🚥 The latest corona stats for Berlin (tallied Thursday, 7 January)
New cases in one day: 1,569 (1,306 Wednesday)
Total number of corona deaths: 1,487 (+42 over Wednesday)
🟢 R number: 0.77 (0.74 Wednesday)
🔴 New infections per week: 139.6/100,000 inhabitants (130.6 Wednesday)
Source: Berlin's coronavirus status page
1,188 corona deaths in 24 hours
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the coronavirus has claimed 38,795 lives in Germany placing the country 13th in the chart of total fatalities, after Argentina. This morning the Robert Koch Institute reported a new 24-hour record: 1,188 deaths. So it's no surprise that the locklown has been extended till 31 January and - as many experts have predicted - could last in some form until warmer weather hits in April.
Resistance to the school opening plan
Earlier this week, the Berlin Senat presented its staggered plan for reopening schools with kids attending alternating classes for three hours a day with half the number of pupils (read our full explainer) but the step-by-step schedule is coming under fire from all sides. "None of this fits together," said Tom Ehrmann of the GEW teachers' union - referring to the complex challenge of several weeks of mixed online and classroom lessons for many teachers and parents. Norman Heise of the Berlin parents' committee expressed his worry that even classes half the normal size would mean up to 16 kids together plus teachers - presenting a high risk of infection.
Schools have begun sending out letters assigning pupils to alternating "A and B classes" but some schools are resisting the reopening plans. Public broadcaster rbb reports that five Gymnasien in Neukölln have filed an emergency court petition to extend home schooling until the end of the month. Other schools are rebelling, too. A headteacher in Treptow-Köpenick told rbb she wasn't going to be opening her school on Monday.
Reminder: New rules kick in
The new harsher corona rules go into effect on Sunday. In a nutshell, Berliners can only gather outside on the streets or in green spaces with members of their own household, immediate family members or partners plus one person from another household. The same applies for private indoor gatherings.
In case you missed it...
New year, new rules, taxes and benefits. We've put together a handy list of all the changes in German bureaucracy this year.
That's all for now, folks. Stay safe!
The Berliner Zeitung English team