Coronavirus latest: Germany pledges €1 billion to tackle outbreak
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Germany has pledged €1 billion to fight COVID-19 virus, the whole of Italy is on lockdown and coronavirus cases have been confirmed in every EU member state. Read DW as it happened.

  • Over 118,00 cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19 (Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2), have been confirmed worldwide, with more than 4,000 deaths
  • Italy has imposed travel restrictions on the entire country to stop the spread of the disease
  • The German government has pledged €1 billion ($1.1 billion) to tackling COVID-19. There are more than 1,200 cases
  • Two leading German research institutes have predicted that the country will fall into recession this year

Read more: What you need to know about the coronavirus

Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT) 

00:00 This concludes our live updates on the coronavirus outbreak for the moment. More information on the outbreak is available on our page and on DW TV. Thank you for joining us.

23:45 Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said a travel ban on affected has been extended to Italy from 6 p.m. Australian time on Wednesday.

23:24 The Coachella music festival has been postponed until October due to concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak. The festival, which takes place every year in southern California and spans two weekends, had originally been scheduled for April. 

23:10 The US has urged Iran to release American prisoners amid the coronavirus outbreak. Iran is among the countries the most affected by the virus, with over 8,000 confirmed cases and 291 deaths. 

22:55 A UK health minister has tested positive for coronavirus. Junior health minister Nadine Dorries was diagnosed with COVID-19 after falling ill last Friday. The minister had contact with hundreds of people in the British parliament last week and attended a reception with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Times of London reports. 

22:21 German Chancellor Angela Merkel has plans to meet with top union and employer representatives on Friday to discuss anti-crisis measures regarding the spread of coronavirus, the RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland reports. The ministers of labor and finance will also, reportedly, attend. 

22:14 Turkey has confirmed its first case of coronavirus, Reuters reports. The country’s health minister confirmed that the male patient has been placed in isolation and that his family is being monitored for symptoms.

21:46 Paraguay is suspending large-scale public events and public school classes for 15 days to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Latin American country has 2 confirmed cases of the virus. 

21:20 Two more people in the state of Washington have died from coronavirus, bringing the national death total in the US to at least 29. 

21:05 Algeria’s government has cancelled political gatherings due to coronavirus fears. It is unclear whether the move will affect the mass demonstrations that have been taking place in the country for over a year. 

Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad said the country was facing a “multi-dimensional crisis” and asked that people make fewer demands of the government and to avoid gathering in large groups. 

20:57 Health authorities in Chile have said that arrivals from Spain or Italy will be considered “high risk travelers” and will have to undergo quarantine. 

“People who enter Chilean territory having visited Spain and Italy must remain in isolation for 14 days,” the health ministry said in a statement.

20:52 The government of Honduras has suspended deportation flights from Mexico over coronavirus concerns. 

20:35 US Democrat presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden have canceled major election rallies in Ohio amid COVID-19 concerns.

“Out of concern for public health and safety, we are canceling tonight’s rally in Cleveland,” Sanders’ campaign said in a statement. Six states will hold primaries later on Tuesday.

20:07 The UK government’s “action plan” to tackle COVID-19, which involves taking retired doctors out of retirement and putting them back into the workforce, has faced widespread criticism.

A parliamentary question on the legality of the move a week ago received a reply on Tuesday: “The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period.”

19:51 French President Emmanuel Macron called the choice made by Slovenia and Austria to close their borders to Italy a “bad decision.”

“Faced with the coronavirus, let us leave no room for speculation and instability. Europe will have to do all that is necessary in health and in economic terms,” he wrote on Twitter following a video conference between all EU leaders.

19:44 The US state of New York has sent in the National Guard to the New Rochelle suburb to tackle what may be largest COVID-19 cluster of cases in the country.

Several schools and places of worship will also be closed for two weeks.

19:25 European Council President Charles Michel said the EU “stands ready to make use of all instruments necessary.”

He was speaking after a video conference between all 27 EU member countries on the COVID-19 outbreak’s economic impact.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pledged an EU investment fund of up to €7.5 billion ($8.4 billion) to boost EU businesses. 

“We will use all the tools at our disposal to make sure the European economy weathers this storm,” von der Leyen said. “The instrument will reach €25 billion very quickly,” she said.

19:11 UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has stressed that the COVID-19 outbreak should not divert attention from the ongoing climate crisis.

“It is important that all the attention that needs to be given to fight this disease does not distract us from the need to defeat climate change,” he said, as the the UN report on planetary warming was published.

He also dismissed claims that emissions cuts because of compromised productivity owing to the outbreak would be helpful. “We should not overestimate the fact that emissions have been reduced for some months. We will not fight climate change with the virus,” he said.

18:34 Germany has confirmed over 200 new cases on Tuesday, a large increase from the day before.

18:02 After becoming the last EU country to report confirmed cases of COVID-19, Cyprus has followed the example of other countries in the bloc and closed down schools, banned mass gatherings and locked down two hospitals to try to prevent an outbreak.

17:46 Following a confirmed case at their headquarters, the World Trade Organization will cancel all meetings from Wednesday onward.

17:41 There have now been more than 1,000 deaths outside of mainland China from COVID-19, almost two thirds in Italy and Iran.

The global statistics as they stand are as follows:

  • 116,588 confirmed cases (80,757 within mainland China)
  • 4,090 deaths (3,024 within mainland China)
  • 64,391 recoveries

17:34 Slovenia has followed Austria’s example and closed the border to Italy, calling for all Slovenian citizens to return home from there. The decision does not apply to cargo, the prime minister confirmed in a statement.

“I ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to close the border with Italy, following Austria. Subject to agreement on joint and proportionate action,” PM Marjan Sarec wrote on Twitter.

17:29 Italy has recorded a huge jump in figures on Tuesday. Cases went from 9,172 to 10,149, while fatalities sprung from 463 to 631.

17:06 Jordan has announced a travel ban on people coming from France, Spain and Germany to try to stop the spread of COVID-19.

16:59 Four more people have died in Italy in prison riots linked to the COVID-19 that has put Italy on lockdown. There are now 11 people who have died, which the ministry claims are linked to drug overdoses caused when prisoners broke into medical storage rooms, apparently desperate for medication.

“The unrest that affected more than 20 prisons has ended almost everywhere,” the justice ministry said in a statement.

16:52 Berlin’s culture senator Klaus Lederer announced that all shows in major state-owned concert halls are to be cancelled until April 19.

  • Friedrichstadt-Palast (picture-alliance/imageBROKER/P. Seyfferth)

    Cultural events affected by the coronavirus

    Berlin’s major events

    A day after Berlin announced that performances in major state-owned venues were to be cancelled until April 19, city authorities have banned all events with more than 1,000 participants as well. “The coronavirus continues to spread. In such a phase, public life must be restricted,” Berlin’s local Health Minister Dilek Kalayci said.

  • Madonna (Getty Images/M. Campanella)

    Cultural events affected by the coronavirus

    Madonna and other concerts

    Many major concerts have been cancelled, including Madonna’s last two dates of her “Madame X” tour in Paris. France has banned on Sunday public gatherings of more than 1,000 people. The Paris Opera has also cancelled its performances.

  • Ireland St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin (picture-alliance/AP Photo/P. Morrison)

    Cultural events affected by the coronavirus

    St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland

    All Irish St. Patrick’s Day parades, including Dublin’s main celebration that draws around 500,000 revelers from all over the world each year, are cancelled because of fears over the spread of COVID-19, state broadcaster RTE reported on Monday. Ireland’s famous March 17 parades were also previously cancelled in 2001 during an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

  • Sistine Chapel (picture-alliance/dpa/S. Stache)

    Cultural events affected by the coronavirus

    Vatican museums

    With quarantine measures in place in northern Italy, soccer matches occurring without spectators, and Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte’s order to close museums, theaters and cinemas, it should come as no surprise that the Vatican has closed the doors to its museums, including the Sistine Chapel (above), until probably April 3. In the Vatican itself, five people are currently in quarantine.

  • South by southwest 2020 (picture-alliance/abaca/Austin American-Statesman/TNS/J. Janner)

    Cultural events affected by the coronavirus

    South by Southwest (SXSW)

    This annual music, film and tech festival held in Austin, Texas, usually attracts more than 400,000 visitors. But less than a week before its March 12, 2020 start date, organizers decided to cancel in a bid to prevent the spreading of the coronavirus. There’s a silver lining though: it may only be postponed and not cancelled altogether.

  • Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan (AFP/Getty Images/S. Jaiswal)

    Cultural events affected by the coronavirus

    Bollywood ‘Oscars’

    The International Film Academy has announced that it would be postponing its awards ceremony, also known as Bollywood’s Oscars, due to fears over the coronavirus outbreak. According to official numbers, India has been until now relatively unscathed by the epidemic. Actor Shah Rukh Khan (photo) was one the stars expected at the event planned for March 27; a new date has not been decided yet.

  • Daniel Craig (Imago Images/Zuma Press/MGM)

    Cultural events affected by the coronavirus

    ‘No Time to Die’

    James Bond perhaps has a little more time on his hands than the title of the upcoming film in the franchise suggests: “No Time to Die” producers have decided to push back the release of the movie to November. Daniel Craig’s last outing as 007 was initially planned for April. It’s the first Hollywood blockbuster to shift its release schedule in reaction to the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Venice (picture-alliance/S. Lubenow)

    Cultural events affected by the coronavirus

    Venice Architecture Biennale

    The start of the world’s most prestigious architecture biennale has also been delayed. Instead of opening in May, it will run from August 29 to November 29 — three months later than planned. The theme of the event takes on a new meaning amid current developments: “How do we live together?”

  • London Book Fair (Getty Images/AFP/C. De Souza)

    Cultural events affected by the coronavirus

    London Book Fair

    Due to take place March 10-12, the book fair was cancelled “with reluctance,” said organizers, after several major publishers such as HarperCollins and Penguin Random House pulled out of the event to avoid exposing their staff to the virus. The London Book Fair usually draws more than 25,000 authors and book industry insiders.

  • Frankfurter Musikmesse (picture-alliance/dpa/F. Sommer)

    Cultural events affected by the coronavirus

    Musikmesse Frankfurt

    Europe’s biggest trade fair for the music industry also announced that it was postponing the event, which was set to celebrate its 40th anniversary on April 2-4. While it was deemed to be “the only responsible and right decision to take,” the cancellation is bound to affect many small businesses in the music industry, said Christian Höppner, secretary general of the German Music Council.

  • A pile of books represents the Leipzig Book Fair 2020 | Bücher (Stiftung Buchkunst/Carolin Blöink)

    Cultural events affected by the coronavirus

    Leipzig Book Fair

    Change of plans for book fans: The Leipzig Book Fair, scheduled to be held March 12-15, was cancelled due to the spread of the new coronavirus, a spokesperson for the fair announced on March 3. The second-largest book fair in Germany expected to draw 2,500 exhibitors from 51 countries.

  • A person wearing a colorful outfit at the Indonesian stand at ITB Berlin 2019 (Imago/V. Hohlfeld)

    Cultural events affected by the coronavirus

    ITB Travel Trade Show Berlin

    Preparations for the world’s largest travel fair were already in full swing when the organizers cancelled it at the last minute. Due to the ongoing virus threat, participants to the Berlin fair had to prove they had not been to one of the defined risk areas. With 170,000 visitors from all over the world, this proved to be an impossible task and the fair couldn’t open on March 4 as planned.

  • An installation at Milan Design Week 2018 (Phillip K. Smith)

    Cultural events affected by the coronavirus

    Milan Design Week

    Each April, thousands of design professionals, artists and companies visit Milan to check out the latest in furniture and interior design. This year, however, organizers have announced it will be moved to June due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Milan is the capital of the Lombardy region, which has seen the lion’s share of Italian coronivirus cases. Some airlines have even suspended their flights.

  • The interior of Milan's La Scala opera house (AP)

    Cultural events affected by the coronavirus

    La Scala opera house

    There is perhaps no venue more symbolic of Italy’s rich operatic tradition than the La Scala opera house in Milan. Now, its seats will remain empty until March 8. Italy’s Prime Minister called for the suspension of cultural events and the venue is sticking to the rules. At the time of writing, Italy has more cases of the new coronavirus than any country outside of Asia.

  • A picture of the K-Pop band BTS | Bangtan Boys (Facebook/BTS Official)

    Cultural events affected by the coronavirus

    K-Pop concerts

    The reigning K-Pop boy band BTS does big business with each concert, but in the wake of the virus in South Korea, the group cancelled four April dates at the Seoul Olympic Stadium, which seats 69,950 people. “It’s impossible to predict the scale of the outbreak,” said the group’s management. On Tuesday, cases in South Korea reached 5,100 with the majority of infections in the city of Daegu.

  • A still from 'Mission Impossible: The Rogue Nation' (picture-alliance/dpa/Christian Black/Paramount Pictures)

    Cultural events affected by the coronavirus

    ‘Mission Impossible’

    No, we aren’t describing the task of containing the new coronavirus, but rather the new movie starring Tom Cruise which was supposed to have a three-week shoot in Venice. The film has been postponed, movie studio Paramount Pictures said Monday. Venice’s cultural events have been hard hit by the outbreak. The final two days of lagoon city’s annual Carnival festival were also cancelled.

  • Carlos Santana was supposed to perform (picture-alliance/dpa)

    Cultural events affected by the coronavirus

    Concerts in Switzerland

    On February 28, the Swiss government imposed a ban on events of more than 1,000 people until March 15, making it the first European country to do so as a preemptive measure to fight against the spread of the illness. As a result, many concerts and events were called off, including concerts by Carlos Santana (pictured) and Alice Cooper at the 15,000-person Hellenstadion in Zürich.

  • A rehearsal for the 'Glass Menagerie' by the Hamburg Ballet (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Scholz)

    Cultural events affected by the coronavirus

    The Hamburg Ballet

    The Hamburg Ballet John Neumeier cancelled guest performances in Macau and Singapore due to the coronavirus outbreak. On the program were “The Lady of the Camellias,” which tells the story of a famous Parisian courtesan and “Nijinsky.” Whether the tour will take place at another point in time is still in the air. In spring 2021 the Hamburg Ballet plans to tour in Japan.

    Author: Sarah Hucal

16:31 The COVID-19 outbreak has had a big impact on the world of sports, with games played in empty stadia lined up in Germany next month.

DW Sports has all the updates here: Coronavirus latest: Updates from the Bundesliga and beyond

16:24 A staff member of the World Trade Organization in Geneva has been infected with COVID-19, a spokesman has confirmed. The organization will “take all precautions” to prevent a further spread.

16:19 Governments will “struggle” in their efforts to combat the coronavirus without “community engagement,” a member of the World Health Organisation’s mission to China last month has told DW News Asia.

Professor Dale Fisher, an infectious diseases expert at the National University of Singapore studied Beijing’s response to the coronavirus outbreak as a member of the WHO-China joint mission.

“The biggest measure is community engagement. If the community is not on board with the response then it can’t be worked. The solution is in the community and that is because spread occurs through the community. And if people don’t have that social responsibility to be part of the solution then any government is going to struggle.”

16:13 Greece will close universities, schools and kindergartens for two weeks, starting on Tuesday, the secretary general to the prime minister shared on Twitter. 

16:04 An EU Council of Ministers has canceled its next session, scheduled for Thursday, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, a spokesperson told dpa news agency.

15:35 German Chancellor Angela Merkel told lawmakers that all “non-essential” events should be cancelled and that the economy does not need a classic stimulus package but “liquidity injections.”

15:25 More sports events will be held behind closed doors, including the Germany-Italy friendly on March 31 in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg. France’s Ligue 1 and 2 matches are also to be played without fans present until April 15.

14:53 Following reports of planes taking off and landing with almost no passengers aboard, the EU Commission has announced they will move to stop these so-called ghost flights.

Under current aviation law, aircrafts need to fulfill at least 80% of their “landing slots” to not lose out to competitors.

“This is why the commission will put forward very rapidly legislation regarding the so-called airport slots … it will also decrease emissions by avoiding the so-called ‘ghost flights’ when airlines fly almost empty planes simply to keep their slot,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced.

Read more: Coronavirus and other dangers: How to stay healthy on the plane

14:39 The German government has pledged €1 billion ($1.1 billion) to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak. There are more than 1,200 confirmed cases in Germany and two people have died in the most populous state of North-Rhine Westphalia.

The announcement was made in the German parliament by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right CDU party’s parliamentary group leader, Ralph Brinkhaus.

“The health minister and health authorities will get all the resources necessary to act on the ‘corona-crisis,'” he said.

14:32 The German government is aiming to schedule a meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel and trade unions and employers on Friday to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the labor market, according to Reuters news agency.

Read more: German supermarkets report coronavirus panic-buying

14:23 The Democratic Republic of the Congo has confirmed its first case of COVID-19. The patient was reportedly a Belgian citizen. Sub-Saharan Africa has reported relatively few cases of the new outbreak so far.

Read more: Coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa: A week in review

14:17 A Hong Kong lawmaker has accused prison authorities of “modern slavery” after reports emerged that female inmates were being forced to work through the night to produce millions of face masks after the COVID-19 outbreak has triggered shortages.

“All persons in custody participating in the night shift are on a voluntary basis,” a spokeswoman for Hong Kong’s Correctional Services Department told Reuters news agency.

14:09 The north African country of Morocco has confirmed its first death from coronavirus — an 89-year-old woman suffering from chronic respiratory diseases.

14:07 Things have moved fast on Tuesday, especially in Europe. If you’re worried or unsure how to react to the coronavirus outbreak in your region, DW has gathered all the information for you in a Twitter thread.

14:02 “Recent reports indicate that the COVID-19 virus has spread inside Iranian prisons,” wrote the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran in a new report.

Thousands of Iranians were arrested in the wake of November 2019 protests. “Overcrowding, poor nutrition and a lack of hygiene are also serious concerns,” the UN’s Javaid Rehman said. He has asked the country to release political prisoners temporarily because of the coronavirus outbreak, calling conditions “unfortunate and disturbing.”

13:52 Italy has gone into lockdown — but for many, life must carry on as normal. Journalist Alessio Perrone spoke to DW from Milan.

“Italy has never closed all schools across the country — not even during World War Two, when there was conflict all over the country. Now we’re talking about quarantine for for the whole country and it’s massive,” he said, speaking on video call. Petrone is unable to leave Milan.

“You work from home,” he said, commenting on how life went on in such conditions. “You carry on working. Supermarkets are fully stocked. So it’s a it’s a mix of seeing empty streets but also carrying on with your life.”

13:44 A Polish general has tested positive for COVID-19 — after returning from a military council in Germany. The Polish defense ministry confirmed on Twitter that all those who had been with the general had been quarantined.

13:42 The Czech Republic will join other central European countries in closing schools, Prime Minister Andrej Babis announced on Tuesday.

“It is better to be proactive, rather than to deal with the problem later, or even too late as is the case in Italy,” he told reporters.

13:31 As extreme measures are adopted in Italy to tackle COVID-19, the Vatican has announced that St Peter’s Square and St Peter’s Basilica have been closed to tourists and guided groups until April.

13:22 The mayor of a small French town has defended a record-breaking gathering of 3,500 people dressed as Smurfs last weekend, as many gathering across Europe were canceled amid fears of COVID-19 spread.

“We must not stop living … it was the chance to say that we are alive,” mayor Patrick Leclerc of Landerneau in western France told AFP news agency.

France banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people on Sunday.

12:55 Spain’s lower house has suspended all parliamentary activities for at least a week after a lawmaker from its far-right Vox Party was confirmed to have the virus, reported El Pais newspaper. The countra has also become the latest to cancel all direct flights to and from Italy until later in March.

12:45 European leaders will hold a summit via video-conference on Tuesday afternoon to co-ordinate a response to the outbreak and to its economic consequences. European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde and  European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen have both confirmed their virtual attendance.

12:26 For the next four weeks, doctors in Germany will be able to give sick leave over the phone. The measures were announced in order to keep patients who might be infected with COVID-19 (coronavirus SARS-CoV-2) out of GP surgeries and prevent further transmission.

12:10 In a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus throughout Europe many of its airlines have suspended flights to Italy:

  • Austrian Airlines — the carrier said it is stopping all flights between Vienna and northern Italy until March 28. The Austrian government on Tuesday banned anyone without a health certificate from entering Austria from Italy, including those traveling by plane and train.
  • Ryanair — Europe’s largest budget flight airline carrier canceled all domestic flights in Italy and reduced its flight schedule to northern Italy.
  • British Airways
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle
  • Wizz Air
  • Easyjet — the carrier canceled most of its flights to Milan, Venice and Verona
  • Lufthansa and subsidiary Eurowings — the German airline are continuing to offer flights to Italy while saying it is keeping a close eye on the situation.

11:40 Financial markets in Europe and Asia bounced back on Tuesday after suffering their biggest losses in more than a decade due to plummeting oil prices and fears over the coronavirus outbreak.

11:21 The total death toll from coronavirus crossed the 4,000 mark on Tuesday with over 114,000 total cases worldwide.

Infografik Verlauf der COVID-19-Epedemie 10.3.2020 EN

10:53 Austria is banning entry to anyone arriving from Italy without a health certificate, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Tuesday. Austria also banned all indoor events with more than 100 participants and outdoor events of more than 500 people.

Austria earlier issued a level 6 travel safety warning advising its citizens against travel to Italy. Austrians in Italy will still be permitted to travel home if they agree to spend two weeks in home quarantine.

10:17 All mass events will be canceled in Poland to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country. The ban will include football games and concerts.

10:03 The Serbian government is banning foreigners arriving from areas experiencing some of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks. Foreigners hoping to travel from Italy and parts of China, South Korea, Iran and Switzerland will all be affected.

09:58 President of the European Parliament David Sassoli said he is in self-isolation at his Brussels home as a precaution after returning from virus-hit Italy.

“Parliament will continue to work to exercise its duties. No virus can block democracy” said Sassoli in a statement.

09:20 Pope Francis told Catholic priests during a mass in Vatican city to “have the courage” to go out and visit people sickened by coronavirus. His comments came just hours after Italy was placed on lockdown. The World Health Organizationadvises avoiding contact with other people if you think you have COVID-19.

08:45 The German state of Saxony-Anhalt confirmed its first case of the COVID-19 virus, meaning that each of Germany’s 16 states now has a confirmed case.

  • Empty shelves in a German supermarket

    How is coronavirus affecting life in Germany?

    Food donations drop

    Panic-buying has left empty shelves in supermarkets — and food banks. With Germans snapping up canned goods and toilet paper to weather the outbreak, stores have fewer supplies left over to donate to the needy, said Jochen Brühl, head of Tafel Deutschland, which supports more than 1.5 million people with surplus groceries and other donations. Brühl encouraged those who had overreacted to donate.

  • A fan dressed as a ghost sits alone in a stadium

    How is coronavirus affecting life in Germany?

    Bundesliga suspended

    After playing one match behind closed doors, the Bundesliga has suspended its season until at least April 2. The Germany football league had considered playing matches behind closed doors until Paderborn’s coach Steffen Baumgart and defender Luca Kilian tested positive for COVID-19.

  • A sign blocking the entrance to the Leipzig Book Fair, saying No entrance

    How is coronavirus affecting life in Germany?

    Cultural cancellations

    Cultural life has also taken a hit, with major fairs and trade shows canceled or postponed. Among the casualties were the Leipzig Book Fair and the Musikmesse Frankfurt, Europe’s biggest music trade fair. Numerous clubs, galleries and museums have closed across the country, and the gala award show for the annual German film and television award, the Goldene Kamera, has been moved to November.

  • A man sits inside an empty Chinese restaurant in central Milan

    How is coronavirus affecting life in Germany?

    Not the ‘Wuhan flu’

    The Chinese origin of the virus has led to an increase in xenophobic sentiment in the places worst hit by the outbreak. Asian restaurants and stores — not just Chinese — have reported empty tables in countries hard hit by the pandemic, and people with Asian features have experienced discrimination. At a recent Bundesliga game in Leipzig, a group of Japanese fans was ejected from the stadium.

  • A Lufthansa Airbus 320-200 parks at Düsseldorf airport, behind a bright red light

    How is coronavirus affecting life in Germany?

    Flights grounded

    German airline Lufthansa has massively reduced its flight capacity as business and personal travel is cut back. The flagship carrier is now seeking state aid, according to a report from Germany business newspaper Handelsblatt. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr will be attending a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to government sources.

  • A worker completes an electric car body at the assembly line at the plant of the German manufacturer Volkswagen AG (VW) in Zwickau, eastern Germany

    How is coronavirus affecting life in Germany?

    Car production crippled

    Car plants in China have been shut down since January, and major German automakers like Volkswagen and Daimler have said both sales and production have been hit by the epidemic. And with many automakers sourcing electric car parts from China, work at plants in Germany has also hit a stumbling block. Berlin has said it plans to financially support companies suffering coronavirus losses.

  • People visit the dome of the Reichstag building in Berlin

    How is coronavirus affecting life in Germany?

    Fewer tourists

    “The consequences for the German tourism sector are serious,” warned Guido Zöllick, head of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association. Already by the second week of March, 76.1% of members had reported a sharp decrease in bookings and a drop in revenue. The German parliament has banned tourists from visiting the glass dome of the Reichstag building until further notice.

  • Border authorities check the temperature of a traveler in the Czech Republic

    How is coronavirus affecting life in Germany?

    Border checks

    In an effort to prevent further spread, Germany has closed its borders with France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria and Denmark. Authorities in Poland and the Czech Republic had already begun spot checks, measuring the temperature of travelers crossing main road borders out of Germany.

  • Stock photo of school chairs (picture-alliance/dpa/C. Seidel)

    How is coronavirus affecting life in Germany?

    School closures

    Preschools and primary schools across Germany have shut. The closures have affected more than 2.2 million children up to age 16 countrywide, according to Germany’s Federal Statistical Office. German television stations have adjusted their programming in response to the school closures.

    Author: Martin Kuebler

08:08 Italy’s government has readied around €10 billion ($11.4 billion) to boost its economy and combat the effects of the coronavirus. Economic Development Minister Stefano Patuanelli said this will cause the national deficit to rise to just under 3%.

07:46 Taiwan’s authorities says it has arranged special chartered flights to take more than 400 Taiwan nationals stranded in Wuhan back to Taipei. They have been stranded in the city at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak for months after it was put on lockdown by the Chinese government.

Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung said Taiwan has sufficient capacity for both quarantine and virus testing to deal with hundreds of evacuees at once.

Passengers will only be able to board the flights if they tested negative for the virus and have no fever.

07:00 India completed its first evacuation of its citizens from virus-hit Iran. India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar tweeted: “First batch of 58 Indian pilgrims being brought back from Iran.” 

India is working on the return of other Indians there, Jaishankar added.

06:30 Cyprus confirmed its first cases of the COVID-19. The country was the last in the EU with no confirmed cases. A 64-year-old doctor who had recently returned from the UK was one of two individuals to test positive on the island. 

05:45 Austria issued a travel warning for the entirety of Italy. It also “urgently advised” citizens to return home from Italy. Health authorities there announced a lockdown across the entire country, affecting around 60 million citizens.

05:15 Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, for the first time since the since the crisis erupted in January — a sign that Beijing believes its control measures are paying off.

State media showed Xi, wearing a mask, speaking via video-link to medical workers and patients at one of the field hospitals set up in the city.

Xi’s visit comes as China reported a tumble in new infection cases. The National Health Commission reported just 19 new infections on Monday, down from 40 the day before.

China Xi Jinping visits the School of Medicine at Tsinghua University in Beijing

Xi’s visit to Wuhan is seen as a sign from Beijing that it has the virus under control

04:40 The coronavirus outbreak has not yet reached its peak in Germany and further restrictions to everyday life can be expected, German Health Minister Jens Spahn has said. 

“The primary goal is to slow the outbreak,” he wrote in a guest post for the German tabloid Bild published late Monday.

Earlier Monday, Germany had reported its first two deaths from coronavirus. 

04:29 Canada has reported its first coronavirus death. Health officials in the westernmost province of British Colombia said the victim was a man who had been living at an elderly care facility.

04:15 Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak originated, on Tuesday, his first visit to the city since the epidemic began at the end of last year. 

The unannounced visit signals that officials believe the outbreak has been brought under control. China reported only 19 news cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the lowest figure since the country started sharing data on January 21. 

03:55 American rock group Pearl Jam is postponing the first leg of their North American spring tour due to coronavirus concerns. 

“The levels of risk to our audience and their communities is simply too high for our comfort level,” a statement signed by the band released Tuesday said. 

“It certainly hasn’t helped that there’s been no clear messages from our government regarding people’s safety and our ability to go to work,” the statement continued. “Having no examples of our national health department’s ability to get ahead of this, we have no reason to believe that it will be under control in the coming weeks ahead.”

The band hails from Washington, the US state currently most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

03:50 China’s Hubei province — the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak — is considering allowing people in low- or medium-risk areas to start traveling. At a meeting between province authorities, officials discussed implementing the use of a “health code,” a mobile-based monitoring tool, to facilitate travel in the region. 

03:20 In light of the coronavirus outbreak, the chairman of Germany’s free market-liberal Free Democrats (FDP) has said it should be easier for people to work from home.

“Many people currently prefer to work from home out of fear of infection,” said FDP chairman Christian Lindner. “There should be a right to work from home…The public sector as an employer should lead the way and actively offer its employees opportunities to work from home.”

03:08 The president of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, a Munich-based institution, said a coronavirus-related recession in Germany could be “unavoidable.”

“There are some indications that a recession is imminent,” Ifo president Clemens Fuest told German daily Augsburger Allgemeine. “Unfortunately, many virologists are saying the outbreak could subside in the summer, but return in the fall. In that case, a recession would be unavoidable.”

02:50 Japan’s government has approved a draft of a “state of emergency” bill that, if approved by parliament, would allow Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to impose drastic measures to fight the spread of coronavirus. The bill would include measures that allow authorities to keep people inside and to seize buildings to use them as hospitals. 

A top government spokesman said the country had not yet reached such a point. 

02:36 After reporting its first case of coronavirus today, Mongolia put its cities on lockdown.

“The capital Ulaanbaatar and all province centers are quarantined until March 16 to curb the outbreak,” Deputy Prime Minister Enkhtuvshin Ulziisaikhan said at a press conference.

02:20 Austria’s foreign ministry has called on any citizens currently in Italy — the European country the worst hit by the COVID-19 outbreak — to return home. 

“Austrian travelers are strongly advised to return to Austria,” a statement on the ministry’s website read. 

All of Italy is currently affected by a travel lockdown that forbids its citizens from leaving the country. 

  • Cook Islands Rarotonga Auswirkungen der Corona-Krise auf den Tourismus (picture-alliance/Bildagentur-online/DeFreitas)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Repatriation mission will take at least two more weeks

    The repatriation process for Germans stranded abroad is ongoing. Until now, main destinations such as Egypt or Morocco have been addressed. “It will be more difficult with countries that only have small groups of scattered adventure vacationers,” said the crisis manager of the German Foreign Office. Tourists in the Pacific Islands must first be rounded up in New Zealand and then flown out.

  • Checkpoints in Thailand (picture-alliance/ZUMAPRESS/SOPA images/Y. Kongprasert)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Thailand closes its borders

    After long delays Thailand closed its borders on Thursday (March 26). The authorities had delayed the decision for a long time to safeguard the tourism sector. Now tens of thousands of tourists are stuck in the Southeast Asian tourist country. The German government has so far not organized a repatriation for German tourists, as Thailand is not considered a risk region.

  • Coronavirus Mallorca Spanien Flughafen (picture-alliance/dpa/C. Margais)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Huge repatrition drive

    The German foreign ministry announced on Wednesday (March 25) that, together with tour operators, it had brought back more than 150,000 Germans from abroad. Tour operator TUI added that almost 95 percent of the tourists who were stranded because of the coronavirus pandemic are now back in Germany. They were mainly flown out from Egypt, Spain, Portugal and the Cape Verde Islands.

  • Coronavirus Flughafen Frankfurt (picture-alliance/nordphoto/Bratic)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Travel warning extended

    German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said that the warning against traveling abroad will remain in effect until the end of April. “This includes the Easter holidays,” he said on Twitter. “Stay at home! Protect yourself and your fellow human beings,” he appealed to the population. Many tour operators have also extended their travel ban until the end of April.

  • Coronavirus - Stuttgart (picture-alliance/dpa/T. Weller)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    EU pays for return to Europe

    The EU Commission is supporting the return to Europe of tens of thousands of long-distance travellers. It intends to cover a large part of the costs, since most of the flight connections have been cancelled. “We are here to help them return,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video message.

  • Coronavirus in Südafrika Flughafen Polokwane Rückkehrer (picture-alliance/dpa/AP)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Africa’s measures to deal with the pandemic

    African countries have also ordered numerous measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. South Africa, for example, has banned access to the country for people coming from risk areas. Nigeria is monitoring the temperature of travelers at airports, ports and borders. Cameroon has closed its borders indefinitely.

  • Coronavirus in Australien Brisbane (picture-alliance/Zuma/Sopa/F. Rols)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Australia bans foreign travel

    The Australian government has imposed an indefinite ban on all foreign travel by its citizens. Prime Minister Scott Morrison also called on all Australians who are abroad to return home. A 14-day compulsory quarantine for all people entering the country has already been in place for some time. Here, too, it has become quiet in the cities.

  • Coronavirus – leerer Bahnhof in Schwerin (picture-alliance/dpa/J. Büttner)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Tourism in Germany comes to a halt

    The coronavirus crisis is impacting travelers and the tourism industry with full force. Several tour operators, including TUI, has cancelled trips, and some airlines are shutting down. Germany’s federal and state governments decided that overnight stays should only be used for “necessary and explicitly not for touristic purposes”. Germans are to “no longer take holiday trips at home and abroad”.

  • Coronavirus -Kontrolle an der Grenze zu Frankreich (picture-alliance/E. Cegarra)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    EU external borders closed

    The EU has closed its entire external borders for 30 days as from Tuesday (March 17, 2020). “All travel between non-European countries and the European Union will be suspended for 30 days,” French President Macron said in a television address on Monday (March 16,2020) evening. The Schengen Area, which includes several non-EU countries, has also closed its external borders.

  • Airbus A320-200 der deutschen Fluggesellsschaft Lufthansa (picture-alliance/W. Minich)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Germany brings travelers back home

    More and more countries are sealing their borders, and many flights are cancelled. With special flights Lufthansa and its subsidiary Eurowings want to bring up to 6,500 stranded holidaymakers from the Caribbean, the Canary Islands and on Mallorca back to Germany. In Morocco, the German government is assisting German tourists who are stranded there due to their return flights being cancelled.

  • Grenzkontrolle Deutschland Frankreich | Grenze Saarbrücken (DW/B. Riegert)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Germany partially closes its borders to tourists

    On Monday morning (March 16, 2020), Germany introduced entry controls at the borders with the five neighboring countries: France, Denmark, Luxembourg, Austria and Switzerland. Border crossings will be reduced to what is strictly necessary. Goods can continue to pass through, including commuters, but not travelers without good reason. The duration of the measures remains open.

  • Der rotweiße Amrumer Leuchtturm (picture-alliance/M. Narten)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    North German islands closed for tourists

    Whether Spiekeroog, Sylt or Rügen: Vacation on the northern German islands in the North and Baltic Sea is no longer possible as of March 16, 2020. Those who had already moved into their accommodation have been asked to return home. The health systems of the islands are not equipped to deal with large numbers of infected people. Regulations are to follow for mainland tourism.

  • Disneyland Paris (picture alliance)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Disneyland Paris closes

    Disneyland Paris and Disney World Florida have closed until the end of the month. Disney Cruise Line have also suspended all new departure through the same period. The company said the decision was made “with great caution” to protect guests and employees. The company said the parks in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai, which had already been closed, will also remain shut.

  • Winter in Tirol (picture-alliance/dpa/A. Riedl)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Austrian ski regions end season early

    All ski areas in the Austrian provinces of Salzburg and Tyrol are ending the winter season early. Cable car operation will be discontinued as of Sunday (March 15, 2020). Hotels and accommodations will be closed from Monday. The provincial governments said that this should slow down the spread of the virus in the Alpine country. The two provinces account for most leading Austrian ski areas.

  • USA coronavirus Statue of Liberty in New York City (picture-alliance/dpa/J. D. Ake)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    USA: Entry ban for Europeans

    Due to the spread of the coronavirus, the USA is imposing a general 30-day travel ban on people from Europe. The entry ban comes into force on Friday (March 13, 2020) at midnight (local time). It does not apply to US citizens residing in Europe who have tested negative for the pathogen.

  • Tourists at Red Fort in New Delhi

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    India imposes entry ban

    India has declared all tourist visas invalid for 1 month because of the corona virus. Only travelers who are already in the country are allowed to stay, the Indian Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday (March 11, 2020). The entry ban is to last until April 15 for the time being.

  • Mount Everest as seen from Namche Bajar

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    China closes access to Mount Everest

    Climbing Mount Everest via the north side has been forbidden by Chinese authorities. The necessary permits for expeditions to the world’s highest mountain were withdrawn on Thursday (March 12, 2020).

  • Austria Coronavirus border checks (picture-alliance/AP Photo/K. Joensson)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Italy increasingly sealed off

    In order to reduce the spread, the border into neighboring Austria can only be crossed from Italy with a medical certificate. Slovenia has closed its border, and Albania has banned Italian air and ferry traffic. Many airlines have cancelled flights to Italy until at least 3 April. Germany, the UK, and Ireland tightened travel recommendations and called on their citizens to leave.

  • Italy cruise ship Costa Smeralda in the port of Civitavecchia (Reuters/G. Mangiapane)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Mediterranean cruises put on hold

    The Costa Crociere shipping company is cancelling all cruises in the Mediterranean for the time being. The cruises will be suspended until April 3, the Italian company announced on Tuesday (March 10). The measure affects thousands of passengers. Ships still operating in the Mediterranean will only call at Italian ports to let passengers disembark.

  • Germany Reichstag glass dome in Berlin (picture-alliance/Bildagentur-online/De Simone-AGF)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Reichstag dome closed for visitors

    The dome and roof terrace of the Reichstag parliament building in Berlin have been closed to visitors since Tuesday (March 10, 2020) until further notice to prevent the possible spread of the coronavirus. The walkable dome and the roof terrace are visited by more than 2 million people every year, according to the Bundestag.

  • Ski piste Piz Boe in Dolomites Italy (picture-alliance/Bildagentur-online/Schoening)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Winter sports season in Italy ended early

    All ski facilities in Italy have been closed since Tuesday (March 10, 2020) due to the corona crisis. Prior to this, hoteliers and cable car operators in the South Tyrol region (photo) had already agreed to close their facilities. South Tyrol is particularly popular with winter sports tourists from Germany and Eastern Europe. The closure is effective until at least April 3.

  • Coronavirus - Czech Republic border checks (picture-alliance/dpa/S. Kube)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Travel warnings and border controls

    The Czech Republic (picture) and Poland are carrying out checks at the border with Germany to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. Since Monday (March 9), travelers have faced random temperature checks. The German government has warned against travelling to risk areas. And air passengers from China, Japan, South Korea, Iran and Italy will have to expect controls when entering Germany.

  • Coronavirus - Italy- empty cafe tables in Venice (picture-alliance/dpa/C. Furlan)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Italy in crisis

    On March 8 the Italian government issued an entry and exit ban for the more than 15 million inhabitants of the northern Italian regions, which include the key business center Milan and the tourist magnet of Venice (photo). Cultural, sporting and religious events are also banned for visitors. Museums, cinemas and theaters remain closed nationwide.

  • Costa Fortuna cruise ship is seen near Phuket, Thailand.

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Cruises a risk factor

    Repeatedly cruise ships have to be quarantined or prevented from docking. After cancellations in Thailand and Malaysia, the Costa Fortuna (photo) with 2,000 passengers, including 64 Italians, has been allowed to enter the port of Singapore. In Oakland, California, 2,000 passengers and 1,100 crew members of the Grand Princess are quarantined because 19 of them have tested positive for COVID-19.

  • Japan Tourism Coronavirus (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Taga)

    Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism

    Asia fears dramatic setbacks

    Sights in Asia are particularly affected by travel restrictions for Chinese tourists. Hotspots such as the Senso-ji temple (picture) in Tokyo and the temple complexes of Angkor Wat in Cambodia are reporting a sharp drop in visitors. On March 9, the Ministry of Tourism in Thailand reported a 44% drop for February. Tourism accounts for 11% of the gross domestic product.

    Author: Andreas Kirchhoff, Susan Bonney-Cox

02:08 South Korea, one of the countries most affected by the outbreak, reported fewer than 150 new daily cases for the first time in two weeks. On Monday, the country confirmed a total of 131 new cases. 

01:55 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has called the coronavirus threat “overstated.”

“In my opinion, that virus’s destructive power is overstated. Maybe it is even potentially being exaggerated for political reasons,” Bolsonaro said.  

The far-right leader said that the recent fall of the world markets “basically has to do with the price of oil, which sank 30 percent, and with the coronavirus issue, too.”

01:45 The Central American nation of Panama has confirmed its first case of coronavirus. 

01:26 A nursing home in Seattle, Washington at the center of the outbreak in the US has reported 31 more confirmed cases. Since February 19, 26 of the home’s 120 patients have died. Autopsies have confirmed that at least 13 of the deaths were due to coronavirus.

01:23 For the third day in a row, China has reported no new local coronavirus transmissions. 

01:20 South Korea has reported 35 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the national total to 7,513. 

01:12 Mongolia has confirmed its first case of coronavirus — a French national working in the country. 

00:22 In mainland China, where the outbreak began, 80,754 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus thus far. Nearly 60,000 have already recovered. Nine new cases were confirmed on the mainland on Monday, compared to 40 the day before. 

00:12 The head of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) expects coronavirus to bring on a recession in Germany this year. 

“It’s probable that Germany will experience a recession this year — employment is going to suffer visibly,” the institute’s chief economic forecaster Claus Michelsen told German daily Berliner Morgenpost

ed, kmm, kp/ng (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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