German Unity Day is a special one this year marking 30 years of reunification - but with corona numbers on the rise, staying safe is more important than ever.
Photo: Sebastian Wells/OSTKREUZ

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

🚥 First, the official corona stats for Berlin (tallied Thursday, 1 October)

🟢 R number: 0.83 (0.93 Wednesday)

🔴 New infections per week: 32.7 / 100,000 inhabitants (30.2 Wednesday)

🟢 Percentage of Covid-19 patients in intensive care: 2.6 per cent (2.4 per cent Wednesday)

Total number of corona deaths: 229 (+1 from Wednesday)

Source: Berlin's coronavirus status page 

The lowdown...

Second wave incoming?

A worrying new juncture in slowly increasing corona numbers in Germany and across the world as the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reports 2673 new cases within 24 hours – the highest number of new daily diagnoses since mid April. 244 of those were in Berlin – the city’s rate of new cases over the past week currently stands at 32.7 per 100,000 residents. That means one of the city’s corona “traffic lights” is on red, with the other two still on green – for now. A double red will lead to intervention from the Senat.

Bundeswehr beef continues

German health minister Jens Spahn has now weighed in on the war of words over Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg’s decision not to accept corona help from the German army. Speaking on the ARD TV programme “Extra”, he said that as case numbers increase, health facilities everywhere will at some point reach their full capacity and need more support. He echoed defence minister AKK’s criticism, saying it was “surprising” the borough would turn down the help for “ideological reasons”. On Thursday evening, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg’s district council again rejected bringing in troops – but district mayor Monika Herrmann (Greens) said beforehand that “any helping hand would be welcome”. Berlin mayor Michael Müller has also spoken out in favour of continued army support, saying people should not see it as a military exercise

Fines pile up in Pankow

Corona is looking quite lucrative for some of Berlin’s local authorities as they rake in the fines. As of the end of September, 700 sanctions have been meted out against those who have not followed the rules in the northern district of Pankow alone, bringing in €20,000 in fines. The Pankow district council said the numbers had arisen from “regular police checks in restaurants as well as in shops, hairdressers, nail salons” and more.

Stay safe together - stock up food

Tomorrow marks German Unity Day, this year celebrating 30 years since East and West became one country again – but festivities will no doubt be overshadowed by the risk of corona. Visitors to the reunification festival taking place in Potsdam over the weekend are reminded to wear masks, keep social distancing, and to not touch exhibits or shake hands. And don’t forget, a national holiday means no open shops, so get ready – the Netherlands, which has new extra corona measures in place after a surge in new cases, is urging Germans in bordering towns in North-Rhine Westphalia not to cross the border for some retail therapy.

In case you missed it...

Berlin education bosses have made a controversial decision to stop pregnant trainee teachers from sitting their final exams while there is still a risk from corona, for safety reasons. One woman affected says she feels discriminated against - read her story here

That's all for now folks. Stay healthy!

Yours,

The Berliner Zeitung English team

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