🚥 The latest corona stats for Berlin (tallied Sunday, 15 November)
New cases in one day: +432 (Thursday +1,960)
Total number of corona deaths: 362 (+30 over Thursday)
🟢 R number: 1.25 (0.78 Thursday)
🔴 New infections per week: 209.1 / 100,000 inhabitants (187.3 Thursday)
🟡 Share of Berlin ICUs occupied by Covid-19 patients: 22.0 per cent (21.4 per cent Thursday)
Source: Berlin's coronavirus status page
Woah, we're halfway there
As we reach the halfway point in Germany's November lockdown, chancellor Merkel is preparing for an online meeting today with the heads of the country's 16 states to discuss how things are going. We won't know the official outcome until later, but insiders have shared details of what extra restrictions we can expect soon:
- Private meetings: a dossier from today's meeting says most recent new infections have taken place in private settings - so it is thought people will be asked to completely avoid meeting in private with others in the run up to Christmas. Kids and teens will be asked to choose just one friend to meet with in their free time.
- Contact restrictions: meeting up in public will only be possible with other members of your own household and a maximum of two from another household. Anyone caught flouting can expect a tap on the wrist from the Ordnungsamt.
- Free time: people will be asked to avoid recreational activities and going to places with large numbers of people, as well as non-essential private trips and tourist visits. Non-essential journeys on public transport and visits to closed spaces with large numbers of people will also be advised against.
- High risk groups: families should only visit their elderly or high-risk relatives if they have had no corona symptoms or not been in a risk situation for a week. The government is also proposing making filtered FFP2 masks available at a discount to those at higher risk of the virus.
- Schools: masks will become compulsory for all pupils and teachers at all times, on school premises and during lessons. Class sizes will be halved and school bus services extended to aid social distancing of 1.5 metres, while pupils will form a bubble with their class - with no exceptions.
Last orders at the whiteboard
Government finance minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) has some creative ideas about how to keep schools open despite corona - he has suggested using empty cultural and community centres as well as rooms in hotels, restaurants and pubs as classroom alternatives. Some think it's a good idea - like Thomas Lengefelder, head of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association - but others aren't so sure. Norman Heise, the head of Berlin's parents committee, said he thought the idea was "questionable" because of a lack of specialised rooms. Marianne Burkert-Eulitz, the Berlin Greens' spokesperson for education, said that while the idea was good in principle, key questions about financing remained. Berlin's education minister Sandra Scheeres (SPD) has yet to take a side.
Care home outbreak investigated
An investigation is underway to identify the cause of a corona outbreak at a care home in Lichtenberg which has seen 47 infected and 12 dead. The home is currently closed to visitors and some of its elderly residents were evacuated to other facilities on Friday to protect them from the virus and reduce the strain on remaining staff. A report due this week is set to examine whether corona safety regulations were properly followed - local health boss Martin Schaefer (CDU) said there was evidence that care home staff came to work despite having virus symptoms.
In case you missed it...
It took a global pandemic for us to stop talking about Brexit, but with the end of the year fast approaching, here's our guide on what's set to change for Brits in Berlin.
That's all for now, folks. Stay safe!
The Berliner Zeitung English team