🚥 The latest corona stats for Berlin (tallied Thursday, 21 January)
New cases in one day: 901 (732 Wednesday)
Total number of corona deaths: 1,996 (+39 over Wednesday)
🔴 New infections per week: 128/100,000 inhabitants (136.6 Wednesday)
Source: Berlin's coronavirus status page
Medical masks from Sunday
A quick reminder: from Sunday, Berliners will be required to wear a "medical mask" on public transport and in shops - meaning a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask. Mayor Michael Müller says an additional 200 police officers will be patrolling the city to enforce the rule. Violations can result in a fine of €50-€500.
German social affairs minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) called for support for people on social benefits, the elderly or people with pre-existing conditions to cover the additional financial burden of having to buy single-use masks. He floated the possibility of "mask vouchers" as a way of dealing with the problem.
"It's not over. Not at all."
German health minister Jens Spahn spelled it out for us: "It's not over. Not at all." As if we hadn't noticed. He pointed out that it's been almost exactly a year to the day that the virus first appeared in Bavaria. Robert Koch Institute (RKI) boss Lothar Wieler said the recent drop of the nationwide incidence rate to 115 was a "slightly positive trend". On the other hand, the RKI confirmed that the number of corona deaths has just surpassed the milestone of 50,000.
Corona deniers get to meet after all
A week after a meeting of Querdenker corona sceptics at Prenzlauer Berg bar Scotch & Sofa was broken up by police, the same group was allowed to meet at the same location. Police monitored the event to ensure hygiene rules were being followed. It's thought the group wants to found a new political party.
In case you missed it...
Corona has been a nightmare for Berlin nightlife. John Muir in Kreuzberg run by US expat Kate Coffee is the latest to fold.
That's all for now, folks. Stay safe!
The Berliner Zeitung English team