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Coronavirus: Latest updates

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Berlin (Federal Foreign Office) – Germany is taking rapid and targeted action in numerous African countries in an effort of solidarity. 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.

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EU plans trillion-euro program against Corona economic crisis

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

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.

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

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

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April 18, 2020: First federal state introduces compulsory masks

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

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Church services to be possible again despite corona

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