The latest corona stats for Berlin (tallied Monday, 22 March)
Berliners vaccinated with one vaccine dose: 9.4 per cent (9 per cent Sunday)
New cases in one day: +545 (+219 Sunday)
Total number of corona deaths: 2,998 (+1 over Sunday)
🟢 R number: 1.06 (1.11 Sunday)
🔴 New infections per week: 98.6/100,000 inhabitants (92.6 Sunday)
🟡 Share of Berlin ICUs occupied by Covid-19 patients: 15.8 per cent (15 per cent Monday)
The lowdown ...
Angela Merkel's 11-hour conference call with the heads of the 16 states ended in the early hours this morning. With the third wave in full swing and vaccinations progressing at a painfully sluggish pace, the politicians did as expected and extended the current corona measures till at least 18 April.
But on Easter weekend special rules will be imposed. From Thursday, 1 April till Monday, 5 April - everything will close down, with the exception of food stores on Saturday. Expect overfilled supermarkets on Wednesday and Saturday next week. Only vaccination and test centres will remain open over what Merkel branded as a five-day "rest break".
The same restrictions on social contact remain: two households can get together, but no more than five people at once, not including kids 14 and under. Germans are being discouraged to travel on their beloved Easter holiday - but there's no ban on international travel. In Germany, hotels and holiday flats will remain closed.
During the crisis, the federal-state conference or Ministerpräsidentenkonferenz (MPK) has been meeting every two weeks to decide on new measures. But after last night's marathon, German media unleashed a barrage of criticism about the MPK. The endless discussions over the details of rules, rather than getting more people vaccinated are eroding trust in politics, some wrote. Or as our German colleague Christine Dankbar put it this morning: "The paint is off. Germany is not the pandemic world champion, but a normal, over-regulated and over-anxious country."
Retailers fight click & meet
Meanwhile, in all 16 German states, the company that owns electronics stores Saturn and MediaMarkt is challenging the rule that shoppers must make appointments: the "click & meet" regulation. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the company won in court, meaning all retailers can open normally, with the usual corona hygiene measures in place. A court in Münster ruled that different rules for different kinds of shops were not justified. Retailers in Berlin are hoping "click & meet" will be shot down here too.
In case you missed it ....
Ever wondered how the iconic S-Bahn logo came to be? A local historian found out after a long dive into the archives.
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That's all for now, folks. Stay safe!
The Berliner Zeitung English team