Today's corona news in 60 seconds

Harsher corona fines  +++ stadiums open to more fans +++ Berlin's crappy corona chatbot +++ the stats

Corona-careful at FC Union's Alte Försterei
Corona-careful at FC Union's Alte FörstereiPhoto: Michael Hundt

Berlin-Every weekday at 11am come to the Berliner Zeitung English Edition for the latest corona/covid-19 news at a glance.

First, the official coronavirus stats for Berlin (tallied Tuesday, 15 September)

R number: 1.09 (1.15 Tuesday)

New infections per week: 14 / 100,000 inhabitants (14.1 Tuesday )

Percentage of covid-19 patients in intensive care: 1.1 per cent (down from 1.3)

Total number of corona deaths: 227 (up from 226 and the first in nearly three weeks)

Source: Berlin's coronavirus status page 

The lowdown...

Berlin thinking about getting serious about corona fines

The Berlin government is angry. Apparently, we've been rather lax about filling out those forms in cafes and restaurants. The Senat is now threatening business owners with fines of "up to €5,000" if they don't make a serious effort to collect customer data. Meanwhile, diners and drinkers who refuse to provide personal info could be fined between €50 and €500. Good luck with enforcement, is all we have to say about that. 

Stadiums opening up to fans again - slowly

In a video conference on Tuesday, the 16 German states agreed on a six-week trial on allowing fans to attend live sporting events. Till the end of October, football, but also volleyball, ice hockey, basketball, handball and other spectator sports can have before 20-per cent capacity crowds. Local football side FC Union is currently allowing 5,000 fans to attend home games in its 22,000 capacity stadium, the Alte Försterei in Köpenick.

Berlin's corona chat bot is useless

Why does every company and government feel like it needs a chatbot? Because Gen Z feels more comfortable chatting than talking? The other day we stumbled upon Bobbi, a cartoon bear in a surgical mask, Berlin's corona chatbot who claims to offer advice in German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Russian and Portuguese. We typed in the question: "Where can I get tested?"

Bobbi replied: "If you show symptoms or suspect that you may be infected with the coronavirus, you should follow the procedure described in the previous question and answer Who should be tested to see if you are infected with the coronavirus? The responsible health authority or your doctor will then decide on the further procedure. If a test is to be carried out, you may be sent to one of the special corona examination centres, depending on the severity of your respiratory disease. If necessary, however, you may be tested differently."

It's like the bot asked Bing, then gave up.

In case you missed it ...

Yesterday, we published this juicy polemic about gendered grammar: Is German a Man's language? Well worth the read.

That's all for now folks. Stay healthy!


The Berliner Zeitung English team

P.S. We're on Twitter and Facebook.