🚥 The latest corona stats for Berlin (tallied Monday, 18 January)
New cases in one day: 544 (284 Sunday)
Total number of corona deaths: 1,860 (+27 over Sunday)
🔴 New infections per week: 163.3/100,000 inhabitants (160.2 Sunday)
Source: Berlin's coronavirus status page
Delivery failure overshadows vaccine centre opening
A delivery of 29,500 doses of the Biontech vaccine to Berlin failed to materialise yesterday, meaning only 200 people could be vaccinated at the Messe in Charlottenburg - compared to its maximum capacity of 4,100. Berlin health minister Dilek Kalayci (SPD) described the uncertainty caused by consistent problems in vaccine delivery as a "nightmare scenario" - although her department still wants to hit 1,000 jabs a day at Messe by the end of the week, and says the city's remaining three vaccination centres can open soon.
Kalayci is now calling for more transparency over reduced deliveries - she wants to know in advance how much less of an expected order will be arriving. Berlin currently ranks in the middle among the German states in terms of its rate of vaccination, at a rate of 13.2 jabs per 1,000 residents - compared to 9.o in Baden-Württemberg and 23.4 in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
FFP2 supply concerns
An obligation to wear an FFP2 mask in shops and public transport could come out of today's Merkel-states summit at 2pm - but there are already concerns in Berlin about meeting the ensuing demand. Pharmacists fear bottlenecks if the new rule is confirmed, just like when the fine-filtering masks were made free for over-60s. BVG is also concerned about enforcing the rule given the costs involved in obtaining a mask, and a spokesman for city transport minister Regine Günther (Die Grüne) said they should be free for those in financial difficulty.
BVG "home office" tarriff
With corona making working arrangements much more flexible for many, Berlin's public transport providers are looking into options to adapt the current offer of tickets to people's changing needs. It makes sense for them too - around 17,000 fewer BVG subscription tickets were purchased between March and October 2020. Ideas include reduced price 10-trip tickets and more flexibility in the area covered by tickets.
In case you missed it...
Last week's election in Uganda attracted controversy worldwide after the internet was shut off and the main opposition candidate placed under house arrest. Read up on the background in this article from our Open Source initiative.
That's all for now, folks. Stay safe!
The Berliner Zeitung English team