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.

 

Bundespressekonferenz Corona
dpa

+++ 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.

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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."

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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.

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

 

+++ 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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"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

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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".

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

 

+++ 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.

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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.

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+++ 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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