By Sylvia Cunningham, Nikki Motson, and Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson
Lufthansa is canceling more than 7,000 flights this month, including all routes to Tel Aviv and Eilat after Israel issued new entry restrictions because of the coronavirus.
Domestic flights and flights to Italy were also reduced. As of this morning, there are 534 coronavirus cases in Germany. Meanwhile, Swiss authorities yesterday reported the first coronavirus death in the alpine country, a 74-year-old woman.
But Italy is the EU country feeling the health crisis the most. Officials there have closed schools until mid-March, something German Health Minister Jens Spahn said would not be appropriate here. Italian authorities reported yesterday more than 3,200 coronavirus cases and 148 deaths.
The latest global death rate for the coronavirus is 3.4%, according to the World Health Organization.
A spokeswoman for the organization, Margaret Harris, told KCRW Berlin that the rising ratio is only a snapshot in time and WHO experts predict the death rate will be adjusted downward to 1 and 2 percent when the crisis is over.
The German environment ministry yesterday confirmed a report by Der Spiegel magazine that its climate package will fail to meet the nation’s climate goals by the target date of 2030.
According to Der Spiegel, two reports commissioned by the German economic and environmental ministries show the ruling coalition’s climate package won’t adequately reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the next ten years. The goal is to reduce emissions by 55 percent over 1990 levels.
Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer also responded to the reporting, saying they will reevaluate measures for the transport sector.
Two of the biggest greenhouse culprits in Germany are transportation and construction.
Berlin Mayor Michael Müller is criticizing a German decision to not take in the most vulnerable refugees stuck in Greece and at the EU’s external borders.
Müller urged the federal government to reconsider and allow Berlin to take in unaccompanied refugee women and children.
The German parliament soundly rejected a similar proposal on Wednesday that would have admitted 5,000 such refugees.
MP Eva Högl of the Social Democrats accused the Greens, who made the proposal, of using refugees to score political points.
She added that an EU solution to the crisis is in the works.
This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.