🚥 The latest corona stats for Berlin (tallied Monday, 23 November)
New cases in one day: 805 (Sunday 436)
Total number of corona deaths: 456 (+7 over Sunday)
🟢 R number: 1.08 (1.04 Sunday)
🔴 New infections per week: 222 / 100,000 inhabitants (224.9 Sunday)
🟡 Share of Berlin ICUs occupied by Covid-19 patients: 23.8 per cent (24 per cent Sunday)
Source: Berlin's coronavirus status page
The Solidaritätszuschlag is dead! Long live the Solidaritätszuschlag!
Chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of Germany's 16 states will meet Wednesday and likely approve an extension of the current corona restrictions to Dec. 20. The draft law, made available to Berliner Zeitung, also includes a suggestion to discuss a new Solidaritätszuschlag, or solidarity tax, on income to help offset the costs of treating corona patients. The costs would otherwise lead to sharp increases in public health insurance premiums. The original solidarity charge, established to pay for reunification, will otherwise disappear for 90 per cent of taxpayers.
A no-fly list for vaccine opponents?
In a sign of what next year may look like, Australia's Qantas has said it may institute a requirement that international travellers be vaccinated before they board one of its long-haul planes as soon as a vaccine is widely available. While surely some will claim that is somehow a violation of their constitutional rights, Qantas is certainly just the first of many travel (and other) companies that will institute such a requirement. For those of us who remember Rainman, it's just another reason to fly Qantas.
Speaking of vaccinations
Berlin health minister Dilek Kalayci (SPD) said she expects the first vaccinations in the city in late December at the earliest - just in time for a certain someone's 2,020th birthday. Only select people such as risk groups and caregivers will be able to get vaccinated initially and only at one of six vaccination centers so that officials can ensure only those who qualify get the vaccine. She spoke after her federal counterpart, Jens Spahn (CDU), said he expected vaccinations to begin in Germany in mid-December.
In case you missed it...
Remember Brexit, that other big event hiding around the corner? We took a look at what it means for Brits living in Berlin and put together a primer to help them weather the ill-advised exit.
That's all for now, folks. Stay safe!
The Berliner Zeitung English team