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Germany plans massive cash injection for corona-hit Deutsche Bahn

The German government is planning a multi-billion-euro rescue package for national rail company Deutsche Bahn to help offset the effects of the coronavirus.

Germany plans massive cash injection for corona-hit Deutsche Bahn
The Deutsche Bahn logo in the sun. Photo: DPA

Demand for rail travel in Germany has plummeted in recent weeks due to restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the virus.

Demand for long-distance journeys fell by 90 percent in April, with local journeys down 80 percent and even freight traffic falling 40 percent, according to the document.

READ: Rise in coronavirus infections spurs concern across Germany

The state-owned Deutsche Bahn group as a whole is expecting to lose 11 to 13.5 billion euros ($11.9-$14.6 billion) between 2020 and 2024, with the rail network alone expected to account for 8.2 to 10.2 billion euros of this.

The company is hoping to find half of this sum — 4.1 to 5.1 billion euros — through cost-saving measures such as putting staff on shorter hours and scrapping bonuses.

The government will provide 75 percent of the rest, with an initial capital injection of 4.5 billion euros expected “in the coming weeks” and the rest towards the end of the year, according to a document seen by AFP.

The company's debt limit will also be increased from a current ceiling of 25.4 billion euros.

The plans must first be approved by the budget committee in the Bundestag, Germany's lower house of parliament, as well as the European Commission.

A spokesman for Deutsche Bahn declined to comment on the report but pointed to a planned supervisory board meeting on Friday.

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COVID-19

German Chancellor Scholz tests positive for Covid after Gulf tour

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has tested positive for the coronavirus and is displaying mild symptoms after returning from a tour of the Gulf, his spokesman said Monday.

German Chancellor Scholz tests positive for Covid after Gulf tour

The 64-year-old Social Democrat is isolating in his apartment in the chancellery, and will attend meetings online, spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said.

At the weekend, he visited Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar on a hunt for new energy sources after Russia cut gas supplies amid tensions over the Ukraine war.

He signed a deal Sunday for the UAE to supply natural gas and diesel to Germany.

READ ALSO: UAE to supply Germany with gas and diesel 

Meanwhile Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, also of the SPD, announced via Twitter on Monday that she had tested positive for Covid.

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