The latest corona stats for Berlin (tallied Monday, 1 March)
New cases in one day: +242 (+103 Sunday)
Total number of corona deaths: 2,825 (+7 over Sunday)
🟢 R number: 1.04 (1.12 Sunday)
🔴 New infections per week: 66.3/100,000 inhabitants (65.5 Sunday)
🟡 Share of Berlin ICUs occupied by Covid-19 patients: 16.9 per cent (17.4 per cent Sunday)
Source: Berlin's coronavirus status page
The lowdown ...
Even more kids to return to school
Grades four to six will return to school in hybrid (half at home, half in-school) classes beginning 9 March, Berliner Morgenpost reported. Grades one to three returned 22 February. Local politicians don't want to wait until tomorrow's corona meeting between the federal and state governments to get kids and teachers in classrooms. The education department wouldn't confirm or deny the report and said it was in "talks".
Vaccination strategy change?
The top politicians in a handful of states are pushing the federal government to change the vaccination strategy. Bavaria's Markus Söder (CSU), Saxony's Michael Kretschmer (CDU) and our own Michael Müller (SPD) want the government to allow general practitioners to offer vaccinations with the unpopular AstraZeneca vaccine. Söder and Kretschmer would also like to donate vaccine and tests to the Czech Republic, where the incidence is as high as 700. Everyone on the German side of the border region over 18 should also be able to get vaccinated, the politicians said.
The state surrounding Berlin will soon allow general practitioners to vaccinate and has already allowed garden supply stores to open. Brandenburg has launched a pilot programme where family doctors vaccinate patients in their offices and dole out the appointments themselves - it will eventually include 50 offices but still requires an amendment to the federal vaccine guidelines. Businesses that sell gardening supplies - often massive hardware stores - are now open in Brandenburg, but not Berlin. Berlin politicians fear shopping tourism from Berliners suffering from cabin fever hoping to get a start on their spring projects. Brandenburg admitted it synchronises its corona measures with Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Saxony but not the Hauptstadt.
In case you missed it ....
If you're wondering what the federal government and Germany's 16 states will pass tomorrow during the semi-regular corona meetings, Berlin mayor Michael Müller has said it will likely be the gradual reopening plan his people worked out last week.
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That's all for now, folks. Stay safe!
The Berliner Zeitung English team