a limited period of time in which to achieve artistic excellence," says Grütters.
The German government will support three pharmaceutical companies with a total of 750 million euros from the Special Programme for Vaccine Development. This was announced by Federal Research Minister Karliczek after an independent panel of experts had made its recommendations. The 750 million euros from the special programme will go to the vaccine developers BioNTech from Mainz, CureVac from Tübingen and IDT Biologika from Dessau. In return, the German government expects that an appropriate proportion of the production of an approved vaccine will be made available for supply in Germany, said Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek in a press statement. In a next step, intensive talks with the companies on the exact structure of the financial support are now pending, said the Minister. The funding of the three companies in Germany will cover the establishment of study and production capacities in the country. All three companies are promising, but each is pursuing a different approach", said the Minister. Setbacks must also be expected. "But we must not expect miracles," warned Karliczek against too much euphoria. In all probability, vaccines will not be available before mid 2021.
+++ Thursday, July 30th +++
Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier sees the recent increase in new corona infections in Germany as an "important warning sign". As the minister emphasized in an interview, this development is endangering the economic recovery in the country. He said that the number of cases "worries him". The Minister was convinced that it is possible to stem the rise without another nationwide shutdown. "And that means that we must now work together during the summer break to ensure that the worrying development of individual case numbers does not become a worrying trend," he warned. To stop the spread of the corona virus, the Federal Government Commissioner for Tourism, Thomas Bareiß, is appealing to holidaymakers returning from high-risk areas to have themselves tested. "This is for their own protection, but also for general security. Passengers from risk areas by train and car should also be tested. Travelling must not become a danger", said Bareiß in an interview. Each individual bears a special responsibility for his or her fellow human beings.
In order to remedy the shortcomings, the Federal Government has passed the draft of an Occupational Safety and Health Control Act. The aim of the law is to secure workers' rights, especially in the meat industry. The efficiency of state supervision is to be strengthened. In the meat industry, work contracts are to be banned from 1 January 2021 and temporary work from 1 April 2021: In future, slaughtering, cutting and meat processing may only be carried out by the owner's own permanent staff. This regulation will not apply to the butchery trade. In addition, the law lays down minimum standards for the accommodation of workers recruited or sent from abroad. The density of inspections of establishments by the health and safety authorities is also to be gradually increased.
+++ Wednesday, July 29th +++
Every person entering Germany from a risk area will be required to be tested for corona infection. Those who are negative can then return to their everyday life. This is provided for by a regulation of the Federal Ministry of Health, which was announced by Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn in a switching conference with the Health Ministers of the Federal States.
"We must prevent travel returnees from infecting others unnoticed and thus triggering new chains of infection. That is why I will order a compulsory test for travellers from risk areas. This serves to protect all citizens," said Spahn. The basis of the regulation is § 5 paragraph 2 No. 1 e of the Infection Protection Act. The ordinance adapting the National Test Strategy is expected to come into force next week. The tests are to be free of charge for travelers. You can read more about this here.
The current legal situation is: Anyone entering Germany from a risk area must go into domestic quarantine for 14 days. You can find out which areas and countries are designated as risk areas and what the basis for these decisions is on the pages of the Robert Koch Institute here.
+++ Tuesday, July 28th +++
"We must work to reduce the number of infections again. They should be at their lowest possible level by the end of the summer." The head of the Chancellor's office, Helge Braun, has expressed concern about the recent rise in Covid-19 infection rates in Germany. In addition to local outbreaks, for example in meat processing plants, among seasonal workers or in shared accommodation, another phenomenon has been noticeable in recent days: smaller outbreaks in the family environment, due to leisure activities and due to people returning from travel, Braun said on Monday.
Germany has so far come through the crisis well. "But if we want to get through the crisis well in autumn and winter, it is crucial that we act now," Braun explained. "Those who do not observe general rules on contact and distance in their leisure time or when travelling are not only a risk to themselves, but such behaviour is also directed against the common good," said Braun. All citizens are still urged to adhere to the basic rules to contain the spread of the coronavirus: keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres, observe rules of hygiene, wear a mouth-nose cover. A further building block in the fight against the pandemic is the use of the Corona Warning App.
Anyone currently returning from a risk area is obliged to go into quarantine. "Such a quarantine can only be lifted if you voluntarily undergo a test and it is negative," says Braun. It is "very important that everyone who is affected really follows these quarantine rules consistently". Braun said he was still in discussion with Health Minister Jens Spahn and the federal states about possible mandatory tests for people returning from risk areas. It is still too early to make a decision on this.
+++ Monday, July 27th +++
The federal and state ministers of health decided to introduce corona tests for people returning from travel. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn announced that the National Test Strategy would be updated accordingly. "All travel returnees should be able to be tested within three days", Spahn explained. For travellers from risk areas, the tests will be offered directly at the airport. The offer is to be free and voluntary, meaning that tests will only be carried out at the traveller's own request. In addition, it was decided that an obligation to test for entries from risk areas should be legally examined, or alternatively, anyone returning to Germany from a holiday in a foreign risk area and not presenting a negative test should be placed in a 14-day quarantine. Spahn added: "A test is not a free ticket, but always only a snapshot. Sensible behaviour and vigilance remain indispensable".
With the now released version 1.1.1, the Corona Warning App ensures that a problem with the automatic background update on certain Android devices is fixed. After an update, users must open the app once and activate "Prioritized background activity" in the settings. The background: Certain Android devices prevent apps from running permanently in the background. The manufacturers want to minimize the battery consumption in this way. This also applies to the Corona Warning app. For the affected devices, the stored codes were therefore not automatically synchronized with the server - but only if the app was opened or the settings were adjusted accordingly. Important: Despite this limitation, the app always exchanged anonymous codes with other smartphones in the vicinity. The problem had been known for a long time. The developer FAQ for the Corona Warning App explains how to fix it. Also, operating system related limitations in the automatic warning of iOS devices are now fixed.
The Corona-Warn-App works well - as with all new developments there are technical challenges. The head of the German Chancellery, Helge Braun, the Federal Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, and the CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG and the CEO of SAP SE pointed this out in a joint statement. "We want to convince even more people of the app. It is an important tool in the fight against the pandemic. Everyone who uses it makes a difference."
The aim of the "Conclusions on compliance with the necessary hygiene and infection control measures" is to restore passenger confidence in public transport and to minimise the risk of infection for all concerned. For example, the Council advocates a set of basic hygiene and infection control measures to be applied to all international public passenger transport services. These include, among others:
- maintaining physical distance or, if that is not possible, the wearing of masks
- increased use of digital ticketing and digital ticket controls,
- Compliance with high standards for fresh air circulation and cleanliness in means of transport.
+++ Friday, July 24th +++
For the research of coronavirus vaccines, the European Commission is investing 100 million euros in a project of the international research alliance CEPI, reports the German government on its website. The financial resources are part of the EU research and innovation programme "Horizon 2020". The project aims in particular at effective prevention measures against Covid-19 and treatments as well as rapid vaccine production. The European Commission as well as the relevant governments and international partners have pledged a total of €15.9 billion for universal access to tests, treatments and vaccines.
+++ Thursday, July 23rd +++
From now on the Corona-Warn-App is also available in Turkish. It can be downloaded free of charge for the operating systems iOs and Android in the App Stores and at Google Play. The app is now available in three languages - German, English and Turkish. The App hotline (+49 800 7540 001) is now also available in Turkish with the new language version. To use the already downloaded German version of the Corona-Warn App in Turkish, the new update must be installed. It is also necessary to set the system language of the phone to Turkish.
The Corona-Warn-App has already been downloaded more than 16 million times. The application helps us to determine whether we have come into contact with an infected person and whether there is a risk of infection. In this way, chains of infection can be broken more quickly. The app is an offer from the German government. Download and use of the Corona Warning App is completely voluntary.
Further information on the Corona-Warn-App can be found here.
+++ Tuesday, July 21th +++
EU heads of state and government on Tuesday morning approved a 750 billion euro reconstruction fund. This includes European Union grants of 390 billion euros and guarantees. In particular, it is intended to support the states severely affected by the Corona pandemic. In addition, an EU budget framework for 2021 to 2027 with a volume of 1.074 billion euros was agreed. "This was not easy", said Chancellor Angela Merkel after the negotiations, but what counted was "that we pulled ourselves together in the end". The 27 heads of state and government had been discussing a financial framework to combat the economic consequences of the Corona pandemic in Brussels since Friday.
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is providing a total of 45 million euros to support research into effective strategies and therapies for the treatment of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the disease Covid-19. 90 outstanding projects will benefit from the investment, said Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek. The aim is to launch research projects on the virus in the short term. These projects will focus in particular on strategies for the prevention and control of the virus, such as an effective vaccine and medication. Karliczek emphasised that never before have so many funds been mobilised for science as during the corona pandemic. In the process, science has gained the confidence of the population. The call for funds, which started at the beginning of March, initially provided for federal funding of 15 million euros. Special conditions applied: In a particularly rapid procedure, well over 500 project ideas were evaluated by independent experts. Karliczek emphasized that research was always conducted with a European perspective in mind. "Only together can we overcome the pandemic."
+++ Monday, July 20th +++
Nationwide, a distance of at least 1.5 metres must still be maintained, hygiene rules must be observed and everyday masks must be worn in shops, buses and trains, for example. The measures against the corona pandemic continue to meet with a high level of approval among citizens. For example, 87 percent of people in Germany think it is right that masks should continue to be compulsory when shopping. Furthermore, according to the Politbarometer of the Wahlen Research Group, 73 percent of those questioned generally believe that the prescribed mouth-and-nose masks help a great deal or very much to reduce the spread of corona viruses. The distance regulation is considered appropriate by 90 per cent of people, as the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment determined for its corona monitor. The acceptance of the measures taken by the Federal Government as a whole is also high. Just under two thirds consider the measures adopted by politicians in March to combat the corona pandemic to be exactly right, according to the BMG "Corona-Bund Study", in which the ifo Institute, Forsa and Charité Berlin participated.
+++ Friday, July 17th +++
The Federal Government and the Länder have agreed on concrete measures to combat regional outbreaks of Covid-19 in a targeted manner. If an outbreak occurs in a specific "cluster", such as a company, a leisure group or at a family celebration, tried and tested measures will be taken: quarantine, contact tracing and testing of the affected persons and their contacts. If there is a further increase in infections beyond the "cluster", the containment measures will be extended. Travellers from a particularly affected area may only be accommodated in a tourist accommodation or enter a country without quarantine measures if they can present a test that is no more than 48 hours old. Travellers returning from abroad and other travellers who have stayed in a risk area within the 14 days prior to entry must continue to be placed in domestic quarantine for 14 days directly after arrival.
With a view to Majorca parties without a safe distance, Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has pointed out the importance of protective measures even on holiday. Many holiday regions would have worked hard for months to ensure that tourists could now enter again. "The regulations serve to protect: the local people, the friends and families in Germany to whom we are returning and ultimately the holidaymakers themselves," said Maas in an interview with the Funke media group. Commenting on the pictures of Mallorca, where hundreds of people had celebrated at the weekend without wearing protective masks and keeping a safe distance, Maas explained: "Such behaviour is not only dangerous, but also inconsiderate towards all those who also want to spend their holidays in safety.
1.8 million self-employed people, smaller craft businesses and freelancers have so far applied for subsidies in the Corona pandemic - to settle costs such as rent or leasing instalments and not be forced to give up business. More than 14 billion euros have been paid out. This was said by Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier in a round of questions on Twitter. He also referred to loans and aid for small and medium-sized businesses and larger companies. Altmaier said that the Corona pandemic had been a hard landing for the economy. Compared to many others in Europe and outside Europe, Germany has so far come through the crisis well. "We see that optimism is slowly returning. That is very good. We see that growth is also slowly returning," said the Federal Minister of Economics.
+++ Thursday, July 16th +++
Even though the number of new cases in Germany has stabilized at a comparatively low level over the past few weeks, the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread rapidly worldwide. For example, Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA) recorded a total of around 13.3 million infections on Wednesday and more than 578,000 deaths so far. "In the world we have seen such strong increases as never before," said the President of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, Prof. Dr. Lothar Wieler. The pandemic is on the move worldwide and almost all countries have reported cases. As he explained at a press conference on Monday, the number of infections had increased by one million in the short period of only five days before. "Above all, we are seeing an increase in new cases from countries that have eased or relaxed measures such as contact restrictions despite the rising number of cases," said Wieler. He emphasised that the virus is a binary organism that wants nothing more than to multiply. "And if we give it the chance, it does." Wieler appealed to continue to follow the AHA rules - distance, hygiene, everyday masks.
The US government now does not want to expel foreign students who can only attend online courses because of the corona pandemic. The government of President Donald Trump withdrew plans to withdraw student visas as of the winter semester, which it had announced last week. Several universities and states had gone to court against the controversial plan. About 9200 German students are in the USA. Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek welcomed the US government's decision and that students now had security about their status again: "Science and research live from exchange, especially international exchange. This must also apply in times of a pandemic." Especially in these times, she said, "it shows that science worldwide is only able to get this pandemic under control if we work together."
Culture is "fundamental for our democracy" - this is emphasized by Monika Grütters, Minister of State for Culture and the Media. "We need museums, theatres and concert halls not only as places of culture, but also as social places where we can meet and exchange ideas with other people," she said in an interview with the German Press Agency. Grütters also referred to the consequences of the Corona pandemic. "The longer the return to normality takes, the more dramatic the situation becomes for artists". Online, she said, "new digital offerings are emerging at breathtaking speed in the cultural sector in particular. Here the cultural sector could emerge from the crisis more strongly than it has entered it. With the "Neustart Kultur" programme, the Federal Government has launched a rescue package worth one billion euros. As part of this, the programme for corona-related reconstruction measures is being launched, from which museums, theatres, music clubs and festivals, literature houses and socio-cultural centres in particular will benefit.
+++ Wednesday, July 15th +++
Working in the home office - before the Corona pandemic it was not very common, but when it started it became everyday life for many families. In 2018, only 5.3 percent of employees in Germany stated that they worked at home for at least half the days. In April 2020, 23 percent of employees were working predominantly in their home office. This is shown by figures from the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB) in Wiesbaden. According to these figures, there are currently around 14.6 million families in Germany with 11.1 million underage children and adolescents living in their households. Especially parents with younger children under twelve years of age would have faced great challenges during this time due to short-time work, home office and contact restrictions, according to the BiB. However, the study also shows, among other things, that the gender differences in domestic and family work have become smaller. Fathers on short-time work, for example, would take on more family work - and see this in a very positive light. The director of the Federal Institute, Prof. Dr. Norbert F. Schneider, also sees the Corona phase as a learning process for the organisation of work in the future: "It can be assumed that the experiences during the lockdown will lead to a new balance of presence and absence at the workplace in the long term.
"We are of course keeping a very close eye on the vaccine issue," said Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek on Tuesday during a visit to the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE). Worldwide, the development of a vaccine against Covid-19 is being worked on under high pressure, because in order to be able to return to a form of normality in the long term, a vaccine is a very decisive component, said Karliczek.
She highlighted the research for a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus carried out by the German Centre for Infection Research. The project stands for good cooperation between universities and beyond. Other current projects focus on the medical consequences of covid-19 disease, for example for human cardiovascular systems. In the afternoon, the Federal Minister of Education and Research also visited the University of Lübeck to learn more about current corona research. "Research is an essential key in the fight against the corona virus," she said.
The Federal Government has set up a special national programme with a volume of up to 750 million euros to strengthen research into vaccines against the corona virus and to make provisions for production.
+++ Tuesday, July 14th +++
"We have steered our country well through the crisis so far. The citizens have played a major role in this," said Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn. In view of the beginning holiday season, however, he warned against lulling oneself into a false sense of security. The Corona pandemic was not yet over, he said, especially with regard to the world. The number of infections worldwide is higher than ever before. "The danger of a second wave is real", said the Federal Minister of Health. Spahn appealed to citizens to continue to observe rules of distance and hygiene and to wear everyday masks wherever it is intended. He was concerned about the pictures from the weekend in Mallorca. "We must be very careful that the Ballermann does not become a second Ischgl" - as a synonym for celebrating there without adhering to rules and without paying attention to each other. "When in doubt, we should be more careful once too much than once too little. This also applies, especially on holiday," said Spahn.
Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz called for the joint fight against the consequences of Corona to be "a turning point for the European Union". The EU must now "do everything it can to emerge from the crisis with full force", Scholz stressed before the first meeting of EU Economics and Finance Ministers under the German Council Presidency. The meeting took place as a video conference. In the current economic situation, but also with a view to challenges such as climate protection and digitisation, a strong and sovereign Europe was needed, said Scholz. "We want the best Europe we can be. To this end, we want to take the next step", said the Minister. The priority for Germany was to agree on a reconstruction package and implement it. The members of ECOFIN have set themselves the task of "taking the necessary legislative accompanying processes and decisions" as soon as the basic outlines of a reconstruction programme are available. Other topics of the conference were the convergence reports of the European Commission and the European Central Bank and the final report of the High-Level Forum on the European Capital Market Union.
+++ Monday, July 13th +++
The Corona aid programme "Neustart Kultur" of the Federal Government is launched. The first recipients of funds from the billion-euro package include six federal culture funds. They will receive a total of up to 50 million euros. For their part, the funds will focus on providing direct support for artists - for example through scholarships. This will financially strengthen the Arts Fund Foundation, the German Literature Fund, the Performing Arts Fund, the Socio-Culture Fund, the German Translator's Fund and the Music Fund. The Federal Government is also supporting the Frankfurt Book Fair with four million euros from the "New Start" programme. The Book Fair, which is to take place from 14 to 18 October, will use the funds to reduce the stand fees for small and medium-sized publishing companies by up to 50 per cent. The funds will also be used to further expand a digital platform. "The publishing and book industry is also suffering greatly from the Corona crisis", emphasised Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters. She therefore welcomed the fact that the world's biggest book fair is taking place despite the more difficult conditions. "We want to support this" according to Grütters. The "Neustart Kultur" program, worth one billion euros, was approved by the German Bundestag last week. It consists of four sub-programmes: "Pandemic-related investments", "Strengthening the cultural industry", "Support for alternative, including digital, cultural offerings" and assistance in the event of "pandemic-related loss of income and additional needs of the houses and projects supported by the Federal Government".
Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz has called for the joint fight against corona effects to be "a turning point for the European Union". The EU must now "do everything it can to emerge from the crisis with full force". Scholz emphasised before the first meeting of the EU Economics and Finance Ministers under the German Council Presidency. The meeting took place as a video conference. In the current economic situation, but also with a view to challenges such as climate protection and digitisation, a strong and sovereign Europe was needed, said Scholz. "We want the best Europe we can be. To this end, we want to take the next step". said the minister. The priority for Germany was to agree on a reconstruction package and its implementation. The members of ECOFIN have set themselves the task of "taking the necessary legislative accompanying processes and decisions" as soon as the basic outlines of a reconstruction programme are available. Other topics of the conference were the convergence reports of the European Commission and the European Central Bank and the final report of the High-Level Forum on the European Capital Market Union.
+++ Thursday, July 9th +++
"The top priority of the German Presidency is for Europe to emerge from the crisis united and stronger". said Chancellor Angela Merkel in a speech to the European Parliament. However, she said that it was not only a matter of short-term stabilization - but also of a Europe that faces up to the challenges of the present with self-confidence and courage, that is fit for the future, and that asserts its place in the world in an innovative and sustainable manner. Together with French President Emmanuel Macron, she had proposed a European reconstruction fund of 500 billion euros. She is pleased that the European Commission is taking many aspects of the Franco-German initiative into account in its proposal for a multiannual financial framework and reconstruction programme. The aim is to reach agreement as quickly as possible. Germany took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months on 1 July - under the motto "Together. Making Europe strong again' . "The management of the pandemic and its consequences will shape our Council Presidency. At the same time, we must always keep an eye on the other major challenges of our time which still exist. said the chancellor.
The EU Commission has approved the central set of rules for granting aid from the economic stabilisation fund. The fund is intended to help support companies that were healthy and competitive before the crisis. The fund is intended to guarantee liquidity and provide companies with equity capital. For many companies, the consequences of the Corona pandemic are serious: many are experiencing liquidity shortages through no fault of their own, jobs are threatened. For this reason, the Federal Government decided to establish the Economic Stabilization Fund as early as March. Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier is certain: "With the green light from Brussels, we can now get the Economic Stabilization Fund off the ground quickly. This will enable us to help larger companies, family businesses and medium-sized enterprises in particular even better through the effects of the corona pandemic."
Small and medium-sized enterprises that had to cease or severely restrict their business operations in the wake of the Corona pandemic can now receive further liquidity support. The bridging aid is an essential part of the economic stimulus package that the German government has launched to help Germany overcome the crisis quickly. Tax consultants, auditors or certified accountants can apply for the grants for affected companies. An application platform has been made available for this purpose as of today. After successful registration, applications can be submitted online from 10 July and until 31 August 2020 at the latest.
+++ Wednesday, July 8th +++
The Federal Government has adopted a further package of measures to facilitate the financing of export transactions. The proven state export credit guarantees ("Hermes guarantees") are particularly important in the current situation. They insure foreign transactions against political and economic risks, for example, also in the event of payment difficulties of foreign customers. Among other things, exporters and export financing banks are to receive improved financing terms for new export transactions, for example reduced down payments and delayed repayments for certain transactions. "We relieve companies that are suddenly faced with existential challenges through no fault of their own. At the same time, we are creating new incentives abroad to order goods and services from Germany," says Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier.
+++ Tuesday, July 7th +++
Everyday masks remain an indispensable means of keeping infection rates low in the corona pandemic, especially during the holiday season. This was emphasized by government spokesman Steffen Seibert on Monday. On the bus, in the subway or in retail stores "it should remain a duty to wear masks". said Seibert at the federal press conference. According to Seibert, mobility in Germany is increasing strongly again. "And this new mobility is to be welcomed. It makes our lives easier, it makes our lives more beautiful." But it must go hand in hand with respect for the rules that have worked so well in the fight against this pandemic: Keeping distance, maintaining hygiene and wearing masks where necessary. Health Minister Jens Spahn also spoke out in favour of the continued use of everyday masks: " I understand impatience" , so Spahn. It is not always pleasant to wear a mask. In closed rooms, however, and where a minimum distance is not always guaranteed, "everyday masks can make a difference in protecting oneself and, above all, others. said Spahn in an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio.
During a videoconference Council meeting, the Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs of the European Union exchanged views on how citizens dealt with the restriction of their rights in the early months of the Corona pandemic. "Parliaments and courts were able to act even under difficult conditions", said Federal Minister of Justice Christine Lambrecht. And she emphasized: "No freedom may be restricted only one day longer than absolutely necessary". The meeting was chaired by the German Federal Minister of Justice and attended by the 26 other EU Justice Ministers and the Vice-President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, the Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Gilles de Kerchove, and from the European Parliament the Chairmen of the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI), Adrián Vázquez Lázara, and of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), Juan Fernando López Aguilar. The talks also focused on the fight against hatred and incitement and disinformation in times of Corona. The Covid 19 pandemic in particular was accompanied by a massive wave of false information and attempts to influence and distort social debates.
+++ Friday, July 3rd +++
The Bundestag has adopted the economic stimulus and future development package launched by the Federal Government. It provides for a further 24 billion euros for measures against the economic consequences of the corona pandemic. The money is to be used to secure jobs and prosperity in the long term and to get the economy moving again quickly. The Bundestag's decision on the economic stimulus package shows the strength and speed of democracy, said Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. With this decision, the plenary session has created the legal basis for supporting families, communities and companies. With both addenda - the first addendum of March 2020 amounted to 122.5 billion euros - the federal budget for 2020 provides for total expenditure of 508.5 billion euros. Expenditure on investments will rise to 71.3 billion euros. To finance this, Germany will take out loans of 217.8 billion euros this year.
In order to make artistic work possible during the Corona pandemic as well, Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters has set up a unique aid programme: Up to 5.4 million euros in immediate aid for independent orchestras and ensembles are available within this framework. A decision has now been taken on the applications for funding. A total of 27 independent orchestras and ensembles will each receive up to 200,000 euros. The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, the Ensemble Musikfabrik and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, among others, will be supported. The aid programme will run until the end of 2020 and is funded by the "Excellent Orchestra Landscape Germany" funding programme, which is to be continued regularly from January 2021.
For trips booked before 8 March 2020 that cannot be carried out due to the Corona pandemic, the tour operator can offer the travellers a voucher. In this way, travel companies are to be protected against insolvency. In addition to supporting the tour operator, the voucher brings a further advantage for the customer: In the event that the insolvency insurance of the provider is not sufficient, the customer also receives a state guarantee up to the full value of the trip. If the voucher is not redeemed by the end of 2021 at the latest, the value must be repaid to the customer in the amount of the original travel price. Travellers can also refuse the voucher and thus claim immediate reimbursement. However, there is a risk that in the event of the organiser's insolvency the claim will only amount to part of the value of the holiday.
+++ Thursday, June 2nd +++
Since 1 July, Germany has held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. A central topic: the Covid 19 pandemic and its health, economic and social consequences. Under the motto "Together. In the coming six months, Germany will make a greater contribution to shaping Europe and work to ensure that Europe emerges from the crisis stronger than before. This involves regaining economic strength and competitiveness, but also social cohesion. "May I say on behalf of the entire Federal Government that we are determined to do everything we can to move forward together as Europeans," Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed in her government statement in the Bundestag. In addition to tackling the corona pandemic, Germany wants to tackle important issues such as climate protection, digitization and Europe's role in the world.
In deciding to allow citizens from selected third countries to re-enter Germany, the Federal Cabinet is following a recommendation of the Council of the European Union. The Council had proposed the gradual lifting of restrictions for third countries with a low incidence of infection. The list of states is to be updated every two weeks on the basis of the latest epidemiological situation. Third countries are those states that do not belong to the European Union.
Germany initially allows entry from the following states: Australia, Georgia, Canada, Montenegro, New Zealand, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. For three further states (China, Japan and South Korea), the entry restrictions will be lifted on condition that these states in turn expand the entry possibilities for German citizens. In addition, entry should be possible for travellers from third countries if there is an "important reason for travel". Such a reason for travel exists, for example, if the traveller has an existing right of residence in Germany, is active in the fields of health care, care for the elderly or goods transport, or if the entry takes place within the framework of family reunion.
Irrespective of the entry possibilities, a quarantine obligation based on the Infection Protection Act continues to apply in all federal states in Germany for entry and return travellers from the risk areas defined by the RKI. With the exception of transit passengers, this also applies to passengers with an important reason to travel. An exception from quarantine applies in the case of a current negative test.
+++ Wednesday, July 1st +++
According to the Federal Environment Agency, there is no increased risk of infection with the novel coronavirus when swimming in a lake or open-air pool. Due to the dilution in water or the constant water treatment in open-air and indoor swimming pools, an infection is extremely unlikely. The WHO also sees no evidence that the coronavirus is transmitted via water. In principle, however, persons suffering from an acute respiratory tract infection or diarrhoea should not go swimming in order not to endanger others. The following applies to visits to the lake or open-air swimming pool: Keep contact restrictions and a minimum distance of 1.5 metres and observe the general rules of hygiene. Many bathing establishments have adopted a policy of restricting admission and closing off indoor showers and changing rooms. Find out about the rules directly from your federal state, locally in the community or from the respective operator of the bath.
Since the start of the support programmes on 23 March 2020, tens of thousands of companies have benefited from the federal government's credit assistance in the fight against the corona pandemic. "The aid arrives exactly where it is needed, namely primarily at small and medium-sized companies", says Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier. By the end of June the state development bank KfW had received around 70,000 loan applications with a total volume of around 50 billion euros. 99 percent of the applications received have already been finally decided. The committed volume is 33.5 billion euros - only large-volume loan applications are still being examined.
Of the applications, 98.5 percent have a maximum volume of three million euros - a total of 19.5 billion euros. The majority of small and medium-sized enterprises have thus benefited from KfW Corona assistance. EUR 26 billion is accounted for by around 350 applicants with a loan volume of more than ten million euros. The strongest demand was from the end of April to the beginning of May. During this period more than 30,000 applications were received. At peak times KfW accepted more than 2,000 applications per day - in addition to its regular promotional business - and for the most part made commitments immediately.
+++ Monday, June 29th +++
Chancellor Merkel stressed the joint efforts of Germany and France in the economic reconstruction of Europe after the Corona pandemic. She said that Germany, France and the European Union were facing economic challenges of a kind never seen before. "We can only move forward together", said Chancellor Merkel at a joint press conference with President Macron. This is why both countries wanted to work together to ensure that "Europe comes through the crisis, which will last for a long time, in good health and in good shape". In addition to the reconstruction programme, the Chancellor highlighted other priorities for the EU Council presidency, which Germany will hold from 1 July and France from 2022. Germany and France had set themselves the goal of playing a role that made it clear that "Europe is our future", said Merkel. The main issues at stake will be climate protection, increasing sovereignty in digitisation and the EU's international relations - for example with Africa, China and the transatlantic relationship. In May, Germany and France launched a joint initiative for Europe's economic recovery. The goal: Europe should emerge from the crisis stronger, more united and in solidarity. 500 billion euros are to be made available for this purpose.
The Bundestag and Bundesrat have approved the reduction in value-added tax and other fiscal aid initiated by the Federal Government. The VAT rates will be reduced from 19 to 16 percent and from seven to five percent. The reduced rates are to apply as early as 1 July and are limited until 31 December 2020. The aim is to ease the burden on citizens and at the same time stimulate domestic demand. The decisions are part of the economic stimulus package agreed by the governing coalition. In order to relieve the economy, tax aid for companies has also been agreed. These include improved depreciation options for business assets, an expansion of tax research subsidies and more options for offsetting losses.
The Bundestag has approved the child bonus of 300 euros for each child, which was initiated by the Federal Government, and the Bundesrat has agreed to it. The bonus will be paid in two tranches of 150 euros each in September and October together with the child benefit. It will not be credited against social benefits. However, it will be credited against the child allowance - from which families with higher incomes benefit. The child bonus is thus specifically aimed at families with small and medium incomes. As single parents are particularly challenged by the higher childcare costs and the associated expenses, the relief contribution will also be increased significantly. The contribution reduces the basis for tax calculation. This means that the person concerned has to pay less tax on his or her income. It will be increased from the current EUR 1,908 to EUR 4,008 per year, more than doubled. This increase applies to the years 2020 and 2021.
+++ Sunday, June 28th +++
Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasises that the danger posed by the coronavirus remains serious. "It's easy for us to forget because Germany has come through the crisis reasonably well so far, but that doesn't mean that we are protected, that the danger has been averted," she says in her new video podcast. The current regional outbreaks show that this is not the case. Each and every one of us has our fate in our own hands - by adhering to rules such as minimum distance, mouth and nose protection in public places and washing our hands, the Chancellor said. She also calls for the use of the Corona warning app.
Germany is providing an additional 383 million euros for the global initiative to tackle the corona pandemic. Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged the funds in a video message to the virtual donor conference "Global Goal - Unite for Our Future". "I am firmly convinced that Vaccines, tests and medicines must be available, affordable and accessible worldwide. We must pursue this goal together," said the Chancellor. The donor conference is being organized by the EU Commission and the NGO "Global Citizen". The Chancellor is co-host.
+++ Friday, June 26th +++
"Thanks to the aid, the company now has the opportunity to concentrate on overcoming the crisis and leading Lufthansa to new heights," said Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. Lufthansa's Annual General Meeting on Thursday voted by a clear majority to approve the German government's rescue package. This was "good news for the company itself, good news for Lufthansa employees and also good news for Germany as a business location," Scholz said. The aid package safeguards the interests of the taxpayers. It is a temporary commitment. The total amount of the aid package is nine billion euros. Three billion euros includes, among other things, syndicated financing from the state development bank KfW, in which private banks are participating with 600 million euros. Now the Group has a perspective "to meet and overcome the currently most difficult challenge in its history", said Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier. Lufthansa has a chance to emerge stronger from this, he said.
"These major outbreaks have now shown The moment you give the virus a chance, it will strike again," warned Helge Braun, head of the Chancellor's Office on ZDF. Therefore it is important to "answer every local outbreak very, very precisely and very quickly" - and not to become careless. "We only have a chance of a good economic recovery, including social relaxation, if the infection figures are very, very low," emphasized Braun. The best thing anyone and everyone could do at present was to consistently follow all the basic rules. In recent weeks, some people had apparently had the impression that the pandemic was over. That would be "our greatest concern": "Until we really have an effective vaccine or cure, the virus will continue to lurk," Braun emphasized. The head of the Chancellery also welcomed the restrictions imposed in the affected districts. He said they were an expression of "a very responsible approach" and would help to calm the situation and gain time "to really get a picture".
+++ Thursday, June 25th +++
One of the focal points of the federal government's economic stimulus package is financial support for local authorities. This is because the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic will also affect their budgets in the short term and directly.
- For example, reduced trade tax revenues at federal and state level are to be compensated in equal parts by a lump sum. 6.1 billion euros from the federal budget are available for this purpose.
- In addition, the Federal Government will permanently cover a further 25 per cent and a total of up to 74 per cent of the costs for accommodation and heating in the basic provision for job seekers.
- In addition, the new federal states will also be relieved by the federal government increasing its share of expenses from the supplementary pension schemes of the former GDR from 40 to 50 percent.
These measures require an amendment to the Basic Law, which the Federal Cabinet has also initiated
500 million euros are available for the federal programme "Securing training places". This year and next year, it is to support small and medium-sized enterprises with up to 249 employees in order to cushion the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on the training place market.
- Companies that are particularly affected by the corona pandemic will receive a bonus if they maintain their level of training. It is planned to pay 2,000 euros for each training contract concluded for 2020/2021.
- 3,000 euros will be paid for each additional training contract concluded.
- Companies will receive a premium of 3,000 euros for each trainee they take on from companies that have become insolvent due to the pandemic.
+++ Wednesday, June 24 +++
Chancellor Angela Merkel took part in a video conference with the Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, and the Prime Minister of Slovenia, Janez Janša, on Tuesday. The three countries together form the trio presidency of the European Union for the next 18 months. The trio's programme focuses on dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic and social reconstruction of Europe. The aim is to strengthen the EU's resilience to pandemic crises in the long term. Germany will take over the Council Presidency on 1 July, followed by Portugal in January 2021 and Slovenia in July 2021.
+++ Thursday, June 23 +++
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has flown to Italy for a visit. The country had been hit particularly early and hard by Covid19 and had warned others in Europe with a clear voice. "The battle is far from won, but thanks also to the determined action of your government we have made decisive progress", said Maas. Together with his Italian counterpart Luigi di Maio, Maas visited doctors, researchers and nurses at the state "Spallanzani Institute". Germany and Italy have worked closely together in the Corona pandemic: Both in aid deliveries and in the treatment of intensive care patients who were flown to Germany. The talks in Italy also focused on the priorities of the forthcoming German EU Presidency. The top priority, said Maas, was "to create a powerful economic and social new start".
+++ Sunday, June 21 +++
The Corona-Warn-App could become a "companion and protector" and help to interrupt infection chains, Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasizes in the current podcast. Since Tuesday, the free Corona-Warning-App is available for download in the App-Store as well as in the Google Play-Store. She is delighted that millions of people have already downloaded the app in this first week. "The more people participate, the greater the benefit," she said.
+++ Friday, June 19 +++
Germany is taking over the Council Presidency at a time when the European Union is facing "the greatest challenge in its history", Chancellor Merkel declared in her government statement to the Bundestag. The pandemic had revealed "how fragile the European project still is". The first reflexes, she said, were rather national and not entirely European. The Corona pandemic had shown that "our Europe is vulnerable". "Never before have cohesion and solidarity in Europe been as important as they are today," she said.
National measures can only be successful "if the other EU member states are also strong and national action is flanked by European action". How Europe copes with the crisis "will decide on the prosperity of European citizens and on Europe's role in the world". The envisaged reconstruction fund for Europe is an "urgent imperative of the hour", he said, and the pandemic must not lead to a drifting apart of the economic prospects of the EU states. Germany had specified the priorities for its Presidency of the Council in view of the pandemic, but at the same time had set its sights firmly on the major challenges. These include climate protection, the digitalization of the economy and society and the assumption of more global responsibility by Europe.
"Together. Making Europe strong again" is the motto of the German Council Presidency. Merkel announced that she would work towards this goal "with all her strength and passion".
Clinical vaccine development, the expansion of manufacturing and filling capacities as well as the increase in the number of test persons in Germany - these projects are being supported by the German government with a new special program for vaccine development. The programme has a volume of up to 750 million euros. "In order to be able to return to normality in Germany and all over the world in the near future, a vaccine is a very important element," explained Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek. It can be assumed that a vaccine will be available "at the earliest by the middle of next year", said Karliczek. This is "nevertheless very fast", as otherwise the development of vaccines usually takes ten or even 15 years. In principle, the funding programme is open to all companies that are active in the development and production of vaccines and are based in Germany, provided they pursue a promising approach.
+++ Wednesday, June 17th +++
The German government plans to spend a further 24.8 billion euros on measures to counter the economic consequences of the corona pandemic. The money is to be used to secure jobs and prosperity in the long term and to get the economy moving again quickly. To this end, the Federal Government has launched an economic stimulus package and a package for the future. "Now we are giving Germany a huge boost for the future," emphasized Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. With both supplements - the first supplement of March 2020 amounted to 122.5 billion euros - the federal budget 2020 provides for total expenditure of 509.3 billion euros. Capital expenditure will increase to 71.8 billion euros. To finance this, Germany will take out loans of 218.5 billion euros this year.
Chancellor Merkel met with the heads of government of the Federal States in Berlin. The discussions focused on the further course of action to contain the corona pandemic and the package of measures to revive the economy. The Federal Government and the Bundesländer agreed that the minimum distance of 1.5 metres, the wearing of a face mask in certain public areas, increased hygiene measures and the instrument of contact restrictions should continue to apply. The Chancellor stressed that as long as there is no medication, "we must live with the pandemic" and protect each other. She thanked all citizens who are already using the Corona-Warn-App.
+++ Tuesday, June 16th +++
Pets that have tested positive for Covid-19 must be reported to the authorities. This was announced by the Federal Minister of Agriculture, Julia Klöckner. The Federal Council will decide on a corresponding ordinance on 3 July. Studies show that animals react very differently to the virus. For example, certain types of animals are susceptible: these include cats and ferrets. Dogs are less receptive. This is the result of investigations by the Friedrich-Loeffler-Insitute, the Federal Research Institute for Animal Health of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, which is concerned with the effect of Covid-19 on farm and domestic animals.
So far, only a few animals have been tested in different countries - a total of 15 cases are known. Among the positive tests were domestic cats, tigers and lions in the USA. However, experience to date, including experience in Germany, does not provide any evidence that pets, including cats and ferrets, transmit the corona virus to humans. In order to obtain a comprehensive overview of the occurrence and spread of the virus through animals, all cases are to be reported in future. The aim is to support research and to contribute to the early detection of future risks to animal and human health and the application of appropriate control measures.
"But I would like to emphasize clearly: There is no obligation for pet owners to have their animals tested! This only makes sense if the animal shows clinical symptoms," said Klöckner. The notification may be made to veterinary authorities, public health services or veterinarians.
+++ Friday, June 12th +++
Travellers should comply with the hygiene and protective measures to contain the coronavirus during their summer holidays, Federal Foreign Minister Maas said after the video conference with twelve European foreign ministers. "Developments show that the situation remains fragile," said Maas. "We now want to reopen the borders in Europe for people, but at the same time we must continue to set limits to the virus." In the coming period, the EU states would intensively exchange all data concerning corona infection and "react in case of changes", said Maas. If less and less attention is paid to the measures, it is possible that the rate of infection will increase again. If this happens, it might be necessary to impose restrictions that have already been relaxed. When travelling abroad, the Foreign Office would now check daily how the situation was developing so that it could react quickly. If necessary, travel advice could be turned back into travel warnings.
In its cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the German government decided that the worldwide travel warning will continue to apply to all countries except the member states of the European Union, the Schengen-associated states and the United Kingdom for the time being until 31 August 2020 inclusive. "In contrast to our European neighbours, we do not yet have a common, reliable data basis, criteria and coordination processes for the rest of the world that would make unrestricted travel possible again without incalculable risks," stated Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. The travel warning for the Member States of the European Union as well as for the Schengen-associated states Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and for the United Kingdom will be lifted on 15 June. The Federal Foreign Office will replace it with country-specific travel advice. Further information on the extended travel warning can be obtained from the Federal Foreign Office.
The internal border controls with Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy and Denmark, which were temporarily reintroduced due to the corona pandemic, will end at the end of 15 June. Border controls on air traffic to Spain will end in both directions on 21 June 2020, meaning that travellers from the EU states as well as from the Schengen-associated states of Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and the United Kingdom will again be able to enter the country without "valid reason". With the abolition of internal border controls, the entry restrictions and the pandemic search and control measures will also end, which are now to be gradually reduced. Regulations on entry into the European Union from third countries are expected to be adopted next week. The Federal Government expects proposals from the European Commission on this.
In order to further contain the corona virus, people can now be tested even if they do not show any symptoms. This is provided for by a regulation of the Federal Ministry of Health. This means that in future, comprehensive tests will be possible in nursing homes, schools or day-care centres if a Covid-19 case has been detected there. In nursing homes and nursing services, this will also be possible regardless of confirmed infections. In addition, all patients admitted to hospitals will be tested. The decision whether to test is made by the treating physician or the public health department. The tests are paid for by the statutory health insurance funds, which receive a subsidy from the federal government. "We want to nip the virus in the bud," said Federal Health Minister Spahn. "This is only possible with preventive series tests in hospitals and nursing homes and if we test as many contact persons of infected persons as possible.
Everything you need to know about the corona crisis in Germany and the measures being taken against the spread of the virus:
+++ Friday, June 5th +++
At a donor conference for the Global Gavi Vaccine Alliance, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that she would be supporting classical vaccination programmes against measles, polio and typhoid fever with 600 million euro over the next five years. A further EUR 100 million is to go towards combating the corona pandemic. The conference, which was attended by more than 50 countries and individuals, raised a total of EUR 7.8 billion. The money will be used to vaccinate 300 million children in poorer countries by 2025. The virtual vaccination summit was hosted by Great Britain, which is also Gavi's largest donor. The alliance is dedicated to advancing the protection of every individual through ready-to-use vaccines that are affordable and freely available around the world.
Germany wants to step up its efforts to help countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to cope with the corona pandemic. This was stated by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Wednesday before a video conference with his counterparts from the region. He also spoke in favour of intensifying the partnership, strong world trade relations with Latin America and support from multilateral institutions. A partnership based on shared values and principles within the framework of a rule-based order was particularly important in times of the Corona crisis, said Maas. Germany has already doubled its humanitarian and development aid to Latin America and the Caribbean this year. For example, German expert groups are deployed in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Mexico to prevent or respond to outbreaks of disease that have already occurred.
+++ Thursday, June 4th +++
The coalition of CDU and SPD has agreed on a comprehensive economic stimulus and future package with a volume of 130 billion euros. The aim is to secure jobs and get the economy back on track.
The package of measures includes
- Reduction of VAT: From 1 July to 31 December 2020, the VAT rate is to be reduced from 19 percent to 16 percent and for the reduced rate from 7 percent to 5 percent.
- Child bonus for families: Parents will receive a one-time bonus of 300 euros per child. For single parents the allowances will be doubled.
- Strengthening of the municipalities: The federal government increases its share of the costs for the accommodation of needy persons, compensates half of the loss of trade tax revenue for the municipalities and strengthens the local public transport and the health sector.
- Reducing electricity costs: The EEG levy is to be reduced from 2021 onwards through subsidies from the federal budget.
- Package for the future: Around 50 billion euros will flow into future areas such as the hydrogen economy, quantum technologies and artificial intelligence.
The German government is aiming to make travel to the Member States of the European Union, Schengen associated states and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland possible again from 15th June. The prerequisite is that the occurrence of infection there allows it. The Federal Government will work at European level and in bilateral contacts to ensure a uniform European approach. "But we must not lull ourselves into a false sense of security," said Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. The Corona pandemic is far from over, he said. "Together we must prevent a resumption of tourism from leading to a second wave, here or elsewhere." He added that it was up to each individual to take personal responsibility. The Federal Foreign Office is planning to lift the worldwide travel warning issued on 17 March as of 15 June for EU Member States, Schengen-associated states and Great Britain, and to return to country-specific travel advice for these states that takes account of the regional epidemiological situation.
The distance rules of 1.5 metres cannot be observed continuously in individual means of transport with increasing passenger numbers. The Federal Government therefore recommends additional measures to protect passengers and employees:
- At airports, markings in the check-in area and at boarding are used to ensure that passengers keep their distance, and apron buses are avoided wherever possible.
- In long-distance traffic, coaches and long-distance trains will ensure that passengers do not sit too close together. Deutsche Bahn also uses an online load display: The number of reservations is then limited.
- Different school start and end times or more flexible working time models are intended to equalise the peak hours in public transport.
+++ Wednesday, June 3rd +++
Thanks to the successes in containing the corona pandemic, the federal states are able to adopt more and more easing measures. In Berlin, for example, since 30 May, events, church services and training in fitness studios have been permitted - subject to certain conditions. Even pure pubs, i.e. pubs, have been allowed to open again since 2 June, subject to conditions. In North Rhine-Westphalia, outdoor contact sports with up to ten people have been permitted again since 30 May. Competitions in popular and recreational outdoor sports are also possible. The prerequisite is a hygiene and infection protection concept. The federal states decide on the gradual opening of public life on their own responsibility. They also take into account the regional development of the Covid-19 infection figures.
The following applies nationwide: The contact restrictions will remain in force until 29 June, as will the hygiene and distance regulations. However, shops may reopen - regardless of the sales area. Major events are prohibited until 31 August.
The special regulation that allowed doctors to write patients sick over the phone has expired. From June onwards, a visit to the doctor is again necessary for a sick note. The special regulation had been decided by the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) of doctors, clinics and health insurers in order to reduce the risk of infection and to relieve the burden on doctors' offices. According to Josef Hecken, impartial chairman of the Joint Federal Committee (G-BA), the expiration of the special regulation is a "return to regular patient care". "The decision to end the current makeshift regulation as of 1 June is in line with the current assessment of the risk situation, which has led to relaxation in many areas of public life. In many practices, resilient hygiene concepts are already practiced, which are transferable to other practices, said Hecken. Patients can take advantage of medical care without exposing themselves to increased risks of infection.
In developing the Corona Warning App, the German government is focusing on transparency. The entire source code of the app is open source and can be viewed here. Work on the app is progressing rapidly. The Federal Government currently expects the app to be available in a few weeks. The use of the app is voluntary. The app does not collect location data, and pseudonymisation and decentralised storage ensure the greatest possible data protection for users. The recognition of infection chains is of great importance for the successful containment of the corona pandemic. This is exactly where the Corona Warning App comes in: It is designed to inform people reliably and quickly about encounters with other infected persons and thus about a possible transmission of the virus. This is intended to enable the prompt isolation of those affected and thus prevent a new wave of infection - so that the path of gradual opening can be continued.
+++ Tuesday, June 2nd +++
The German government is expanding its support for mask production in Germany. The program supports investments in facilities for the production of European standard certified FFP2/3 masks and medical face masks. "In this way, we are strengthening European independence from supply bottlenecks, contributing to the successful fight against pandemics and at the same time securing added value and jobs in Germany," said Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier. Companies that invest in the construction of new, innovative plants and products that go beyond the state of the art will receive up to 50 percent funding for the purchase of plants and components as well as for their own development work. The prerequisite for this innovation support is that the projects must be completed by June 30, 2021 at the latest. Investments in plants already available on the market that will be commissioned by August 31, 2020 will be subsidized with up to 30 percent of the investment costs.
In the video podcast before Pentecost, Chancellor Merkel thanks the people in Germany who have been guided by caution, reason and responsibility for others in the past months of the Corona pandemic. "We have achieved a lot in these four months," says Merkel. At the same time, the Chancellor is announcing an economic stimulus package to help the economy get back on track and grow. This is to be decided next week. The economic stimulus package is intended to give a boost to innovation and sustainable economic activity in order to become strong in future fields. Public and economic life has got going again in many areas. Merkel is hopeful that the path of openness can be continued without rekindling the infections: "If we remain courageous and vigilant, we could succeed. At the same time, she pointed out the importance of the rules of hygiene and distance: "Keeping a minimum distance, mouth and nose protection where prescribed, washing our hands - all these are prerequisites for us to be able to move more freely again.
+++ Friday, May 29th +++
The Nutrition Report 2020 of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture has addressed the question of how the corona pandemic is affecting nutrition. For 39 percent of those surveyed, the importance of agriculture has increased as a result of the corona pandemic. This is one result of the additional survey "Nutrition in the Corona Crisis" for this year's Nutrition Report of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Federal Minister Klöckner stresses that the pandemic has also changed the everyday nutritional life of Germans: "Food from the region has gained in importance. A new awareness of food has emerged - and of the work of those who produce it". This new appreciation must be maintained. Another result: 30 percent of those surveyed said that they cooked more during the Corona crisis than before. 28 percent eat their meals together more often than before.
The federal government is helping parents who, due to the closure of kindergartens and schools, are looking after their children at home and are therefore no longer able to work: Thus, the already existing continued wage payment is to be extended from six to ten weeks per person with custody. Single parents are entitled to 20 weeks of continued payment. The bill was passed by the Bundestag.
The entitlement requires that children who have not yet reached the age of twelve, who are handicapped or dependent on help, be looked after by their parents themselves due to a lack of other reasonable care options. 67 percent of the loss of earnings (up to a maximum of 2016 euros per month) will be replaced.
+++ Thursday, May 28th +++
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of government of the eastern German states agree that they want to continue to exchange views closely on issues relating to the management of the corona pandemic. It was in the common interest "to contain this pandemic and to allow as much social life, economic life, cultural life and above all educational life as possible to take place", stressed the Chancellor. Although the Länder could make their own decisions in many areas - the responsibility for the Infection Protection Act lies with the Länder. But the strategy to date has also been successful because the Federal Government and the Länder have always agreed on a common protection framework. In view of the decreasing number of new infections, Merkel warned against being too careless: Germany is still at the beginning of the pandemic, she said, and there is neither a vaccine nor a drug for treatment. "But we have gained better control," she said. This was also thanks to the discipline of the citizens. Especially in times of relaxation, she said, it was important to increase vigilance in social life. In this way, every individual could continue to make a contribution to ensuring that the path of containment was continued. In addition to the pandemic, 30 years of German unity and the economic situation of the East German states were the topics of the video conference.
+++ Wednesday, May 27th +++
The Federal Government and the Federal States have agreed on a joint resolution on the further procedure regarding corona-related contact restrictions. The main part of the decision by the head of the Federal Chancellery and the heads of the Senate and state chancelleries is that the contact restrictions will continue until 29 June in any case. Within the framework of this update, the Federal States can retain the contact restrictions that have been in force up to now or allow up to 10 persons or members of two households to stay in public areas. Furthermore, it is recommended to keep the number of people with whom one has contact as low as possible and to keep the group of people as constant as possible.
In order to stabilise dual training in Corona times, the representatives of the Federal Government, the Federal Employment Agency, the Federal States, the trade associations BDA, BFB, DIHK and ZDH and the trade unions adopted measures under the chairmanship of Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier. The aim is to enable trainees to continue their training and take their exams despite the current difficult situation and to ensure that sufficient training places will be available in the coming years. In concrete terms, the partners of the Alliance for Training and Further Training agreed that companies that take on trainees from bankrupt companies can receive a temporary take-over bonus. In order to stabilize the training year 2020/21, companies should also be able to make greater use of the advantages of collaborative training and contract training. Click here for the Joint Declaration of the Alliance for Training and Further Education.
+++ Tuesday, May 26th +++
Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner and Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer have agreed to extend until June 15th the entry regulations for foreign seasonal workers which were decided on in April. In this way the Federal Government is supporting domestic farmers who are dependent on the help of foreign specialists for harvesting and planting work. In April, the ministers had decided to allow the entry of 40,000 harvest workers in April and May under strict infection control conditions. Among other things, anyone arriving from abroad must pass a health check at the airport and be separated from the other workers for the first 14 days. In addition, there are strict distance and hygiene regulations in the factories and a lower occupancy rate in the accommodation.
The travel regulations are to be reassessed on 15 June.
The economy is getting quick help in the Corona pandemic: 45,910 loan applications with a commitment volume of 24 billion euros were approved through the house banks, according to KfW. KfW received a total of 48,120 applications (as of 20 May). This means that around 95 percent of the applicants received a positive decision. With 35,116 applications, the Entrepreneur Loan for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises was by far the most frequently applied for. 33,586 loan applications have already been approved. The total volume of these loan commitments amounts to EUR 8.9 billion. Of the 2.02 million applications for emergency aid in the form of a one-off grant throughout Germany, 1.6 million have already been approved. As a result, 12.4 billion euros have been disbursed to freelancers, self-employed persons and companies.
The German government has agreed on a comprehensive support package for Lufthansa. The company was operationally healthy and profitable before the corona pandemic and has good prospects for the future. The total amount of the stabilisation measures for Lufthansa is nine billion euros. This was agreed by the Federal Government on Monday in the Committee of the Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF). The package takes into account the needs of the company and at the same time those of taxpayers and employees of the Lufthansa Group, who are dependent on maintaining a strong company.
Among other things, these points are provided for:
- Three billion euros will be provided by a consortium financing of the state-owned development bank KfW, in which private banks will participate with 600 million euros.
- The WSF acquires a silent partnership of around 4.7 billion euros.
- In addition, the WSF acquires a 20 percent share in the company in the course of a capital increase. The volume is around 300 million euros. This is to be accompanied by voting rights limited in content.
The support offer of the German government has been submitted to Lufthansa and is now being discussed in its committees. Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier said it was essential that Lufthansa could continue its work in Germany. This is something that we have to fight and work for.
Federal Minister of Family Affairs Giffey urges that the right of every child to leisure and play be kept in mind even in the Corona pandemic. "Children need to play together inside and outside", said Giffey at the presentation of the Children's Report 2020. he past few weeks have been very difficult for many children due to closed daycare centres and schools, emphasised Federal Minister for Family Affairs Franziska Giffey. She added that it was now all the more important to weigh up health protection and the well-being of the child carefully against each other in the further easing of restrictions. The Children's Report 2020 with its focus on "Playing Outdoors" makes it clear how important outdoor play is for children and young people: For 70 percent of the children surveyed, playing outside the home is of great or very great importance. 92 percent plead for better accessibility to playgrounds and other places suitable for playing, for example through free buses and trains or safe cycle paths.
+++ Monday, May 25th +++
The Conference of Ministers of Culture and the Minister of State for Culture and the Media, Monika Grütters, have agreed on key points for a planned opening of further cultural institutions and activities. This agreement was forwarded to the heads of state government of the Länder and the Federal Chancellor. The paper is a template for consultations between the Chancellor and the Prime Ministers. The key points contain recommendations and criteria for opening concepts for art and cultural institutions against the background of local developments in infection rates. Among other things, it is planned to develop on-site concepts with basic protective measures to protect the public, employees and other stakeholders. Components of these concepts include ticketing systems, visitor flow management and mandatory seat reservations.
+++ Saturday, May 23rd +++
Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters has doubled the size of the NEUSTART emergency aid programme by a further 10 million euros to 20 million euros. Since 6 May, small and medium-sized museums, venues for concert and theatre performances or socio-cultural centres have been able to submit applications for funding. Investments between 10,000 and 50,000 euros can be supported - for example, the installation of protective devices or digital transmission formats. Minister of State Grütters: „Our immediate action programme NEUSTART has hit the mark! The demand is overwhelming: we have already received almost 1000 applications. Due to the high demand, we therefore decided very quickly to increase the funds in my budget considerably after only three weeks".
+++ Friday, May 22nd +++
Together with Guy Ryder, Director-General of the ILO, Kristalina Georgieva, Director of the IMF, José Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, and Roberto Azevêdo, Secretary-General of the WTO, the Chancellor called for "a return to a sustainable development path as soon as possible". What was needed was "joint, coordinated action - not unilateral action", Merkel said.
The video conference focused on four topics.
1) The discussion partners agreed: The pandemic will not be over until there is a vaccine or good medicine against Covid-19. Such means should be understood as "common global goods" - "they must be made available to all", said Merkel.
2) Instead of renationalising supply chains, the international trading system must now be strengthened. Otherwise "everyone would pay a very high price", the Chancellor said. She was concerned about protectionist tendencies - especially export restrictions in the food sector.
3) Globally, nine trillion dollars have already been spent on support measures. The economic recovery process must be accompanied by economic stimulus packages, "and not by higher taxes," Merkel stressed.
4) Development aid must not be cut. Rather, the financing requirements of the developing countries must be considered. The debt moratorium of the G20 and the Paris Club was "a right step" - but perhaps "this is not yet the last step", said the Chancellor.
The ministers responsible for tourism in the EU exchanged views in a video conference on the prospects for holiday travel within Europe, taking into account the continuing risk of infection. Thomas Bareiß, Federal Government Commissioner for Tourism, participated in the discussions on behalf of Germany. "The video conference of EU tourism ministers has confirmed The first coordinated steps towards restoring freedom of movement and abolishing internal border controls within the EU have been taken, and we are striving for more," said Bareiß after the exchange at European level. It was clear, however, that this year's holiday would be different than usual. "We will have to live with restrictions," said Bareiß. You can read more about the discussions here.
+++ Thursday, May 21st +++
In order to improve occupational health and safety and hygiene in the meat industry, the Federal Government has adopted key points for a protection programme. This programme provides for ten measures: Among other things, more frequent checks by the health and safety authorities are planned, working hours are to be recorded electronically and protection against accident and health risks is to apply to all employees in the meat industry. From January 1, 2021, the slaughtering and processing of meat will only be permitted to employees of the company's own operations.
Employers are also to be obliged to inform the authorities of the place of residence and employment of foreign workers and to comply with minimum standards for the accommodation of mobile workers. In addition, the protection programme provides that foreign workers are informed about their rights and relevant regulations in their native language. "Better occupational safety in the meat industry is urgently needed. The last few days have shown this once again", said Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil. There have been numerous COVID-19 cases in several meat factories recently.
The Federal Government wants to continue to support parents who are looking after their children at home due to the Corona pandemic and who are therefore no longer able to work. For this reason, it is extending the already existing wage continuation for day-care and school closures from six to ten weeks per person with custody. Single parents are entitled to 20 weeks of continued payment.
This entitlement is subject to the condition that children who have not yet reached the age of twelve, who are disabled or dependent on help, are looked after by their parents themselves for lack of other reasonable care options. 67 per cent of the loss of earnings (up to a maximum of 2016 euros per month) is reimbursed.
For trips booked before 8 March 2020 that cannot be carried out due to the Corona pandemic, the tour operator can offer the travellers a voucher. In this way, travel companies are to be protected against insolvency. In addition to supporting the tour operator, the voucher brings a further advantage for the customer: In the event that the insolvent insurance of the provider is not sufficient, the customer also receives a state guarantee up to the full value of the trip.
If the voucher is not redeemed by the end of 2021 at the latest, the value is to be repaid to the customer in the amount of the original travel price. Travellers can also refuse the voucher and thus claim immediate reimbursement. However, there is a risk that in the event of the organiser's insolvency the claim will only amount to part of the value of the holiday. A corresponding draft bill is to be presented shortly.
+++ Wednesday, May 20 +++
The heads of government of the Visegrád Group and Chancellor Angela Merkel want to gradually dismantle border restrictions and controls as soon as the pandemic situation allows. This was agreed by Prime Ministers Mateusz Morawiecki (Poland), Igor Matovič (Slovakia), Andrej Babiš (Czech Republic), Viktor Orbán (Hungary) and the Chancellor during a joint video telephone conversation.
In addition to the respective measures to contain the Corona pandemic, they also exchanged views on European policy issues and Europe's economic recovery after the pandemic. The Chancellor explained the German-French initiative. They also discussed the priorities of the German EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2020.
In a subsequent bilateral meeting, the Chancellor and Czech Prime Minister Babiš reaffirmed the goal of reducing restrictions on people and businesses in the border region, insofar as the incidence of infection allows.
Achieving the best possible treatment and good pandemic management through rapid exchange of experience about Covid-19 sufferers - this is the goal of the National Network of University Medicine. This was stated by Federal Minister of Research Anja Karliczek at a joint press conference with Heyo Kroemer of the Charité Berlin, Blanche Schwappach-Pignataro of the University of Hamburg and Michael Albrecht of the Technical University of Dresden. The German government is supporting the university medicine research network with 150 million euros.
In view of the many questions that the novel coronavirus still raises, corona research has high priority, said Karliczek. The Federal Government is therefore supporting research with all its strength. The Minister also emphasised that this disease is "not to be trifled with". This would become all the more obvious "the more we learn about it". Covid-19 is "not a pipe dream, but a real, serious threat that is claiming a large number of victims worldwide". It is therefore important to consistently observe the rules of distance and hygiene.
+++ Tuesday, May 19th +++
"We must act - we must act European, so that we can get out of this crisis in good shape". German Chancellor Angela Merkel, together with French President Emmanuel Macron, presented a Franco-German initiative to help Europe recover from the corona crisis. The corona pandemic is the most serious crisis the European Union has ever faced in its history, Merkel said. "The Franco-German friendship calls on us to send this signal," Merkel said. The aim of the initiative is for Europe to emerge from this crisis strengthened, united and in solidarity. There was a danger that the economic impact of the Corona pandemic would threaten cohesion in the European Union. The 500 billion euro fund is intended to help all states in Europe to react to the crisis accordingly. "Europe must stand together", said Merkel.
Germany and France have proposed these measures, among others:
- Strategic sovereignty in the health sector and the development of an EU "health strategy
- Establishing an ambitious economic recovery fund at EU level for solidarity and growth
- Accelerating the Green Deal and digitisation
- Strengthening the economic and industrial resilience and sovereignty of the EU and giving new impetus to the internal market
+++ Monday, May 18th +++
Germany wants to create the conditions for travel holidays to be possible - but only under responsible circumstances, said Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at a press conference on Monday. The aim is to convert the travel warning into country-specific travel advice from 15 June. Nonetheless, Maas warned that it must be made quite clear that there will be restrictions everywhere - on beaches, in restaurants, in the city centres - if a holiday is taken. The Federal Foreign Minister had previously discussed in a video conference with his European counterparts from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Cyprus how a gradual return to European freedom of movement and tourism could be achieved this summer. According to Maas, the procedure must be based on the occurrence of infection and therefore cannot be the same in all countries - neither nationally nor regionally.
+++ Sunday, May 17th +++
The corona pandemic did not affect economic output until March. Nevertheless, the Federal Statistical Office recorded the sharpest fall in gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2020 since the global financial and economic crisis of 2008/2009, with a 2.2 percent drop compared with the previous quarter. There was a sharp drop in private consumer spending, including investments in machinery, equipment and vehicles. Government spending and investments in buildings prevented an even sharper decline in GDP. In the first quarter of 2020, economic output was generated by around 45 million people in employment - 147,000 or 0.3 percent more than a year ago, with short-time working also counted as employment. Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier pointed out that the protective shields are working. "We need a follow-up regulation for the companies particularly affected. At the same time, we need a roadmap to overcome the crisis quickly and return to the path of growth," he said. He added that this would involve a broad-based economic stimulus package and structural reforms.
+++ Friday, May 15th +++
The Federal Government and the Länder have agreed on an immediate programme for better digital learning - it comprises 550 million euros. The money will be used to procure mobile devices for pupils. In addition, support will be provided for school equipment required for professional online teaching. Since teaching in the foreseeable future will consist of a mixture of face-to-face classes and digital learning from home, "as many pupils as possible should have digital terminals", said Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek. For this reason, the Federal Government is investing an additional 500 million euro, the Länder 50 million euro. It is planned that the mobile terminals will be lent to pupils by the schools and school authorities on their own initiative. The devices will remain the property of the schools, which will then be able to continue using them in future regular operations. The immediate action programme will be recorded as a supplementary agreement to the "Digital Pact for Schools".
+++ Thursday, May 14th +++
More tests and reporting requirements to detect and break the infection chains earlier - these are the main focuses of the Second Law for the Protection of the Population in the Event of an Epidemic Situation of National Significance. It was passed in the Bundestag on Thursday and today, Friday, in the Bundesrat. "In this way, we will prevent uncontrolled outbreaks and ensure that our health system does not continue to be overburdened," said Federal Minister of Health Spahn. The law also provides for employees in the care of the elderly to receive a one-time corona premium of up to 1,000 euros. In addition, the Public Health Service (ÖGD) will be strengthened by measures taken by the federal government during an epidemic situation of national importance - in particular to promote digitalisation. Approximately 50 million euro will be made available for this purpose. In addition, care-giving relatives are to receive better support. You can find a detailed report here.
+++ Wednesday, May 13th +++
Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on citizens to continue to be "courageous and vigilant". "Let's gradually reopen public and economic life - while always keeping an eye on the development of the pandemic," said the Chancellor during the government survey in the Bundestag. She added that there were still no medicines and no vaccine, and that the virus remained a danger for each and every one of us. "We have not, after all, since March taken upon ourselves all previously unimaginable restrictions in our lives, in our work and economic activities, including temporary restrictions on our rights, only to risk a relapse now, because we have abandoned caution," the Chancellor said. In recent weeks and months, she said, the spread of the coronavirus had been slowed down because all citizens had "stuck together during a difficult time and under severe restrictions". It was "an obligation not to endanger what we have achieved together", Merkel stressed. The Chancellor appealed once again to respect the "new ground rules": Keep a minimum distance, wash your hands regularly and respect your fellow human beings' need for protection.
There will be a gradual relaxation of border controls as a result of the positive development in the incidence of infection. This was reported to the federal cabinet by Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer. Further information and the press release of the Federal Ministry of the Interior on the changes in the border regime can be found here.
The following individual decisions were made:
- All cross-border traffic connections will again be permitted to cross the border.
- In principle, the requirement of a valid reason for entry will be retained, but there will be additional facilitations 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, border controls will also be discontinued. The date will be fixed jointly with Denmark.
At the same time, the Federal Minister of the Interior warned: "If the infection rate deteriorates, it would be possible to quickly return to a higher intensity of controls in mutual consultation with the neighbouring states. Since the positive development in some countries is not yet stable in the long term, internal border controls will be continued at certain borders in order to remain responsive. At the borders with France, Austria and Switzerland, border controls will be continued - in coordination with neighbouring countries - from 16 May initially until 15 June 2020. However, the controls will be flexible and random, rather than systematic as in the past. If the development of the incidence of infection permits, the aim is to end corona-based internal border controls by 15 June 2020. On the recommendation of the European Commission, the restrictions on entry from third countries are to be extended until 15 June 2020. The Federal Ministry of the Interior also recommends that the federal states adapt their quarantine regulations for those entering and returning to Germany. A 14-day quarantine is to be ordered in future only for entries from third countries.
+++ Tuesday, May 12th +++
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has emphasised the importance of the health authorities in the fight against coronavirus. The public health service plays a "central role", said the Chancellor after a video conference with employees of the Harz District Health Office. She said that the federal government was doing everything necessary to strengthen the health offices. In addition to the so-called scouts who are already supporting the health offices, the Bundeswehr is also ready to help. He added that health offices were the crucial point in order to be able to trace the contact persons of newly infected persons. The Chancellor stressed that Germany is now entering a new phase of the pandemic. In spite of all the loosening, she said, it was necessary that people continue to observe the basic commandments: Keep their distance, wear mouth and nose protection, and show consideration for each other.
In order to support the production and development of a vaccine against Covid-19, the German government has committed further financial resources. Up to 750 million euros are available for this purpose. This will enable upcoming vaccine studies with larger numbers of test persons. Investments will also be made in the expansion of production capacities. The statement by Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek can be found here. Karliczek announced that approximately 500 million euros will be used to expand study capacities for vaccine testing in Germany. Another 250 million euros are planned for the expansion of vaccine production capacities in Germany. "As soon as a vaccine has been found and approved, production must be able to start quickly and on a large scale, both in Germany and worldwide," said Karliczek.
+++ Monday, May 11th +++
The Federal Government is working together with the federal states to ensure that the German cultural landscape can continue to exist after the corona pandemic. This was assured by Chancellor Angela Merkel in her current video podcast. She referred to the programme for solo self-employed persons and easier access to basic security. In addition, the Federal Government supports cultural institutions in paying fees for engagements that were cancelled due to the Corona pandemic.
+++ Friday, May 8th +++
Digital learning is of great importance during the corona pandemic. To ensure that schools are well equipped during this period, they will receive 100 million euros from the Digital Pact for Schools in the short term. This has been agreed by the federal and state governments. "These days, digital learning and teaching is a good way of cushioning the impact of cancelled lessons for pupils," emphasised Federal Education Minister Karliczek.
The funds will be made available for setting up and expanding online learning platforms. Minister of Education Karliczek also attaches great importance to supporting teachers in their currently particularly demanding task.
The Digital Pact for Schools came into force a year ago. Within the framework of the Pact, the Federal Government is making five billion euros available for the digitisation of Germany's schools until 2024. In addition, the federal states will contribute just over 500 million euros. In order to receive the money, schools must submit their own didactic concepts for digital teaching.
+++ Wednesday, May 6th +++
The Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) has expanded its "Emergency Information and News App" (NINA for short) and supplemented it with information on corona. In this way, the BBK is responding to the ongoing need for comprehensive and up-to-date information in connection with the corona virus and the pandemic it has triggered.
What are the current regulations on contacts and travel, for example? What to do in case of suspected corona? Who regulates what in the state in case of Corona? Who helps when the family situation becomes increasingly difficult due to quarantine? NINA wants to help with these questions. NINA's new information offer is not identical with the so-called tracing app, which is currently being developed on behalf of the Federal Government.
The new version 3.1 of NINA is now available for the operating systems iOS and Android.
+++ Tuesday, May 5th +++
The Federal Government provides emergency aid for cultural institutions and creative artists from the budget of Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters. An aid programme with a volume of up to 5.4 million euros is intended to support independent orchestras and ensembles based in Germany in implementing new presentation formats in times of contact restrictions. Up to 200,000 euros per applicant are planned. The programme runs until the end of the year.
Many freelance artists have lost their income. For this reason, the Federal Government enables cultural institutions to pay cancellation fees of up to 60 percent of the actual fee in the case of cancelled events - even without a corresponding contractual agreement and up to 2,500 euros. This regulation applies to cultural institutions and projects that the Federal Government supports.
Minister of State for Culture Grütters also announced that museums, memorials, exhibition halls and houses of culture would be supported through the "Neustart" programme. Ten million euros have been earmarked to promote hygiene measures, the installation of protective equipment and appropriate visitor management. Between 10,000 and 50,000 euros are available per cultural institution.
+++ Sunday, May 3rd +++
Prior to the donor conference on combating the Corona pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel is counting on close international cooperation. The focus is on "how we develop vaccines, provide medicines and good diagnostic tools for all people in the world," says Merkel in her video podcast. Germany wants to work closely with the World Health Organization (WHO), which plays a key role in this issue, the Chancellor said. Germany is one of the hosts of the conference on 4 May, which the EU Commission has invited to attend. The video conference is intended to secure start-up funding. The money will be used to advance the development and introduction of globally available and affordable diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. An estimated eight billion euros are still missing for the development of a vaccine, says Chancellor Merkel. Therefore, it is a good thing that a large alliance is now committed to this work and that as many players as possible are involved, also with financial contributions, in order to enable, among other things, the development and production of vaccines and drugs. "Germany will make a significant financial contribution," said the Chancellor.
+++ Friday, May 1st +++
Worship services and prayer events should soon be possible again nationwide under certain conditions. The federal and state governments agreed to this on Thursday. Playgrounds, museums, exhibitions, zoos and botanical gardens will also be able to reopen throughout Germany under certain conditions. The states are responsible for the implementation. In addition, a somewhat larger portion of hospital capacity is to be reopened for plannable operations. It remains the great responsibility to do everything possible to ensure that there is no relapse, Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasized after the switching conference with the heads of government of the federal states. Contact restrictions are to remain in place in principle until 10 May. Details will be regulated by the states. The federal and state governments want to decide on further steps on May 6.
Federal Minister of Labour Heil has confirmed the effect of the short-time working regulations in the Corona pandemic. Millions of jobs would be secured as a result. Meanwhile, Federal Economic Minister Altmaier presented a four-step plan for the German economy. Short-time work may be expensive, but unemployment is many times more expensive - according to Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil. "Germany has a strong state. We have a strong society and a strong economy, so that we are in a position to pass this test", he explained when presenting the current labour market figures. The economy and labour market are under pressure from the corona pandemic. Between the beginning of March and 26 April 2020, the Federal Employment Agency received 751,000 notifications from companies of short-time work for 10.1 million employees. The unemployment rate has risen by 0.7 percentage points to 5.8 percent - an increase of 0.9 points compared to April of the previous year. Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier sees "a perspective of hope for an economic restart" - provided that the pandemic can continue to be successfully contained. A four-step plan for the restart of the economy is intended to help here. In addition to the further development of existing aid, this plan provides for further immediate measures and a needs-based economic stimulus package.
The Corona pandemic is causing financial problems for many students. Two thirds of the students work while studying. Many of them have lost their jobs due to the current situation. For some of them, financial support from their parents also breaks off or is reduced. The Federal Ministry of Education now offers them a bridging aid. "We must not allow the corona pandemic to force students to abandon or abandon their studies," said Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek. Up to one billion euros are available in total. Students now have the opportunity to apply for an interest-free loan from the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) in the initial phase - on the basis of the long-standing KfW student loan. This applies both to new applicants and to those who will be paid out loans already running until March 2021. For the particularly affected group of foreign students, the Student Loan is to be opened from July 2020 to March 2021. In addition, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research is providing the German Student Union with 100 million euros for the emergency aid funds of the local student unions.
+++ Thursday, April 30th +++
The German government wants to enable more tests for the coronavirus in order to detect and break through infection chains earlier. As the cabinet decided on Wednesday, the reporting requirements will also be expanded. In the future, the number of recoveries and negative laboratory tests on Covid-19 will also be passed on. The tests will be paid for by the public health insurance. The federal government will also strengthen the public health service. For example, it will finance training courses for mobile teams that support the health authorities in tracking contact persons. Staggered special benefits are to be paid to employees in nursing care for the elderly. Two thirds of these "corona premiums" are to be financed by the social nursing care insurance system, while employers and the Länder are to contribute one third.
+++ Wednesday, April 29th +++
Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn has proposed to partially re-use capacities that have been kept free so far for patients who are not infected with the coronavirus. Currently, the capacities of hospitals would not be fully used due to uncertainties about the further development of the corona pandemic, according to a concept that Spahn presented to the federal states. The now linear development of new corona infections allows the hospitals to gradually develop a new daily routine and, from May onwards, to use part of the hospital capacities for operations that can be planned. The opening of the clinics must be made adaptable. It is not yet possible to predict the epidemiological effects of the social and economic easing that has taken place in the meantime. In a next step, the permanent provision of intensive care beds for Covid-19 patients needs to be better and more accurately planned. The capacities for plannable operations would have to remain limited despite the opening. Therefore a basis for decision making has to be developed, according to which criteria these operations are prioritized. A permanent exclusive prioritisation of only a certain group of patients could not be justified, especially due to the principle of equality.
"The more we act together, the better we can avoid human suffering and economic disruption," said Chancellor Merkel at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue with regard to pandemics and climate protection. She called for climate-friendly investments in sustainable technologies. The economic damage caused by the corona pandemic would make the distribution debate difficult, she said. "This makes it all the more important, when we introduce economic stimulus packages, to always keep a close eye on climate protection." He said that savings should not be made in climate protection, but that investments should be made in sustainable technologies. The international commitments had to be brought forward strongly. This was essential for global success in climate protection.
"Economy and ecology must be thought of together", said Merkel. This must also be done with a view to biodiversity. "Because we know that natural habitats are shrinking. This has serious consequences for biodiversity. And that in turn poses a threat to us humans as well." According to scientists, 60 percent of all infectious diseases have been transmitted from animals to humans in recent decades. "So there is no way around making progress in the international protection of biodiversity and forests. By next year's 15th UN Conference on the Implementation of the Biodiversity Convention, we need a new framework for the protection of biodiversity.
The 17 goals of Agenda 2030 - including health and climate protection - made it clear that sustainable development could not be achieved at the expense of individual goals and not on its own: "Like all the goals of Agenda 2030, we can ultimately only successfully meet the challenge of climate protection if we act consistently both nationally and act together internationally.
She hopes that the Petersberg Climate Dialogue will send a signal that "climate protection and biodiversity are of the utmost importance, especially in times of a global pandemic crisis.
The corona pandemic and the measures adopted by the Federal Government and the German Bundestag affect almost all areas of life. It is therefore very important for the Federal Government to focus on all those affected. You can find an overview of the measures here PDF, 205 KB, barrier-free .
The Federal Government is pursuing three objectives in its actions:
1. to protect health and maintain the efficiency of the health system.
2. cushion the consequences for citizens, employees and companies.
3. dealing with the pandemic through international cooperation.
The Federal Government and the Länder regularly review the measures adopted to determine whether they are still necessary and proportionate or whether adjustments are necessary. In answering this question, careful consideration is given to which measures will effectively prevent the spread of the virus and which social and economic consequential costs are associated with each.
The German government is providing 1.5 million euros for cultural centres in rural communities and small towns with up to 20,000 inhabitants. The funds can be applied for via the project "Land intact - Cultural Centres Emergency Aid Programme". Click here to go directly to the call for proposals. "The opportunity to experience art and culture is a decisive prerequisite for equal living conditions throughout Germany," said Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters.
+++ Tuesday, April 28th +++
The Federal Government, in coordination with the State of Hesse, is granting Condor Flugdienst GmbH support in the form of a KfW loan of 550 million euros. "The Federal Government and the State of Hesse continue to support Condor in these difficult times. The company was operationally healthy and profitable in normal times and has good prospects for the future," said Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier. The aid is intended to cushion the consequences of the Corona-related shutdown. By providing a new working capital line, Condor can continue its business operations. The KfW loan is 100 per cent guaranteed by the Federal Government, the State of Hesse has a 50 per cent share of the federal risk. The European Commission has approved the loan under state aid law and published it today.
+++ Monday, April 27th +++
Compensation for loss of earnings due to Corona can now be applied for online. Anyone who is placed in quarantine because of the corona virus or who is not allowed to work because of his or her own infection and therefore suffers a loss of earnings will receive compensation for his or her loss of earnings on the basis of the Protection against Infection Act. Self-employed persons and employers who have to pay compensation to their employees can submit applications. All information on the right to compensation and the application procedure is now available here. Applications can be made via the same website from next week. The applications are sent digitally to the competent authority in the country concerned. The online procedure was developed by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, for Building and Homeland Affairs and the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Health.
In a joint statement, the head of the Chancellery, Helge Braun, and the Federal Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, announced their intention to "promote the use of a consistently decentralized software architecture" for the application of a corona app in Germany. The aim is that, in view of the current relaxation of contact restrictions, "the tracing app will be ready for use very soon and will be widely accepted by the population and civil society". The use of the app should be voluntary. At the same time, data protection and IT security must be guaranteed. The aim of the app is to identify the contacts of a person infected with Corona and to interrupt the chain of infection.
+++ Saturday, April 25th +++
A new international initiative is to advance the development of vaccines and drugs against the coronavirus. The aim of the initiative of WHO and other global health actors is to accelerate the development, production and equitable distribution of vaccines, diagnostics and therapies for Covid-19. To this end, the EU Commission is organising an international donor conference on 4 May, at which Germany will co-host the conference. A total of eight billion euros were missing. This financial gap needs to be closed, said Chancellor Angela Merkel and asked politicians and industry for support. From the German side, she announced a "substantial contribution".
Chancellor Angela Merkel held a video conference on Friday with representatives of business associations and trade unions to discuss the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on the German economy. The discussion focused on the challenges facing particularly affected sectors such as retail, the hotel and restaurant industry, but also parts of industry. Federal Ministers Olaf Scholz, Peter Altmaier, Hubertus Heil, Jens Spahn, Andreas Scheuer and Helge Braun also took part in the video conference. In order to minimise disruptions, particularly in European supply chains, the Chancellor spoke out in favour of joint action in Europe. Another topic was appropriate economic policy measures that could help to support the economic recovery in Germany and Europe. The Federal Government has put together a protective umbrella for the economy with grants, guarantees, tax relief and unlimited liquidity assistance.
+++ Friday, April 24th +++
The European Council held a videoconference on the coronavirus pandemic and the fight against its economic consequences. Chancellor Merkel then explained that an economic stimulus package was needed in Europe and was also in Germany's interest. The focus was on how Europe could meet the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and how it could do this together. This was said by Chancellor Angela Merkel after the video conference of the European Council in Berlin on Thursday evening. "We need - also in the German interest - an economic stimulus package in Europe," Merkel said. She said that the EU Commission should now make proposals for its design. It would also be essential to invest in the future - in climate protection, innovative mobility, digitalization. The EU heads of state and government approved the package of measures agreed by the EU finance ministers two weeks ago. This provides for more than 500 billion euros in aid - consisting of loans from the European Investment Bank for small and medium-sized enterprises, an EU short-time working allowance and precautionary credit lines from the ESM for the states. Chancellor Merkel explained that the aim was that the funds could be used from 1 June. To this end, she said, the German Bundestag must also be involved.
+++ Thursday, April 23rd +++
In her government statement, Chancellor Angela Merkel referred to the first successes in combating the coronavirus pandemic: By working together, she said, "we have managed to ensure that the virus has at least slowed down on its way through Germany and Europe". This was only possible with the help of citizens who "do something for their fellow human beings with heart and mind", the Chancellor stressed. "This makes me infinitely grateful," said Merkel. Germany is still at the beginning of the pandemic, the Chancellor said.
"But together, and I am convinced of this after these first weeks of the pandemic, we will succeed in mastering this gigantic challenge. Merkel emphasized that the restrictions of the past few weeks have achieved an important goal: "Our health care system has so far stood the test. However, he added that it is still important to remain disciplined in order to effectively combat the coronavirus pandemic. "Let's not gamble away what we have achieved," Merkel appealed. Merkel underlined the importance of European solidarity in overcoming the pandemic: the main thing now is to "act quickly". Germany would work on a European economic recovery plan that could support the necessary upturn, the Chancellor said.
The Ministry of Labour has decided to increase the minimum wages for nursing assistants in four steps to 12.55 euros per hour nationwide from 1 May 2020 to 1 April 2022. A minimum wage of 12.50 euros (in the West) or 12.20 euros (in the East) will apply to qualified auxiliary nursing staff with a one-year training course from 1 April 2021. From April 1, 2022, the minimum wage will be 13.20 euros in the East and West. Nursing specialists with a three-year training course will receive at least 15 euros per hour nationwide from 1 July 2021, and on 1 April 2022 the minimum wage will rise to 15.40 euros. In addition to the statutory holiday entitlement, there will be further paid holidays for all nursing staff. Particularly in times of the corona pandemic, the great responsibility that nursing staff have for people's health and lives is demonstrated once again. Nursing staff deserve recognition, but not only that. Their working conditions have to be improved, and the profession has to become more attractive for new entrants. The recommendations made by the nursing care commission are now being implemented with the regulation issued by the Federal Ministry of Employment.
In order to be able to adequately assess the incidence of infection with the coronavirus, there is "not just one figure that is solely decisive," said government spokesman Steffen Seibert on Wednesday. On their own, these data quickly reach the limits of their meaningfulness. Therefore, a number of indicators play a role. In addition to relations, curves and percentages, the following questions are always important: How many people are infected, how many are ill, how many of them are seriously ill? How many beds are needed in hospitals, how many in intensive care? The Robert Koch Institute as the responsible federal institute provides comprehensive information on the coronavirus and reports continuously on the number of infections.
The Federal Government is in a position to support citizens and the economy over a longer period of time - in the coronavirus pandemic, the solid financial policy of the past years is paying off. This is shown by the German Stability Programme 2020, which the Cabinet approved on Wednesday. It will now be sent to the European Commission and the Council of Economic and Finance Ministers (Ecofin Council) - in accordance with the Stability and Growth Pact. According to the Stability and Growth Pact, German financial policy is currently dominated by the fight against the Covid 19 pandemic and its economic consequences. In 2020, the volume of the measures affecting the national budget will amount to around 453 billion euros, the total volume of guarantees will amount to around 820 billion euros. In addition, the Federal Government continues to pursue its long-term goals - including high investments for climate protection. You can read more about the stability programme here.
+++ Wednesday, April 22nd +++
In a special meeting, the G20 agriculture ministers and representatives of international organisations agreed to work more closely together to strengthen trade and supply chains in corona times and to ensure global food security. In addition, the economic consequences of the pandemic for farmers and consumers, especially in poorer regions, are to be mitigated. The objectives in detail:
+ Maintaining supply chains: Export restrictions should only be possible in emergencies and should comply with WTO rules.
+ Strengthening of the G20 agricultural market information system AMIS to promote the transparency of the international food market.
+ Closer cooperation as well as increased cooperation with the private sector in order to secure food supplies.
+ Combating food waste and losses.
+ Support for farmers and people in rural areas, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.
+ Continued cooperation with international organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
+ Close cooperation between the G20 agriculture ministers to ensure that corona measures are constantly adapted.
"Free trade means food security, also and especially in times of crisis", emphasised Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner. For this reason, she said, Germany had advocated that all G20 countries should commit themselves to imposing export restrictions only in exceptional cases.
+++ Tuesday, April 21st +++
Consumers should refrain from making new travel plans at this time. The worldwide travel warning issued by the Federal Foreign Office is still valid. "We have decided to issue a warning from now on against all unnecessary tourist travel abroad", said Federal Foreign Minister Maas. Whether and what kind of travel at home and abroad will be possible in summer depends on the worldwide development of the corona pandemic. Many popular holiday destinations currently have exit restrictions and entry bans. The current contact restrictions in Germany apply until 3 May. Until then, the Federal Government will reassess the development and decide on further measures. In the case of trips that have already been booked, it depends on the type of trip you have booked. The following applies to package tours: With the worldwide travel warning about the coronavirus, you can cancel upcoming package tours free of charge. If you are planning a trip at a later date, you should contact your tour operator, accommodation or airline early on. These often react to the newer developments themselves. Further information can be obtained from, among others, the consumer advice centre and the European Consumer Centre.
Following the meeting of the "Corona Cabinet", Chancellor Merkel stressed that despite the successes achieved so far, citizens must remain "vigilant and disciplined". She said that only in a fortnight's time will it be known what the consequences of the loosening of restrictions agreed upon between the federal and state governments will be. "We must not allow ourselves to lull ourselves into a second of security", said the Chancellor. You can see the statement in the video here. As the Chancellor stressed, she was aware of the plight of many people. Nevertheless, she warned against the risk of a relapse with hasty loosening of the rules "with her eyes open". "We are far from out of the woods," said the Chancellor. The fact that the reproduction factor is currently below the value of one is thanks to the citizens who, with "excessive discipline and a great deal of patience", have borne all the restrictions. "Today, too, I would like to thank them once again from the bottom of my heart", said the Chancellor. The "Corona Cabinet" decided on Monday to further strengthen the public health service: Among other things, 105 mobile teams will support the local offices. They are to help track down contact persons, Chancellor Merkel said. You can read the detailed report on the Chancellor's statement here.
A gradual opening of day-care centres in Germany could only be achieved depending on the further course of the corona pandemic, emphasised Federal Minister for Family Affairs Franziska Giffey. This will also be taken into account by the federal and state working group, which is now developing guidelines and recommendations. Minister Giffey said that the perspectives of parents, children and educators must be taken into account. Parents would slowly reach their limits due to the closure of the day-care centres. Many children are suffering because they are not allowed to play with friends of the same age. In addition, Giffey stressed that aspects such as lack of language support should not be lost sight of. It was important for the educators to observe health and safety at work when resuming daycare operations. The Federal-Länder working group therefore also discussed recommendations for a hygiene plan. Giffey expressed his relief that in the current period of day-care centre closures, many federal states are providing more families with emergency care for their children. He said that it was often enough for one parent to work in a so-called systemically important profession.
+++ Monday, April 20th +++
The Federal Government is offering aid to the catering and hotel industry affected by the Corona pandemic. The industry needed "support so that it can get back on its feet once the crisis has subsided", Federal Economic Minister Altmaier told the newspaper "Bild am Sonntag". The Economics Minister called the lowering of the VAT rate for restaurants to seven percent a "proposal that deserves careful consideration". In an interview with the newspaper "Welt am Sonntag," Federal Finance Minister Scholz emphasized that the examination for further assistance "will focus primarily on those industries for which the situation is not yet ready to start again so quickly. The hotel and restaurant industry is certainly one of them".
+++ Friday, April 16th +++
Clear and binding nationwide occupational safety standards are to protect employees from infection with the coronavirus. Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil has presented a paper with concrete requirements for health protection in the world of work. According to the paper, companies should, for example, expand occupational health precautions, ensure that safety distances are maintained at work, take additional hygiene measures and ensure that risk groups are especially protected. Further information on the new Covid 19 occupational health and safety standard can be found here.
The supplementary standards are necessary because more people will return to their workplaces as a result of the relaxation of corona measures decided on by the Federal and State Governments. The accident insurance institutions will concretize and further develop the general corona virus occupational health and safety standard with industry-specific information and consulting services.
The soldiers of the Nato states have already carried out more than 100 transport flights to provide medical personnel and equipment to cope with the Corona pandemic. More than 4,000 military medical personnel are supporting the civilian forces and more than 25,0000 beds have been provided for treatment. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg praised the joint action of the military alliance in the Corona pandemic. "The crisis has shown that our allies are resilient and united," said Stoltenberg after a video conference with NATO defence ministers.
Germany is also participating. For example, the German Armed Forces have provided support in transporting critically ill corona patients from Italy and France to German hospitals and supplied respiratory equipment to Great Britain. Further information on Bundeswehr measures in connection with the corona epidemic can be found here.
In order to secure supplier credits for German companies and to support the economy in difficult times, the Federal Government has agreed a protective shield together with the credit insurers. For the year 2020, the Federal Government will assume a guarantee for indemnification payments by the ECAs in the amount of 30 billion euros". With the protective shield, we are securing the flow of goods and thus ensuring a smooth flow of goods, which we urgently need right now," says Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. Credit insurance protects suppliers from payment defaults if a customer at home or abroad cannot or does not want to pay the invoice.
The corona pandemic can only be defeated with a strong and coordinated international response - this was stressed by Chancellor Angela Merkel after a video conference of the G7 heads of state and government. She also underlined the important role of WHO and other international health organisations. The Chancellor also welcomed the initiative of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to host a virtual donor conference on Covid-19 on 4 May. She stressed the need for rapid support for African countries. Against this background, she said that yesterday's agreement by G20 finance ministers and central bank governors on a debt moratorium for developing countries was very helpful. However, she said that further possible measures needed to be considered.
+++ Thursday, April 16th +++
The contact restrictions in force since mid-March will in principle be extended until 3 May 2020.
- School operations are to be gradually resumed from 4 May onwards - initially with priority for graduating classes and qualification-relevant year groups and the last class of primary school.
- Examinations and exam preparation for the final classes of this school year should be able to take place again.
- The Conference of Education Ministers has been instructed to submit a concept by 29 April for further steps to resume teaching as a whole.
- Emergency care will be continued and extended to other occupational and requirement groups.
- Shops with a sales area of up to 800 square metres and, irrespective of the sales area, car dealers, bicycle dealers and bookstores can reopen. In doing so, they must comply with regulations on hygiene, access control and avoiding queues.
- Hairdressers should prepare themselves to resume operations from 4 May onwards under the same conditions and by wearing personal protective clothing.
- Meetings in churches, mosques and synagogues as well as religious ceremonies and events are to be suspended for the time being.
- Citizens remain called upon to continue to refrain from private travel and visits.
- Major events will remain prohibited at least until 31 August 2020.
- In good time before 4 May, the Federal Chancellor and the heads of the Länder governments will reassess developments and decide on further measures.
The border controls temporarily reintroduced at the internal borders with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Denmark, Italy and Spain will be extended by order of the Federal Ministry of the Interior for another 20 days until 4 May 2020. The aim is to further contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Border controls had been temporarily reintroduced on 16 March at the internal land borders with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark. On 26 March, the Federal Government extended the controls to include the airside borders with the above-mentioned states as well as with Italy and Spain and, on the sea side, with Denmark. The basis of the decision is Article 28 of the Schengen Borders Code.
+++ Wednesday, April 15th +++
The German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and the police crime prevention departments of the federal and state governments warn against fake websites in connection with Corona emergency aid. These pages look strikingly genuine, are prominently placed in search engines and serve the purpose of retrieving the data of the applicants. The data collected in this way can later be used for fraud offences.
Do not give fraudsters a chance! Only use the websites of the official regional offices to submit applications for emergency aid. Click here to go to the relevant authorities. Tips on phishing in connection with the Corona epidemic can be found at the BSI, for recognition and correct handling of fake Internet pages, visit the website of the State Office of Criminal Investigation NRW.
+++ Tuesday, April 14th +++
Cruise shipping companies can now apply to suspend debt repayments on their cruise ships financed with government export credit guarantees for one year. According to the Federal Ministry of Economics this is to avoid liquidity bottlenecks and protect thousands of jobs. As a result of the corona epidemic cruise shipping companies worldwide had to virtually suspend their business operations - with negative consequences for European shipbuilders. Cancellation of ship orders and postponement of investments in new buildings would have fatal consequences for employees in the European shipyard industry and in the numerous supplier companies.
+++ Friday, April 10th +++
According to Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, the European Union will provide "three strong answers" to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. He said this after the EU finance ministers agreed on a protection program of 500 billion euros on Thursday evening. This comprises three parts:
- Aid for small and medium-sized enterprises through the European Investment Bank
- Support for employees through an instrument of short-time work as we know it in Germany
- Credit lines for states via the European Rescue Scheme ESM
"Today is a great day of European solidarity and also strength," Scholz explained in his video statement. Both mankind and Europe were challenged by the virus pandemic. It was important to provide joint answers. "It is about the health of the citizens, it is about job security and it is about the fact that many companies are surviving in this crisis." He added that this was a challenge for the European Union.
+++ Thursday, April 9th +++
The EU warns against online fraud and unfair practices related to the coronavirus. For example, masks, medicines or disinfectants are sold as "remedies and protection" at many times their real value. The EU warning including tips on how to recognise dubious online traders can be found here. Caution is advised if there are explicit or implicit statements that a product can prevent or cure Covid-19 infections. Another popular scam: limited stocks are faked. For example, a product is "only available today" or "sold out quickly", it is then said.
The Cabinet has decided to make life easier for students and scientists in tiems of Corona. For scientists and researchers who are in their qualification phase, the maximum time limits will be extended - by the time pandemic-related restrictions on university and scientific operations occur. Students who receive BAföG benefits are allowed to improve their income by working to combat the coronavirus pandemic. These are not counted towards the BAföG rate. "The Federal Government wants to alleviate the pandemic-related impairments for scientists quickly and unbureaucratically and create additional incentives for BAföG recipients", said Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek. Both regulations were launched by the Federal Cabinet on Wednesday.
Chinese companies have resumed production for medical goods, some of which had been ordered for a long time, and can thus meet their delivery obligations again. The German government welcomes this development. The first eight million protective masks arrived in Munich on Tuesday. You can find a tweet of the BMVI here. On 25 March, Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke on the phone with Chinese President XI Jingping to exchange views on the current global challenge posed by the Covid 19 pandemic. In their conversation they agreed that the current crisis situation can only be resolved through close international cooperation. This includes a functioning trade in important medical goods. The goods are transported by Deutsche Lufthansa.
In their spring report, the experts expect a 4.2 percent decline in economic output due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the researchers predict a recovery and growth of 5.8 percent for the coming year. The development has an impact on the labour market: at its peak, the unemployment rate could rise to 5.9 percent and the number of short-time workers to 2.4 million, according to the report. You can find further information here. Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier emphasized that he feels that the report confirms his assessment: "However, the figures from the economic research institutes also show very clearly that our measures, especially short-time work, are having an effect in order to limit the rise in unemployment.
+++ Wednesday, April 8th +++
The measures taken by the federal and state governments in the fight against the coronavirus are showing results. Nevertheless, despite the successes already achieved, it is still too early for any relaxation. "We would be a bad Federal Government if we were to name a date now", Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed on Monday. You can see the Chancellor's statement here. Nevertheless, Merkel said that there were intensive considerations as to how "we can gradually open up life again, even if health protection is maintained". In recent weeks, the infection rate has noticeably decreased. One infected person currently infects statistically 1.2 to 1.5 additional people. Initially the figure was five to seven people. You can read the current case numbers and the assessment of the Robert Koch Institute here. In her weekly podcast, the Chancellor had also emphasized that it would be "absolutely irresponsible" to name a specific day on which the measures could be relaxed.
+++ Tuesday, April 7th +++
In order to further slow down the spread of the coronavirus, the federal government is proposing stricter entry requirements. If the federal states agree to the decision, the new rules could come into force on April 10th. According to the new rules, a two-week quarantine will apply to Germans, EU citizens, citizens of a Schengen-associated state or persons who have lived in Germany for many years and who, after a stay abroad of at least several days, enter Germany to return to their place of residence in Germany. The exact procedure will be agreed with the countries in the coming days. This procedure is necessary because we now have "the world as a risk area", Chancellor Angela Merkel explained the decision. The aim of the measures is to prevent new chains of infection caused by entering the country from abroad. At the same time, unnecessary entries are to be avoided.
The Federal Government is expanding credit assistance for small and medium-sized enterprises. The new programme "KfW Quick Loan 2020" makes it possible to provide support for SMEs even faster. "With the KfW Quick Loan we are now launching another programme that will complement the existing offers. It is aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises and businesses that now need support very, very quickly and is based on different conditions than our other forms of assistance, which will of course continue to exist," announced Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.
The new programme "KfW Quick Loan 2020" will be 100 percent exempt from liability. The Federal Government is thus creating the conditions for rapid and uncomplicated provision by the main banks. Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier emphasised: "SMEs are the backbone of our economy and are particularly affected by this crisis. It is therefore crucial that we maintain this unique substance and breadth so that we can get back on track after the crisis".
+++ Monday, April 6th +++
Especially for families living together in a very confined space, the current situation due to the corona pandemic is a great test. Especially in the cities there is an increasing threat of domestic violence. This was pointed out by the Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Franziska Giffey. "There is obviously a gap between town and country", the Minister explained. She had already received feedback from Berlin last week that reports of domestic violence had risen by ten percent.
The situation is obviously different in rural areas. Where there are more opportunities to go outside and where people do not live so much in a confined space, the potential for conflict is not so high, said Giffey. No higher case numbers are known from these regions so far.
Help phone "Number against sorrow"
Anyone who needs support in cases of domestic violence or has questions can turn to various counselling centres throughout the country. In addition, the help telephone "Number against sorrow" is available. According to Minister Giffey, there has been an increase of more than 20 percent in the number of calls to the "number against grief". However, this could also be due to the fact that the help line has been increasingly advertised. Apart from children, women are particularly vulnerable to domestic violence. The nationwide help line "Gewalt gegen Frauen" (Violence against Women) supports women in need around the clock, anonymously and in 18 languages.
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 91,714 people in Germany have been proven to be infected with the coronavirus (as of April 5, 0:00 am). That is 5,936 more than the day before. The number of deaths rose by 184 to 1,342. Further data can be found here at the RKI. According to the Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA), 1,204,246 people in 181 countries worldwide have become infected with the coronavirus. 64,806 people have died from the virus (as of April 5, 9:54 am). Further figures can be found on the website of Johns Hopkins University.
Measures show effect
According to the Robert Koch Institute, the measures taken to contain the pandemic are showing results. For a few days now, an infected person has on average only infected one more person, RKI President Lothar Wieler reported on Friday (3 April). In recent weeks, this figure had been between five and seven people. However, this is no reason to give the all-clear: "We have to push this number below one", Wieler said. Only then will the number of illnesses decrease. He hopes that this will be achieved in the coming days. The prerequisite is that hygiene and distance regulations continue to be strictly adhered to, Wieler affirmed.
+++ Sunday, April 5th +++
With immediate effect, special payments for employees up to an amount of 1,500 euros this year are tax- and social security-free. The federal government has now ensured that these bonuses, with which companies reward the commitment of their employees in the Corona crisis, will reach the employees without deductions. "We want to reward 100 percent commitment during this period," said Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.
+++ Friday, April 3rd+++
The harvest workers concept of the Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer and the Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner provides for a limited entry of seasonal workers under strict conditions. According to this, up to 40,000 harvest workers may come to Germany in April and May each year - provided they arrive by plane and are picked up by the farms at the airport. In addition, the helpers must pass a health check and are separated from the other workers in the first two weeks. The following applies to the accommodation of the foreign seasonal workers: Only half of the accommodation may be occupied. Fruit and vegetable farmers in Germany are to receive additional support from domestic helpers. The idea is that unemployed, students, asylum seekers and short-time workers could help the farms. Thus, about 10,000 additional helpers could be mobilized for April and May each.
+++ Thursday, April 2nd +++
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 73,522 people in Germany have been proven to be infected with the coronavirus (as of April 2). This is 6,156 more than the day before. The number of deaths rose by 140 to 872. Further data can be found here at the RKI. According to the Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA), 938,373 people in 180 countries worldwide have become infected with the coronavirus. 47,273 people have died from the virus (as of April 2). Further figures can be found on the website of Johns Hopkins University.
350,000 tests per week
RKI President Lothar Wieler assumes "that we will see what the trend is by Easter". Currently, about 350,000 people per week in Germany are tested for Covid-19 disease. In a few weeks, he said, resilient figures on the nationwide development can be expected. The RKI estimates that the mortality rate of infected people in Germany will increase. Currently, at 1.2 percent of those infected, it is significantly lower than in the European Union, which has a total of over seven percent.
Many mild cases registered
The still low value in Germany was due to particularly early and many tests, which led to the fact that many mild cases were also registered. The average age of infected persons is currently 49 years. Meanwhile, more cases are also being counted in nursing and old people's homes, said Wieler. "Unfortunately we have to assume that the mortality rate will increase with this." In addition, it should be remembered that there is always a time lag in the reports: "People only die after a certain course of disease," Wieler continued.
+++ Wednesday, April 1 +++
"It would be very bad if we relaxed the contact restrictions too early and had to row back later," explained Chancellor Angela Merkel after a telephone conference with the heads of government of the German states. That is why they had agreed to maintain the current contact restrictions.
Keep your distance - even over the holidays
In a joint resolution, the federal and state governments once again made it clear that the contact restrictions also apply to Easter. Thus it is stated: "Citizens are urged to keep contacts with other people outside the members of their own household to an absolute minimum, even during the Easter holidays, in accordance with the applicable rules". Merkel appealed to citizens to refrain from private travel and visits - including those by relatives.
Renewed assessment of the situation after Easter
On the Tuesday after Easter, the situation will be reassessed in order to decide on how to proceed, the Chancellor explained. The benchmark will be the assessment of the Robert Koch Institute and the epidemiologists.
+++ Tuesday, March 31th +++
There has been a sharp increase in notifications of short-time work. In March, around 470,000 advertisements for short-time work were received by the Federal Employment Agency nationwide. The simplified access to short-time work benefits is part of the federal government's immediate action program.
"Overcoming the Corona crisis will be a historic feat. We are exposed to this crisis - but not at the mercy of it," stressed Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil on Tuesday. "We have one of the strongest welfare states in the world and in good times we have built up reserves for hard times," Heil said. Further information on this topic is available from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
+++ Monday, March 30th +++
One week after the announcement of the extended guidelines for the protection against the coronavirus by the federal and state governments, government spokesperson Steffen Seibert explains: "The interim balance must clearly state: We need all measures undiminished. Therefore, everything must still be done to slow down the coronavirus on its way through Germany. "Let's stick to it! Let's go with it! This is vital in the truest sense of the word", said the government spokesman.
Good hand hygiene, adherence to coughing and sneezing etiquette and keeping your hands away from the virus are the most effective measures to protect against it. But wearing a mouth and nose protector can also be useful when people with acute cold and respiratory diseases are out and about in public places. This is because they can protect others from infection. The recommendations of the Robert Koch Institute point this out. So here it is primarily a matter of protection from others: the risk of infecting another person by coughing or sneezing is reduced.
For the first time, virtual general meetings of stock corporations are possible: The legal regulations on the capacity to act of companies, cooperatives, associations and condominium owners' associations came into force on 28 March 2020 and are valid until the end of 2021.
The way is clear for emergency aid from the federal government. Payments to small businesses, the self-employed, freelancers and farmers are to be made quickly and without red tape. "The budget funds of up to 50 billion euros made available by the Federal Government can be called up by the federal states as of this Monday," said Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier. "It is good that the Federal Government and the Länder are working so closely together so that the aid reaches those affected quickly," said Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 57,298 people in Germany have been proven to be infected with the coronavirus (as of 8:00 am). That is 4,751 more than the day before. The number of deaths rose by 66 to 455. 723,700 people in 177 countries are infected worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA). 34,018 people have died from the virus (as of 08:50)
+++ Sunday, March 29th +++
Germany supports France in the Corona pandemic. "I have agreed with my counterpart Florence Parly that our Air Force will bring seriously ill COVID19 patients from France to our Bundeswehr hospitals for treatment. Together we are stronger", Federal Minister of Defence Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer announced on Twitter.
The federal and state transport ministers want to ensure that truck drivers can eat, shower and go to the toilet at rest areas outside the currently permitted opening hours. The ministers agreed to this in a shift conference. "Right now, truck drivers are the heroes of everyday life. They do a huge job and have to be well looked after", said Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer. Should problems arise, the drivers have a free hotline at their disposal: 0800 9 555 777.
+++ Friday, March 27th +++
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 42,288 people in Germany have been proven to be infected with the coronavirus (as of midnight). That is 5,780 more than the day before. The number of deaths has increased by 55 to 253.
+++ Thursday, 26 March +++
EU heads of state and government discussed the current situation of the corona pandemic in a European Council video conference on Thursday. "We are determined to meet this challenge together", Chancellor Merkel stressed. She particularly thanked the Commission for its courageous action.
The heads of state and government of the G20 countries have agreed to take joint action against the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic. Together with international organisations, they want to "take all necessary steps to overcome this pandemic", the G20 declared by video conference after an unscheduled summit.
Federal Minister of Agriculture Klöckner believes that the supply of the most important foodstuffs in Germany is secured. "Basic foodstuffs are produced, processed and offered in sufficient quantities," she explained in a joint press conference with Federal Transport Minister Scheuer. There was no reason to hoard food even during the Corona epidemic, she said.
+++ Wednesday, March 25th +++
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has brought the supplementary budget to the German Bundestag. With 122.5 billion euros, the federal government wants to finance measures to deal with the corona crisis. The supplementary budget is part of the federal government's overall package on the corona pandemic, which it approved in the Bundestag on Wednesday.
+++ Monday, March 23rd +++
The German government has adopted a far-reaching package of measures to mitigate the consequences of the spread of the coronavirus. The Cabinet initiated emergency aid for micro-enterprises and solo self-employed persons. Clinics and practices will be strengthened, and access to short-time work benefits simplified. And the federal government is helping large companies with an economic stabilisation fund. Chancellor Merkel emphasized in an audio podcast that the federal government is doing everything it can to counteract the economic consequences of the corona virus.
The KfW Special Programme 2020 is launched: It supports companies that have temporarily run into financing difficulties due to the corona pandemic. Small, medium-sized and also large enterprises can now submit applications through their main bank. Disbursements will be made as quickly as possible, and the funds for the Special Programme are unlimited. The EU Commission approved the German aid programs yesterday.
Due to the corona crisis, many people currently are unable to work, for example in the catering or retail sectors. At the same time, up to 300,000 workers are missing in agriculture. An online platform is now establishing contact between farmers and citizens in order to place them for planting and harvesting work in agriculture - a joint initiative of the Bundesverband der Maschinenringe e.V. and the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
+++ Friday, March 20th+++
"It depends on each individual", government spokesman Steffen Seibert appealed to the people. Thanks to the millions of people who comply with the restrictions - out of civic spirit, reason and charity, Seibert stressed. He appealed to everyone else: "Take the situation seriously! It depends on each individual! The Federal Government emphasizes: The fewer people come into contact with each other, the more difficult it is for the virus to spread. It is important that we reduce personal contacts in order to flatten the infection curve. For this purpose, it referred to the campaign #WirBleibenZuhause.
+++ Wednesday, March 18th +++
Chancellor Merkel addresses the citizens of Germany in a speech. "It is serious. Since German reunification, no, since the Second World War, there has not been a challenge to our country that depends so much on our joint solidarity," the Chancellor emphasized.
From March 20 to 22, 2020, various social organisations are organising a hackathon on the initiative of tech4Germany together with the German government. The aim is to master the challenges arising from the corona crisis together with new solutions. Until Friday morning, all citizens and ministries can submit their "challenges" and problems for which they would like to have a solution. These will then be worked on virtually in groups during the hackathon.
To ensure that holiday planes may continue to land and German travellers may return, the Federal Ministry of Transport and the federal states have agreed maximum flexibility for exceptions to the ban on night flights. Deutsche Bahn supports the Federal Government in the repatriation of travellers from abroad. Airline boarding passes serve as train tickets for onward travel to the actual destination airport in the home country. If the return flight does not make it to the set destination, DB will provide free transportation within Germany. "We want german tourists to return home quickly and safely", said Federal Transport Minister Scheuer.
The German government has provided up to 50 million euros to enable German travellers stranded abroad to return to Germany in the next few days. The Federal Foreign Office is providing information on the repatriation operations and also on the subject of worldwide travel warnings in the form of an FAQ.
+++ Tuesday, March 17th +++
„We will do everything we can to enable the thousands of German travellers who are stranded abroad to return to Germany in the next few days, “ emphasized Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. The Federal Government has made up to 50 million euro available for this purpose.
In addition, the Foreign Office is warning against unnecessary tourist trips to foreign countries worldwide. In many countries, severe and increasingly drastic restrictions on international air and travel are to be expected. Drastic restrictions on worldwide entry restrictions, quarantine measures and public life are also to be expected. The risk that travellers will not be able to make their return journey due to the increasing restrictions is currently high in many destinations.
The Foreign Office provides details here. Advice and information is available around the clock via the hotline of the Federal Foreign Office: +49 30 1817 3000.
In order to interrupt chains of infection on long journeys to Germany, cross-border travel will be restricted. Particular attention is being paid to the unrestricted maintenance of freight traffic. „Many people are doing extraordinary things to ensure that our supplies function, “ says Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer.
+++ Monday, March 16th +++
The Federal Foreign Office advises against unnecessary travel abroad. The risk for travellers that they will no longer be able to make the return journey due to increasing restrictions is currently too high in many destinations.
+++ Sunday, March 15th +++
In order to contain the coronavirus, the Federal Government temporarily restricts cross-border traffic from France, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Denmark. Goods traffic remains possible, and commuters can also enter the country. This was announced by Federal Minister of the Interior Seehofer.
+++ Friday, 13 March +++
On Friday, Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke with representatives of business associations and trade unions about the effects of the coronavirus. She said before the meeting that the federal and state governments were willing to "do everything that is necessary and that Germany needs in order to get through this crisis as well as possible".
Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier have presented a comprehensive package of measures to cushion the effects of the corona virus. They announced an unlimited credit program for companies.
The aid package is also intended to benefit the cultural and creative industries, emphasised Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters. According to Grütters, the industry has been hit particularly hard and in some cases existentially by event cancellations and order cancellations. The federal and state governments are working on further assistance for the cultural industry.
The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology offers information and support for companies with regard to the effects of the coronavirus. For business-related questions about the coronavirus, the Ministry has set up a hotline that can be reached at 030-18615 1515.
+++ Thursday, 12 March +++
The Chancellor and the heads of government of the Länder passed several resolutions on Thursday evening: Thus, as far as medically justifiable, all plannable admissions, operations and procedures in all hospitals are to be postponed indefinitely from Monday onwards. With this measure, hospitals should be able to concentrate on the expected increase in demand for intensive care and ventilation capacities for the treatment of patients with severe respiratory diseases caused by Covid-19. Chancellor Merkel also called for social contacts to be avoided wherever possible.
+++ Wednesday, March 11th +++
The Chancellor has called on the population in Germany to show solidarity in order to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. It was a matter of gaining time and not overburdening the health system, Angela Merkel said. This would protect the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions. She thanked all those who are already "very, very hard pressed" by their efforts against the virus. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn emphasized that it is important that all citizens give up a piece of their everyday life in order to protect themselves and others.