Berliners out in Akazienstraße, Schöneberg for last weekend's pumpkin festival. Now their borough is a risk area - coincidence?
Photo: Markus Waechter

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 Monday, 6 October)

🟢 R number: 1.36 (1.21 Sunday)

🔴 New infections per week: 41.5 / 100,000 inhabitants (37.8 Sunday)

🟢 Percentage of Covid-19 patients in intensive care: 3.1 per cent (3.2 per cent Sunday)

Total number of corona deaths: 231 (no change from Sunday)

Source: Berlin's coronavirus status page 

The lowdown...

Fourth borough makes Berlin one-third risk area

Southern Tempelhof-Schöneberg is now the fourth Berlin borough (after Mitte, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Neukölln) to be classed as a risk area by Schleswig-Holstein and Rhineland Palatinate. That means Berliners living there now also face 14 days’ quarantine on arrival in these two regions – because its infection rate in the last week was also above 50 per 100,000, at 53.6.

The Berlin Senat is meeting tonight (Tuesday 6th October) to discuss its corona approach – including health minister Dilek Kalayci’s proposal for an alcohol sale ban between 11pm and 6am. That’s come under fire from Ingrid Hartges, head of the German Hotel and Restaurant Union, Dehoga, who told the Bild newspaper a ban would be “unacceptable”.

Life's a beach for northern holidaymakers

Schleswig-Holstein is home to one of Germany’s most popular holiday destinations – part of the Baltic Sea coastline. But with the new quarantine restrictions facing some Berliners and the school holidays looming, tourism bosses are concerned. Norbert Kunz, head of the German Tourism Association, says there needs to be more co-ordination between Bundesländer for clarity on things like accommodation bans. But this could be good news for Baltic coastal towns in neighbouring Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – because M-V is assessing Berlin as a whole, not by individual regions, its total rate is below 50 at 41.5, meaning Berliners are free to travel there without fear of quarantine. For now at least.

Spahn's mask despair 

German health minister Jens Spahn is not happy with Berlin. He's particularly cross with the areas he says “have followed too few of the rules” and the restaurants where he says people wearing masks get stared at “as if they’re from the moon”. However, Spahn also shares some of the frustrations felt at the divisions being imposed down borough lines by other German regional governments. “This is a big, dynamic city. We all move in and out of different boroughs every day. I very much hope there will be an all-Berlin approach,” he said. Aw, he likes us after all.

Making work from home work

German work minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) wants to pass a new “mobile work law”, which would give employees the right to work remotely 24 days a year. Compelling reasons would be needed to deny use of the days. Heil said the last few months have shown working from home works for both employers and employees – and says the 24 days would be a minimum. Companies could offer more at their own discretion. What do you think?

In case you missed it...

If all this talk of risk areas has got you feeling like staying at home a bit more, we've got a book recommendation for you. Author Jennifer Hofmann's new novel The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures takes a fascinating look into a Stasi man's psyche in the hours before the Berlin Wall fell. Read our interview with her here.

That's all for now folks. Stay healthy!

Yours,

The Berliner Zeitung English team

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