Today's Berlin corona news in 60 seconds
+++ AZ vaccine approval +++ Scotch & Sofa demo +++ Half a billion euros to save Galeria +++ the stats +++
🚥 The latest corona stats for Berlin (tallied Thursday, 28 January)
New cases in one day: 503 (890 Wednesday)
Total number of corona deaths: 2,195 (+31 over Wednesday)
🔴 New infections per week: 95.3/100,000 inhabitants (101.2 Wednesday)
Source: Berlin's coronavirus status page
This is Berlin falling
Good news! Today Berlin's 7-day corona incidence rate has fallen below 100 for the first time since October, sitting at 95.3. That's just above the latest national rate of 94.4. All encouraging stuff - but with various corona variants circulating, expect leaders to be highly cautious about when to relax lockdown.
EMA decision on AstraZeneca due today
As the squabble between the EU and AstraZeneca over vaccine deliveries continues, the European Medicines Agency is set to approve the British-Swedish vaccine today, making it the third one available in Europe. Following Handelsblatt-gate, Germany has already said it will not use the vaccine for those 65 and over, because of lacking reliable data on its effectiveness.
Scotch & Sofa & a demo
Prenzlauer Berg's Scotch & Sofa bar has recently been in the headlines after hosting gatherings of corona sceptics trying to launch their own political party, going against current lockdown rules. Now they've faced another kind of pushback, with 300 protesters turning up outside the bar last night to say no to corona denialism. Attendees at the planned demo, organised by Antifa and the Berlin Union against the Right, carried signs reading "corona deniers, get out of the Kiez!" Bar owner Sören P. has lost his lease for the property over the gatherings.
Government rescues Galeria
Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof, the last bastion of Germany's department stores chains, looked set to close seven, or more than half, of its Berlin branches, due to the effects of the second full lockdown - but a government loan of €460 million is now planned to keep them afloat until Easter. Nils Busch-Petersen, regional head of the German Traders' Association, says it's a long time coming after other large companies like Lufthansa or TUI received several billion euros - and that traders have received little from December's wave of corona aid so far. He sees the loan commitment not only as a "good signal" for Galeria's workforce of around 1,800 people, but also for retailers surrounding each branch, who rely on customers drawn to their nearby Kaufhof.
In case you missed it...
Need something fun to do this weekend? Why not pick your best side and send off some headshots to the casting agency behind TV hit Babylon Berlin - they're looking for 2,000 extras for the next series.
That's all for now, folks. Stay safe!
The Berliner Zeitung English team