Coronavirus: the latest in Germany (4 April)

By Aaron Werner


Quick facts

  • The coronavirus death count rose to 1,330 on Saturday 4th April.

  • The number of confirmed cases is 92,150, the third highest in Europe.

  • Experts stress that the actual number of infected people is likely to be significantly higher, as many people who only experienced mild symptoms or had no known contact with people with confirmed cases are not being tested.

  • The government is testing 200,000 tests per week and are far ahead compared to even Italy.

  • At the start of the crisis, Germany had over 20,000 ICU beds, this number has now risen to 40,000.

How is Germany faring?

Government crisis-measures

  • The government has ordered people to remain in their homes, and to leave in ‘exceptional reasons’ only, such as grocery shopping, medical appointments and exercise.

  • Gatherings of more than 2 people remain banned, and a distance of more than 1.5 metres must be kept from others, with a fine of up to €500 for those found breaking the rules.

  • In Berlin, people no longer have to carry their ID or proof of address at all times while outside.

  • Short breaks in parks, are permitted as long as people maintain a minimum distance of 5 metres.

  • On Tuesday, the city of Jena introduced a law that made the wearing of masks in public spaces compulsory.

  • Germany’s local governments have the power to implement their own measures.

  • On Wednesday the 1st of April, Chancellor Merkel announced that the current restrictions on public life will be extended until at least April 19th.

  • She acknowledged that this would mean many would not be able to see their families over the Easter period, however stressed that “a pandemic does not take a vacation”.

  • Post offices, petrol stations, hairdressers and laundrettes remain open after being categorised as ‘essential services’.

  • Playgrounds and gatherings in churches and other religious places are banned.

  • Schools throughout Germany remain closed until at least the 20th of April.

Travel

  • There is a travel ban for passengers arriving from non-Schengen member states. This does not apply to nationals of EEA member states, such as the UK and Switzerland.

  • This travel ban was set to last at least 30 days, until mid-April, though this is likely to be extended.

  • Trains and public transport continue to run throughout Germany but at a reduced service, and without ticket inspectors.

Political update

  • There has been a sharp rise in satisfaction with the Government, with many pleased at the government’s response.

  • According to a survey held by the German Broadcaster ARD, 95% of Germans support the new measures brought into place.

  • Photos of Angela Merkel doing a ‘sensible, ordinary shop’ in a supermarket buying toilet paper and multiple bottles of wine have made the rounds in the German media, with the general perception being that the chancellor's actions were endearing and relatable.

  • The chancellor herself has just come out of a quarantine of 14 days, after it was discovered that she had contact with a coronavirus-infected doctor.

Tensions with the US

  • A shipment of protective masks bound for Germany was diverted to the United States under orders of the United States government in what is being hailed as ‘dubious circumstances’.

  • The shipment included over 400,000 masks, which were intended for German police officers.

  • German Interior Minister Andreas Geisel stated “We consider this an act of modern piracy. This is not how you deal with transatlantic partners”.

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