Today's corona news in 60 seconds
+++ Vaccine caution +++ Berlin building vaccine centres +++ AfD mask battle +++ All the stats +++
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 corona stats for Berlin (tallied Monday, 9 November)
New cases in one day: +840 (Sunday +241)
Total number of corona deaths: 301 (+6 over Sunday)
🟢 R number: 1.04 (1.07 Sunday)
🔴 New infections per week: 189.2 / 100,000 inhabitants (188.2 Sunday)
🟡 Share of Berlin ICUs occupied by Covid-19 patients: 20.3 per cent (20 per cent Sunday)
Source: Berlin's coronavirus status page
Caution about the vacccine
After euphoric reactions worldwide to yesterday's announcent that a vaccine developed by US pharma giant Pfizer and Germany's Biontech was 90 per cent effective in preventing infection by the coronavirus, SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach warned on a TV chat show that even if the vaccine proves to be effective, it could take a year to protect a sufficiently large portion of the population. In short, 2021 will be another year of pandemic-related restrictions, he predicted.
Meanwhile, Leif-Erik Sander, head of the infection immunology and vaccine research at Berlin's Charité hospital, urged for caution and said it was still too early to say much about possible side-effects of the vaccine – despite encouraging first signs.
Vaccination centres being planned for Berlin
None of that is stopping the German government from powering ahead. Health minister Jens Spahn said the government expected to sign a supply contract for the vaccine with Pfizer/Biontech within the next few days.
Berlin is already preparing for mass vaccinations. Former fire chief Albrecht Broemme told Berliner Zeitung that he was overseeing the construction of six vaccination centres for the city – and that they would be ready for use in early-to-mid-December. Broemme was in charge of building the yet-to-be-used corona field hospital at the Berlin exhibition centre (Messe).
AfD challenge mask requirement in parliament
Perhaps desperate for attention as their popularity sinks during the pandemic, 19 parlimentarians belonging to the far-right Alternative für Deutschland have gone to Germany's highest court, the Bundesverfassungsgericht, to file a suit against a rule that face masks must be worn in all Bundestag buildings. Numerous AfD MPs have flouted the rule and one of them, Thomas Seitz, raised eyebrows when he referred to mask regulations as a "burqa for everyone".
In case you missed it...
Repeatedly, 9 November was a "fateful day" in Germany's 20th century history. Every year the country commemorates both Kristallnacht and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Read Elizabeth Rushton's piece on Germany's day of national soul-searching.
That's all for now folks. Stay safe!
The Berliner Zeitung English team