Merkel calls for cooperation on corona vaccine Here you find the most important news about the spread of the lung disease in Germany.
May 3rd, 2020: Merkel calls for cooperation on corona vaccine
Berlin (dpa) – Chancellor Angela Merkel is also counting on more speed in the development of a vaccine to overcome the corona crisis. In her weekly video address published on Saturday, the German head of government called for more international cooperation against the pandemic. “We know that it is causing severe damage everywhere, including to our economic, social and societal life. That is why we must work hard and with great concentration to contain and then defeat this virus by developing a vaccine,” she said. At a donor conference on 4 May, to which the EU Commission had invited, Germany would make a “substantial financial contribution”. An estimated eight billion euros are missing for the development of a vaccine.
Everything you need to know about the corona crisis in Germany and the measures being taken against the spread of the virus:
May 2nd, 2020: Saxony-Anhalt first federal state to ease contact restrictions
Magdeburg (dpa) – Saxony-Anhalt eases the contact restrictions that have been in force for six weeks. From Monday on, five people are allowed to travel together, even if they do not live in the same household, as the state government decided on Saturday. Previously, only one person or more members of one’s own household were allowed to accompany them. The reason for the relaxation are the comparatively low infection rates in Saxony-Anhalt.
The federal government had announced after a conference of federal and state governments on Thursday that the tough contact restrictions should be maintained.
May 1st, 2020: Demos for “Labour Day”: Protest only digital
Berlin (dpa) – More than ten million workers in short-time work, and the worst economic consequences of the Corona crisis are probably yet to come: With a protest organised mainly on the Internet, trade unions warned on 1 May of cuts at the expense of employees. #SolidarityNot alone was the motto under which the German Trade Union Federation (DGB) celebrated “Labour Day” in a completely digital way with music and video switching – even over the roofs of Berlin.
Only a few DGB representatives protested on Friday morning with a large banner in front of the Brandenburg Gate. The police announced that they would consistently try to break up possible demonstrations and crowds on May 1st. Berlin’s Senator of the Interior Andreas Geisel announced that the day would be dedicated to infection control. Political gatherings and gatherings of more than 20 people even with intervals are currently not allowed due to corona restrictions.
April 30, 2020: Federal government wants to reopen playgrounds. Contact restrictions will be extended
Berlin (dpa) – After weeks of closure due to the Corona pandemic, the German government wants children to be allowed to play in the playgrounds again soon. Larger opening steps – such as for schools, daycare centers and club sports – are not to be decided until May 6. This is the result of a draft resolution presented by the federal government for the consultations of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) with the heads of state governments, which began on Thursday afternoon. According to the head of the Chancellor’s Office, Helge Braun, the contact restrictions in effect until May 3 will “certainly” be extended until May 10.
April 29, 2020: German government extends travel warning until 14 June
Berlin (dpa) – The German government has extended the worldwide travel warning for tourists due to the coronavirus pandemic until at least June 14. A corresponding proposal by the Foreign Office was accepted by the Federal Cabinet on Wednesday.
April 28, 2020: Ifo-Institut: Economy back to pre-corona level at the end of 2021
Munich (dpa) – According to the Ifo Institute, the German economy is unlikely to return to pre-crisis levels before the end of next year. “We will not return to pre-corona levels until the end of 2021,” said Timo Wollmershäuser, head of Ifo economic research, on Tuesday. However, the individual sectors are likely to recover at different rates once the restrictions have been removed. According to an evaluation of a company survey by the Ifo Institute, economic output is likely to have fallen by 1.9 percent in the first quarter and then slumped by 12.2 percent in the second. Overall, economic output is likely to fall by 6.2 percent this year.
April 27, 2020: Berliner Philharmoniker play Europe Concert with a small orchestra
Berlin (dpa) – The traditional European concert of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra on May 1 is to take place despite the corona pandemic. However, the orchestra will play in a small formation. The concert from the Berlin Philharmonic will open with a greeting from Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as the orchestra announced on Monday. The program, conducted by chief conductor Kirill Petrenko, will include Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in an arrangement for chamber orchestra. Due to the rules of spacing and hygiene requirements, the Philharmonic Orchestra has adapted the programme to a chamber music instrumentation. Since 1991, the Philharmonic Orchestra has been playing at a special historical location for its birthday on May 1. This year, the concert was planned before a European tour in Tel Aviv and as part of the German President’s state visit to Israel. Due to the pandemic, the visit was postponed and the tour cancelled.
April 26, 2020: Merkel on EU Presidency: Climate as well as health on the Agenda
Berlin (dpa) – Chancellor Angela Merkel has countered fears that in the Corona crisis climate change could be pushed off the EU agenda. Because of the pandemic, Germany’s EU Council Presidency will “take a different course than we had planned”, the German head of government said in her podcast. Climate issues would be “just as much on the agenda as health issues”. It was important to see that something was being done for “Europe’s economic revitalisation” and social cohesion, said the Chancellor, and “that we are thinking about the future – and that is the climate and environmental issues”. On 1 July Germany will take over the EU Council Presidency for the first time in 13 years. The main topics should actually be climate protection and digitalisation, the brexite and the EU’s medium-term financial planning.
April 25, 2020: Africa: Solidarity in the fight against Covid‑19
Berlin (Federal Foreign Office) – Germany is taking rapid and targeted action in numerous African countries in an effort of solidarity. Germanys approach comprises, on the one hand, support for global and multilateral action, such as the development of vaccines and medicines, and on the other, projects carried out together with African partners at the local level, close to the people they serve. In many locations, existing projects can be adapted to meet the needs of the new situation, allowing assistance to be provided quickly and directly. Just a few examples:
- GIZ and the Malawi Red Cross Society are working together to set up isolation wards for Covid‑19 patients in Malawian hospitals.
- In Benin, three German experts from a rapid-response team are currently training Beninese laboratory staff. Medical equipment for the central laboratory in the capital Cotonou has also been made available.
- In Ghana, the Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine is receiving support in modernising its facilities and procuring medical consumables and reagents in order to increase testing capacities.
The Federal Government is also committed to humanitarian aid and has already provided 363 million euro for humanitarian aid measures in Africa for 2020.
April 24, 2020: Merkel: Decisions on relaxation of corona requirements not until May 6th
Berlin (dpa) – According to Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), the federal and state governments will probably not decide on further relaxation of corona-related restrictions until May 6th. Merkel said after the EU summit in Berlin, that the effects of the opening of stores could only be estimated 14 days later. Other loosening would come into effect even later. So far it had been expected that decisions on further steps could be made as early as the end of April.
EU plans trillion-euro program against Corona economic crisis
Berlin/Brussels (dpa) – On Thursday evening the heads of government of the states of the European Union approved a 500 billion aid package already agreed upon and the establishment of a reconstruction fund through which another 1000 billion euros in aid could be spent. German EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen will work out a model by mid-May. German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her “No” to a joint debt. She said, however, that Germany would pay more into the EU budget – most recently it was 13.4 billion euros more than Germany got back through EU programs.
April 23, 2020: Merkel hires citizens for a long period of corona restrictions
Berlin (dpa) – Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has prepared citizens for the fact that the restrictions in the Corona crisis will continue for a long time to come. “I understand that this life under corona conditions has been happening to everyone for a very, very long time,” said Merkel on Thursday in her first government statement on the corona pandemic in the Bundestag. Nobody likes to hear it, but it is the truth: “We are not living in the final phase of the pandemic, but still at its beginning. We will have to live with this virus for a long time to come.”
April 22, 2020: Germany willing to boost EU budget share in Covid pandemic
Brussels (dpa) – Germany is prepared to significantly increase its contribution to the European Union’s next long-term budget, Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth said on Wednesday, ahead of talks with his EU Counterparts. The European Commission is touting the bloc’s next seven-year budget framework as a key to rebuilding Europe’s economy, which is being ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic. Berlin is “ready to make significantly more funding available,” Roth said, noting that this was a pledge already made by Chancellor Angela Merkel. The issue is expected to feature at a videoconference of EU leaders on Thursday, which the bloc’s European affairs ministers were preparing. Roth stressed the need to show solidarity, noting that European states can expect Germany to make a “special effort.”
April 21, 2020: RKI: No return to normality without vaccine
Berlin (dpa) – The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) appealed to the German population on Tuesday to continue to comply with the anti-corona recommendations. “The virus is not gone,” RKI Vice President Lars Schaade said in Berlin on Tuesday. Without a vaccine there would be no return to normality, he said. The situation was still serious, Schaade said, even though some progress had been made in Germany in the fight against the virus. Schaade called on people to continue to follow the recommendations: For example, staying at home as much as possible, keeping a distance of at least 1.5 metres, sneezing or coughing in the crook of one’s arm, and additionally wearing a mask over mouth and nose, for example in shops or on public Transport.
April 20, 2020: Merkel criticizes “opening discussion orgies” – risk of relapse increased
Berlin (dpa) – Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has criticised the discussions on further relaxation of restrictions in the fight against the corona virus in an exceptionally harsh manner. On Monday, Merkel made it clear in a switching conference of the CDU presidium how dissatisfied she was that the message of cautious loosening had led to “opening discussion orgies” in some countries. This, she said, greatly increased the risk of a relapse.
April 19, 2020: Federal Minister of Finance wants to help hotel and restaurant industry
Berlin (dpa) – Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz (SPD) has promised financial support to hoteliers and restaurant operators who are particularly affected by the ongoing closure in the Corona pandemic. “Of course we are looking closely at whether and where we need further assistance. We are particularly focusing on those sectors which cannot start again quickly. The hotel and restaurant industry is certainly one of them,” Scholz told “Welt am Sonntag”. The German Hotel and Restaurant Association (Dehoga) warned that the more than 223,000 companies in the sector will have lost around 10 billion euros in sales by the end of April. Without additional state support, every third business would face insolvency.
April 18, 2020: First federal state introduces compulsory masks
Dresden (dpa) – The East German state of Saxony is the first in Germany to make masks mandatory for public transport and retail. The regulation will apply from Monday, said State Premier Michael Kretschmer (CDU) in Dresden. To cover nose and mouth, it does not have to be an expensive FFP2 mask, a simple cloth or scarf is sufficient, the head of the government emphasized. Kretschmer said that if one allows additional contacts of people in so many areas, a mask obligation is “the right answer”. Starting Monday, some restrictions to contain the Corona pandemic are to be relaxed in Saxony.
Church services to be possible again despite corona
Berlin (dpa) – Worship services are to be made possible again in Germany step by step, provided that hygiene rules are observed to protect against corona. A concept for this is to be developed in the coming days. This should then be the basis for later decisions, said a spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of the Interior after a discussion with representatives of the Catholic and Protestant Churches, the Orthodox Christians, the Central Council of Jews as well as the Coordination Council of Muslims. Saxony now wants to allow public worship services again starting Monday under certain conditions. Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, chairman of the council of the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD), said afterwards that the consensus reached was that worship services should be permitted again as soon as possible after April 30th, provided that hygienic regulations and minimum distances are observed.
April 17, 2020: Germany demands more aid for poorest countries
Berlin (dpa) – Before the spring meeting of the World Bank, Development Minister Gerd Müller (CSU) has called for further aid for the least developed countries in the Corona crisis. At the same time he welcomed Wednesday’s decision by leading economic nations to suspend debt service for such countries. “I expect that the World Bank will also participate in the debt moratorium,” said Müller before the World Bank meeting this Friday, which he will attend as German Governor at the World Bank by video.
“Global supply chains are already breaking down. Millions of people without work or income are facing nothing, which can lead to hunger, unrest and violence,” Müller explained. Müller mentioned several demands: “With the debt deferral we gain precious time, but I fear that many countries need much more help. That’s why I am advocating that in a second step we prepare debt relief for the poorest 47 countries, the so-called Least Developed Countries.” These countries would have to commit themselves to invest the interest saved in health and social security.
April 16, 2020: The risks of the Relaxation
Berlin (dpa) – Germany has achieved a “fragile interim success” in the fight against the pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday in the wake of the announcement of initial easing of corona measures. She made it clear that even supposedly small changes in the so-called reproduction number can have considerable consequences. The figure indicates the average number of people infected by a diseased person.
With a reproduction value of 2 – one person infected with coronavirus infects two other people on average – 500 cases would result in more than one million cases after only ten rounds of infection. Even a change from 1.1 to 1.2 can mean that intensive care reaches its capacity limits months earlier. According to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), currently about one in six infected persons (16 percent) comes to hospital because of severe symptoms.
In order for an epidemic to end naturally – i.e. without a vaccine – the reproductive value would have to remain below 1 for a long time, i.e. one infected person would have to infect less than another on average. Not only in Germany is this considered to be virtually unattainable at present – especially if the situation is progressively relaxed.
April 15, 2020: School, big events, business – how it goes on
Berlin (dpa) – Schooling in Germany is to resume on 4 May, starting with the final classes, the classes that will take exams next year and the top primary school classes. The federal and state governments agreed on this on Wednesday.
An agreement was also reached during the talks with regard to major events. Due to the corona pandemic, they are to be prohibited in principle until August 31. Soccer matches are also affected. Concrete regulations, such as the size of the events, are to be made by the states.
It is also planned to open shops with a sales area of up to 800 square meters. The states can approve this under conditions regarding hygiene, access control and avoidance of queues.
The severe contact restrictions in the fight against the coronavirus, which have been in place for weeks, should in principle be extended until 3 May.
April 15, 2020: Retrieval campaign to be completed
Berlin (dpa) – A good four weeks after the start of the German government’s recall campaign, more than 230,000 People stranded abroad because of the Corona crisis have returned home. As the German Press Agency learned from the Federal Foreign Office, only a “medium four-digit number” of travellers now need to be flown out, most of them from South Africa, Argentina and Peru. The largest repatriation operation in the history of the Federal Republic is thus likely to be completed in a few days. After that, however, the embassies will continue to deal with individual cases.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas launched the repatriation campaign in mid-March in order to bring back travellers from countries from which there are no longer regular flights, together with tour operators and airlines. The Foreign Office has also chartered aircraft for this purpose and transported 62,000 passengers on 245 special flights. These included 5,000 EU citizens and 2,000 citizens from countries outside the European Union.
April 14, 2020: Broad call for eco-economic stimulus package
Berlin (dpa) – After the Corona crisis the economy must recover – but please sustainably: This is what politicians, company heads, trade unions, associations and experts from all over Europe are calling for. On Tuesday they published an appeal, which has also been signed by the German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze. “After the crisis, the time of reconstruction will come,” it says. The massive investments and plans for recovery at all levels should make climate protection and the preservation of ecosystems a central part of economic policy. The initiative was launched by Pascal Canfin, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee. Schulze said that the opportunity to develop a new model of prosperity was already available.
April 13, 2020: Science Academy Leopoldina: Schools to reopen as soon as possible
Halle (dpa) – The National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina recommends that, under certain conditions, primary and lower secondary schools should be gradually re-opened as soon as possible. The scientists’ statement published on Monday states, among other things, that it is a prerequisite for this, however, that infections are stabilised at a low level and that the well-known hygiene rules are observed. In addition, the experts are in favour of making masks mandatory in buses and trains, for example. According to the opinion, other parts of public life could also be gradually returned to normal under certain conditions, for example the retail trade, the hotel and restaurant industry and public authorities. However, private and business travel as well as social, cultural and sporting events could also take place again.
Chancellor Angela Merkel had described the Leopoldina study as “very important” for the further course of action. Merkel intends to hold a switching conference with the prime ministers this Wednesday (15 April) to assess the situation in the corona crisis after the Easter Holidays.
April 13, 2020: CDU leader urges uniform procedure for corona loosening
CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is insisting on a procedure as uniform as possible for a gradual exit from the harsh corona restrictions after the Easter holidays. “It is important that we have regulations that are as uniform as possible. Everything else raises additional questions”, Kramp-Karrenbauer told the German Press Agency in Berlin. There was also a firm agreement within the Minister President’s Conference “to be able to present a good overall package together with the Federal Government, with which one could possibly – depending on the development of the figures over Easter – take first steps”.
April 12, 2020: Maas: German EU Council Presidency becomes Corona Presidency
Berlin (dpa) – According to Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, the fight against the corona virus will be the defining issue of the German EU Council Presidency. “We will make it a ‘corona presidency’ in order to overcome corona and its consequences,” writes the SPD politician in a guest article for “Die Welt”. “Lessons must be learned from the crisis, for example by improving EU civil protection and the joint procurement and production of vital medical supplies.” He added that the EU will have to take a more proactive approach to the crisis. Maas continues: “As soon as we are out of the woods, one of the first tasks will be to gradually and in a coordinated way reduce restrictions on free travel and the internal market.” Germany will take over the EU presidency in the second half of this year.
April 11, 2020: Steinmeier asks for patience
Berlin (dpa) – At Easter, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged the citizens to be patient, disciplined and show solidarity in the Corona crisis. In a television address on Saturday, the head of state expressed optimism: “We can and we will grow even in this situation.” Steinmeier said it was “good that the state is now acting forcefully – in a crisis for which there was no script.” At the same time, he appealed to the people in Germany: “I ask you all to continue to have confidence in me, because the rulers at federal and state level are aware of their huge responsibility.” It was the first time a German president addressed a current event in this form. Normally he only gives such speeches at Christmas every year.
April 11, 2020: Maas advocates strengthening the WHO
Berlin (dpa) – Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has spoken out in favour of strengthening the World Health Organisation as a consequence of the Corona crisis. “The WHO plays an indispensable role in this pandemic. We must strengthen it now, support it and then position it for the future even better than before,” said Maas. “Criticism is always permissible, but it must be constructive.”
In the meantime, the UN Security Council has also addressed the crisis. Maas welcomed this: “We can only overcome this crisis together and in solidarity. To do so we need strong United Nations and a strong Security Council,” he said. The Federal Foreign Minister called on the Security Council adopt UN Secretary-General António Guterres call for a global ceasefire.
April 11, 2020: Germans satisfied with management of Corona crisis
Berlin (dpa) – According to a survey, the majority of Germans are satisfied with the German governments management of the Corona crisis. In a survey conducted by the opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of the German Press Agency (dpa), 66 percent rated the actions of the cabinet headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel during the crisis rather positively. Two weeks ago the figure was 54 percent. During this period, the percentage of dissatisfied people has dropped from 38 to 27 percent.
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will give a television address on the current situation in the Corona pandemic this weekend. This is the first time that a Federal President has addressed a current event in this form.
April 10, 2020: New quarantine obligation – Federal police inform at the airport
Frankfurt (dpa) – The Federal Police at Frankfurt Airport have been on duty since early Friday morning to inform returning travellers about the new quarantine obligation. “As administrative assistance for the health department, we have been handing out an information sheet to all passengers entering the airport since midnight,” said the spokesperson for the airport federal police, Reza Ahmari. “It says that they must go directly to domestic quarantine and report to their local health department.”
On Good Friday, several thousand travellers were affected at Germany’s largest airport, 80 per cent of them in connection with the repatriation programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the future, anyone entering Germany from abroad will have to spend two weeks in domestic quarantine as protection against the coronavirus. The agreement between the federal and state governments has been in force since this Friday and will initially remain in force until 19 April. There are exceptions, for example for persons who have been abroad for less than 24 hours or for certain seasonal workers.
April 10, 2020: EU finance ministers agree on rescue package against corona crisis
Brussels (dpa) – In the Corona crisis, the EU finance ministers have agreed on aid worth billions for endangered states, companies and jobs. This was announced by participants on Twitter late Thursday evening. The compromise was only reached after two rounds of negotiations and fierce dispute over the terms of the package, which amounts to some 500 billion euros. The controversial topic of corona bonds was initially excluded.
“Today is a great day of European solidarity and also strength,” said Finance Minister Olaf Scholz after the end of the protracted negotiations in Berlin. “It’s about the health of our citizens, it’s about job security and it’s about the fact that many companies will survive this crisis.”
April 10, 2020: Good Friday service in the drive-in cinema
Düsseldorf (dpa) – Strictly separated but still together: In a drive-in cinema several hundred Christians in Düsseldorf attended a Good Friday service despite the Corona crisis. According to the cinema operator, visitors had come in about 400 cars to the parking lot at the state capital’s trade fair. They were able to follow the ecumenical celebration via car radio.
April 10, 2020: Economy for roadmap from the Corona standstill
Berlin (dpa) – Business associations are pressing for an early end to the standstill in large parts of business life. The Federal association medium-size economy (BVMW) demands an exit strategy after Easter from the Federal Government. The German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) suggests a joint roadmap of politics and economy towards normality.
“One thing is certain, many companies are fighting for their survival,” said DIHK President Eric Schweitzer on Friday with a view to the decisions to be taken by the federal and state governments after Easter on the duration and possible end of shop closures and other restrictions. “A signal as to what the start of a gradual normalisation could look like is now becoming increasingly important for the planning and existence of companies”.
April 9th, 2020: Farmers’ association welcomes the entry of harvest workers
Munich (dpa) – The German Farmers’ Association welcomes the entry of foreign harvest workers in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. “We are relieved: thanks to this regulation our farms will remain able to work”, President Joachim Rukwied told “Bayerischer Rundfunk” on Thursday. Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) and Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) had agreed to fly 80,000 foreign seasonal workers to Germany under strict conditions. The helpers are urgently needed for the asparagus harvest, among other things. The first flights are scheduled to land in Dusseldorf and Berlin on Thursday. Although Rukwied hopes that harvest workers from Germany can also be deployed. However, the foreign seasonal workers would have more experience: “Without them it would not have been possible”.