🚥 The latest corona stats for Berlin (tallied Sunday, 10 January)
New cases in one day: 340 (732 Saturday)
Total number of corona deaths: 1,565 (+5 over Saturday)
🟢 R number: 1.52 (1.28 Saturday)
🔴 New infections per week: 190.6/100,000 inhabitants (191.7 Saturday)
Source: Berlin's coronavirus status page
Home learning extended amid calls for national schools plan
Berlin's schools were supposed to gradually start reopening from today - until city education minister Sandra Scheeres' (SPD) plan, criticised as complex and confusing, was pushed back. Scheeres announced on Friday that children in grades 1-9 would now continue home learning until at least January 25. Berlin mayor Michael Müller (SPD) said the "uncertainty" among parents and teachers that too many were being sent back to school at once had become too high, and admitted there had been errors in communication.
It comes as families minister Franziska Giffey (SPD) called on Germany's 16 states to adopt a more unified approach to schools and Kitas during the pandemic. "Parents want all the measures we are taking now to be as uniform and reliable as possible throughout Germany," she told the Rheinische Post.
Potential vaccine strategy criticised
Berlin health minister Dilek Kalayci (SPD) suggested on Saturday that in future, people could be allowed to choose which corona vaccine they receive. Kalayci said that because the vaccination offered will differ at each of Berlin's planned six vaccination centres, patients could choose which one they receive by registering for one location over another. Arena in Treptow, the only centre currently operating, offers the Pfizer/Biontech vaccine. Erika Heß ice rink in Wedding is due to follow from Thursday with the Moderna jab.
Kalayci's proposal has attracted criticism from national and local politicians. Wolfgang Albers (Die Linke), chair of the Berlin Health Committee, said her understanding of vaccination was "fundamentally wrong", and asked: "Will we also be able to pick what pills we're happy to swallow at the doctor's in the future?" German health minister Jens Spahn (CDU) also commented over the weekend, saying resources "right now and in the foreseeable future" are too low to offer a choice.
Same lockdown, new rules
In case you hadn't heard, new lockdown restrictions apply throughout Germany from today (and since yesterday in Berlin). Each household can now only meet with one non-household member (in public or private) and kids are no longer exempt (apart from children aged 12 and under with single parents). Areas with more than 200 new cases per 100,000 residents per week may also impose travel restrictions of 15km away from home. SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach says if things don't improve, lockdown could get even tougher - but he also told Süddeutsche Zeitung that thanks to vaccination efforts, we could still have a "super summer".
In case you missed it...
Moustafa Daly spoke to Tanka Fonta, founder of Berlin's pan-African digital radio station Radio Future Africa, about his path from Cameroon to Berlin and being a voice for Germany's African diaspora during corona.
That's all for now, folks. Stay safe!
The Berliner Zeitung English team