🚥 The latest corona stats for Berlin (tallied Sunday, 31 January)
New cases in one day: 140 (563 Saturday)
Total number of corona deaths: 2,276 (+12 over Saturday)
🔴 New infections per week: 83.8/100,000 inhabitants (86.4 Saturday)
Source: Berlin's coronavirus status page
All eyes on the Impfgipfel
It's a new week, a new month and a new Merkel-Bundesländer conference - this time on the topic of vaccinations. It follows the slow rollout of vaccination programmes across the EU and vaccine supply issues. Ahead of the video meeting, Berlin mayor Michael Müller (SPD) wrote to chancellor Merkel (CDU) calling for the "short-term development of a national vaccination plan" and a "concrete roadmap" for her goal of offering vaccination to every adult in Germany by the end of summer. But health minister Jens Spahn (CDU) has already advised against high expectations for the conference, starting at 2pm today: "We cannot produce more vaccines through a summit alone," he said.
An A-Z of vaccine drama
The dispute between the EU and AstraZeneca over vaccine delivery came to an embarrassing head on Friday with the EU's invocation - then hasty withdrawal - of a Brexit provision imposing controls on doses entering Northern Ireland, aiming to protect the flow of vaccines into the bloc. It all comes after AZ announced on January 22 that it could only deliver 31 million of the 80 million doses it was contracted to supply to the EU, due to a manufacturing issue. One Handelsblatt article and a diplomatic upset later, Ursula von der Leyen, EU Commission president and former German defence minister, announced on Sunday that AZ would now deliver 40 million doses, starting a week earlier than scheduled, and expand its production capacities in Europe.
From Russia with antibodies?
Jens Spahn says he would be open to deploying Russia's Sputnik V and China's Sinovac jabs in Germany. "If a vaccine is safe and effective, regardless of the country it was produced in, then of course it can help in dealing with the pandemic," he told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. Russia says it could supply the EU with 100 million doses of Sputnik V in the second quarter of this year, once its application for approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has been signed off. The vaccine was the first in the world to be deployed for mass vaccination in August - although there is some international scepticism over tests determining its efficacy and safety.
Querdenker's day out in Mitte
Berlin's Querdenker were out on the streets on Sunday - and it wasn't to take pictures of the Brandenburg Gate looking pretty in the snow. Several hundred marched from the Gate to the Siegessäule to "show solidarity" with the "corona walk" protests in Vienna on the same day. Most of them weren't wearing masks and ignored calls from police to follow corona safety regulations.
In case you missed it...
Fancy a home makeover in February? If you're looking for some unique new furniture, the auction of seats, screens and more from the former Tegel airport might have what you're looking for.
That's all for now, folks. Stay safe!
The Berliner Zeitung English team