🚥 The latest corona stats for Berlin (tallied Sunday, 22 November)
New cases in one day: +436 (Saturday +1,051)
Total number of corona deaths: 449 (+2 over Saturday)
🟢 R number: 1.04 (0.96 Saturday)
🔴 New infections per week: 224.9 / 100,000 inhabitants (224.6 Saturday)
🟡 Share of Berlin ICUs occupied by Covid-19 patients: 24.0 per cent (24.3 per cent Saturday)
Source: Berlin's coronavirus status page
Tougher regional rules expected before Christmas
Chancellor Merkel will be meeting again with the heads of Germany's 16 states on Wednesday, but a draft document of proposed new corona measures has already indicated exactly what they will be discussing:
- Measures extended: the current restrictions are likely to continue until 20 December. However, states can decide to relax rules if their incidence rate of new infections drops below 35 per 100,000 residents in a week. Measures will then be extended from 20 December for two weeks at a time until things improve.
- Pre-Christmas tightening: from 1 to 17 December, private meetings can only take place between a bubble of two households totalling five people each, with children under 14 exempted. Masks will be compulsory in public buildings, on public transport, and in outdoor spaces with high concentrations of people.
- Christmas: between 21 and 27 December, people from more than two households will be able to meet in private, although the numbers of individual people involved are still unclear. Under 14s will still be exempt. Self quarantine for a few days will be recommended for after this period. Discussions with churches around religious ceremonies are ongoing - but don't expect any large services.
- New Year: the draft document leaves this largely unclear, although there is an indication the Christmas arrangements could run until 3 January 2021. However, a ban on the sale, purchase and lighting of fireworks is likely to be enforced to discourage large gatherings and reduce strain on emergency services.
- Schools: if a state's incidence rate is above 50, masks will be compulsory for pupils from the seventh grade (age 13) up, unless their school is infection free. States can make their own decisions about putting teaching online, while a new test strategy aims to see pupils and teachers isolate for five days and take rapid tests in the event of an infection.
- Financial support: aid for companies, the self-employed and associations affected by closure is to be extended. The states want support for heavily affected industries like culture and travel to continue until as late as mid 2021, as well as tax subsidies for statutory health insurance.
Another Querdenker makes a nonsense Nazi comparison
Last weekend, an 11-year-old girl at a corona sceptics' demo in Karlsruhe said living under corona restrictions made her feel like Anne Frank - and this weekend's demos brought more offensive comparisons. Jana, a 22-year-old "Querdenker" from Kassel, took to the mic at a protest in Hannover and described how her activities handing out anti-corona leaflets around her university campus made her feel like World War Two resistance activist Sophie Scholl. In real life, Scholl was arrested by the Nazis, found guilty of high treason and executed by guillotine. Jana burst into tears when a security guard at the event took issue with the comparison and announced he was leaving. Over the weekend, #janaauskassel trended as Germans expressed their disgust at her remarks - and had some laughs at her expense.
"Thorben from Kassel is grounded. He feels like Nelson Mandela."
Pop goes Berlin's Brandenburg Gate NYE party
It's the hotspot that draws thousands of party-goers and big name entertainers to ring in the New Year - but not this year. Berlin's finance minister Ramona Pop (Bündnis 90/Die Grüne) has indicated the big annual New Year's Eve party at the Brandenburg Gate is on the brink of being cancelled. She told the Berliner Morgenpost any large parties marking the end of 2020 risked a third corona wave in February. Officially though, organisers are still making plans for a televised concert without an audience.
In case you missed it...
Today's the day many of us have been waiting for - the second stage of the Berlin rent cap comes into force, potentially bringing big savings if your landlord's been charging you a hefty sum up until now. Check out our guide on how to check your eligibility for a rent reduction.
That's all for now, folks. Stay safe!
The Berliner Zeitung English team