Today's corona news in 60 seconds
+++ Groups of 10 for Xmas +++ Market "to-go" +++ Keep zoo animals cosy +++ The stats +++
🚥 The latest corona stats for Berlin (tallied Wednesday, 25 November)
New cases in one day: 1,630 (Tuesday 1,615)
Total number of corona deaths: 508 (+16 over Tuesday)
🟢 R number: 0.81 (0.97 Tuesday)
🔴 New infections per week: 218.4 / 100,000 inhabitants (223.4 Tuesday)
🟡 Share of Berlin ICUs occupied by Covid-19 patients: 24.7 per cent (24.2 per cent Tuesday)
Source: Berlin's coronavirus status page
10 days of corona Christmas
Following an eight-hour meeting between chancellor Angela Merkel and the 16 state premiers yesterday, we now know what rules will be in place across Germany for the festive period. We'll cover all the details on our page breaking down all of Berlin's corona rules - but the key takeaway is that lockdown measures will be eased between 23 December and 1 January for Christmas and New Year. In that period, a maximum of 10 people from different households can meet - and children under 14 don't count towards that figure.
The lifting of the partial lockdown between 23 December and 1 January will also extend to restaurants, pubs and bars, although landlords probably won't know exactly whether they can welcome customers indoors again, and under what hygiene conditions, until the next meeting of the government and regions on 15 December. The current "lockdown light" in place since 2 November will also continue until at least the beginning of January.
Berlin's Senat is meeting today to discuss how to implement the new regulations in the capital, and mayor Michael Müller has already indicated the talks could be "extensive". Germany's regional authorities are allowed to decide for themselves whether to go beyond the nationally agreed measures. Schleswig Holstein is sticking to the rules it already had in place, for example. In light of its high infection rates, Berlin may also decide to go further.
Will markets "to-go" save Christmas?
Berlin's Christmas markets have been hit hard by corona, with many cancelled due to safety concerns. The district of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf is hoping to have found a way around the virus though. Local boss Arne Herz says the aim is to "bring Christmas to the Bezirk" by spreading at least 25 stalls from a typical market across well-known locations in the district, including Kurfürstendamm and Breitscheidplatz. As well as creating some festive cheer, Herz also wants to give a boost to local businesses for whom the markets are normally key sources of income. The first stalls will open on Monday, but don't expect to stand around drinking Glühwein - all festive food and drink will be strictly "to-go".
Won't someone please think of the naked mole rats?
The Tierpark, Berlin's eastern zoo, certainly is with a new appeal for donations from animal lovers over the festive period. The zoo's indoor animal houses are currently closed as part of the ongoing "lockdown light", but despite the lack of revenue from visitors, the 10,000 creatures that live there still need caring for. Naked mole rats, as well as other tropical beasts like lemurs, need to be kept warm and cosy around the clock - so the zoo has appealed to fans on Instagram to donate and not "leave them out in the cold" this corona winter. A certificate confirming your support will be yours if you do.
In case you missed it...
Yesterday was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Our colleague Antonia Groß met with organisations supporting refugee women in Berlin, who feel measures to protect them from domestic abuse are seriously lacking.
That's all for now, folks. Stay safe!
The Berliner Zeitung English team