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Berlin daily news blog: coronavirus, politics, culture, business and more

The latest about the coronavirus, politics, culture, business and more from Berlin and beyond.

Wednesday June, 29

On Wednesday, there were 3,193 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 429.5 cases per 100,000 people.

New Covid rules planned for autumn, monkeypox vaccine arrives

Covid numbers are rising, prompting a new autumn/winter strategy against the virus from the Berlin senate. Wearing a mask may again become necessary indoors, with mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) encouraging Berliners to get a fourth vaccine and earmarking €4.5 million for the new campaign. Health Senator Ulrike Gote (Greens) fears that a new, deadlier variant may arise, and sees the end of federal funding for a Schnelltest as a mistake. From July 1, a test will cost €3 at the city’s test centres. Whilst the Berlin Senate is calling for funding to continue, Giffey is also optimistic, pointing out that 93 percent of Berliners have some form of immunity, through being vaccinated or having already recovered from the virus.

In other viral news, more than 550 cases of monkeypox have been recorded in Berlin, which is roughly 30 to 50 cases per day. A vaccine campaign is now underway, but Health Senator Gote thinks the plan to initially deliver the vaccine to HIV specialist practices, Charité and the Clinic for Infectious Diseases at the St. Joseph Hospital in Tempelhof, isn’t extensive enough. A larger vaccine delivery is expected from the second half of July.

Last call in Berlin’s parks? IMAGO / Emmanuele Contini

Tuesday June, 28

On Tuesday, there were 4,181 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 430.5 cases per 100,000 people.

Alcohol ban in Berlin parks?

Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD) is considering an alcohol ban in Berlin’s parks following a spate of incidents in recent weeks. The Senate Department for the Interior also proposes fencing and closing parks to improve security after a number of robberies and fights in public parks. “We are already developing solutions with the districts in a joint task force,” said Spranger on Monday. The goal is a “uniform concept to get crime under control…from a certain point in time, an alcohol ban must also be imposed,” she said, adding that it may be deemed necessary to fence off parks. “If there are no other options, you also have to think about closing parks at a certain point in time.” A task force with representatives from Berlin’s districts was created on Spranger’s initiative and met for the first time last week, but no concrete decision was reached.

Monday June, 27

On Monday, there were 3,122 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 434.7 cases per 100,000 people.

Rain, hail and shine: Berlin expecting storms

The German Weather Service has issued a heat warning for Monday, June 27. Berlin and Brandenburg can expect sweltering temperatures of up to 36 degrees today, followed by storms, winds of up to 100 km/h and even hail in the early afternoon. By the evening, temperatures should drop to between 15 and 19 degrees. The heatwave isn’t over though. Despite a day’s respite on Tuesday, heavy showers and thunderstorms are expected again on Wednesday, with the mercury rising to highs of between 27 and 32 degrees.

Things are also heating up in response to the G7 summit, currently being held in Bavaria, with climate activist group Letzte Generation blocking the entrance to the Federal Finance Ministry in Berlin to coincide with the event. Police report that around 40 activists are demonstrating against climate inaction, and that several have superglued themselves to the pavement in front of the building. “Like many other countries in the Global North, Germany has a historical responsibility for the climate crisis… and as one of the G7 countries it also has an enormous influence on general world politics” said activist Kim Weier.

Berlin’s streets are being taken over by e-scooters. Photo: IMAGO / Jürgen Ritter

Friday June, 24

On Friday, there were 2,885 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 434.6 cases per 100,000 people.

Blind association demands removal of e-scooters from Berlin

The General Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABSV), together with an alliance of citizens’ groups, are demanding that e-scooters be removed from Berlin’s streets, as many visually impaired Berliners have been injured trying to negotiate blocked footpaths. Berlin’s Senate has already sought to install e-scooter parking stations in disused car parks, but as with all Berlin bureaucracy, progress has been too slow. “If things continue like this, it will be at least 15 years before we have enough parking space for e-scooters,” says Roland Stimpel of the German Pedestrian Association, adding that the Senate must decide whether the “fun and profit-driven desires of e-scooter users and rental companies” are more important than the safety of Berliners. But even this may not be enough, as Verena Staats, Managing Director of the ABSV, explains “as long as there is still no obligation to only use designated parking spaces… the danger for blind and visually impaired people, but also for people with walking disabilities and wheelchair users, will continue to exist… We are examining whether we can take action against the Senate by means of a class action lawsuit”.

Supply chain issues are giving Musk a headache Photo: IMAGO / Xinhua

Thursday June, 23

On Thursday, there were 3,786 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 403.3 cases per 100,000 people.

Tesla factories are burning billions of dollars

In his latest dramatic statement, Elon Musk has described how Tesla factories are losing billions of dollars, declaring that “both Berlin and Austin factories are gigantic money furnaces right now.” The comment was made in an interview with the Tesla Owners of Silicon Valley fan club last month. Whilst the Berlin factory is in a better position than its Texan counterpart, Musk has blamed supply chain issues and lockdowns in China which lead to the closure of several ports. “It’s really like a giant roar, that sound of money on fire” he added, saying that “it is a matter of keeping the company running so that the employees continue to be paid and the group does not go bankrupt.” The interview, which was given on May 31, was only made public yesterday. Since then, the Shanghai factory that was locked down, causing the major disruption, has managed to triple production.In other Musk-related news, the Berlin Police have banned their officers from driving Teslas to work, fearing that the vehicles’ advanced technology and sensors pose a security risk, and could be used to hack the computer network. This is according to a leaked internal memo, reports Berliner Zeitung.

The Gigafactory at Grünheide outside Berlin. Photo: IMAGO / Jochen Eckel

Wednesday 22, June

On Wednesday, there were 3,275 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 357.5 cases per 100,000 people.

Who has the right to water?

After the wildfires in Brandenburg last weekend, water supply is again in the news. A report from CORRECTIV.Lokal has shown that the number of court cases relating to water supply has risen in recent years, and is expected to increase further. The case of the Tesla factory in Grünheide is a good example.

Two environmental groups, Grüne Liga and the Naturschutzbund Deutschland, sued the State Environment Agency to prevent the Gigafactory from pumping water from Eggersdorf which they claim is sorely needed by locals and farmers. Their claim was upheld, but only partially, due to lack of public participation in the decision-making process. Once that formality was resolved, Tesla could begin production. The environmental groups are now appealing the claim in a higher court. Katharina Huth from CORRECTIV.Lokal said: “It’s about the very fundamental question: Who actually has priority? Who has the first right to water?”

Climate activists aren’t the only ones disgruntled with Musk, as he announced that he would be laying off 10 percent of the Tesla workforce worldwide due to inflation and market forces. Employees at the Grünheide Tesla plant won’t be affected by the cuts, but many do appear to be dissatisfied with their remuneration. The IG Metall trade union has reported that new hires are earning more than older employees, causing many to quit.

Franziska Giffey has long been against the socialisation of Berlin housing. Photo: IMAGO / IPON

Tuesday 21, June

On Tuesday, there were 4,330 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 334.1 cases per 100,000 people.

SPD move left on A100 and expropriation; brawl at Sommerbad Insulaner

The Berlin SPD held their state party conference in Neukölln on Sunday and there was a distinct change of course for two key issues affecting Berlin. The party voted with a 65% majority to abandon the 17th construction phase of the A100 motorway expansion, bringing the project to a close. This was a U-turn for the party, who have long advocated for the extension of the project. Another surprise move came with the vote on expropriation. The Berlin SPD decided that – were the expropriation commission to recommend the socialisation of housing – they would implement an expropriation law as quickly as possible. This was a direct contradiction of the position of Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD), who has long been against the reform. It was also decided that the commission should present its results in the spring of 2023.

Also on Sunday, a massive brawl involving around 100 people broke out at an outdoor swimming pool in Berlin Stieglitz. 13 police vehicles responded to the scene, which was captured on social media. Police are investigating four suspects, and two people reported light injuries from a someone armed with a knife.

Fire engines and helicopters attempt to tackle forest fires in Brandenburg. Photo: IMAGO / Arnulf Hettrich

Monday 20, June

On Monday, there were 2,565 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 309.2 cases per 100,000 people.

Brandenburg burns; wildfires break out in Beelitz and Treuenbrietzen

Fires broke out yesterday afternoon around Beelitz, the town in Brandenburg famous for its asparagus. The extremely warm weather over the weekend saw the fire spread rapidly, setting entire pine trees ablaze, and spread to an area of over 200 hectares by the early evening. As a result, several streets in the town needed to be evacuated – though the fires are now understood to be under control and will be further relieved by today’s rainfall.

The Beelitz blaze was not the only wildfire which broke out however – three further towns were fully evacuated when the forests around Treuenbrietzen also caught fire, with this separate blaze covering an area larger than 280 football pitches. Authorities were particularly concerned about this fire since the forests were previously used as a military training area and contain unexploded ammunition. Reportedly, smoke could be smelled in the air as far away as Dresden.

Barbecuing is prohibited due to lack of rain. Photo: IMAGO / Müller-Stauffenberg

Friday 17, June

On Friday, there were 2,033 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 288.6 cases per 100,000 people.

Hot weather in Berlin means BBQ ban in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg

There’s a drought in Berlin and we’re bracing for a minor heatwave, with temperatures expected to reach 33 and 34 degrees this weekend. Accordingly, the Berlin district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg has banned barbecuing in its parks and green spaces until further notice. The only place excluded from the ban is the Neuer Hain area of Volkspark Friedrichshain, where grilling is permitted due to its being privately supervised – though Berliners must book a barbecue spot online. The drought has also seen a general smoking and barbecue ban applied to all Berlin forests, with motorists also advised to avoid parking their cars in dry areas. Berlin experienced an usually dry spring – and temperatures in May and June have been well above the norm. As in previous years, the Black Elster river (Schwarze Elster) in Brandenburg has completely dried up along many stretches.

Summer is heating up and COVID cases are rising. Photo: IMAGO / Sven Simon

Thursday 16, June 

On Thursday, there were 2,000 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 281.8 cases per 100,000 people.

Corona summer wave arrives: Here’s what you need to know

What is going on with Corona? I thought it was over?

Cases are going up, not down.

So what’s the deal then?

Experts are calling it a “summer wave”. 

Is this a new variant?

Yes. This year has mostly been Omicron 2, but now Omicron 4 and 5 are here. They are more infectious than 2, but how deadly they are isn’t yet known. 

Where is it coming from?

Experts think Portugal. They are already having their summer wave and it is expected the same thing will happen here in a few weeks. 

Should I get a booster?

It’s not officially recommended, but Karl Lauterbach (SPD) said yesterday that it could be a good idea. Wearing a mask, washing your hands and isolating if you have symptoms are the official recommendations. 

What about my holiday?

If it’s in the EU you should be fine, but airlines sometimes cancel flights if enough of their staff are sick. 

That warm glow is here to stay, but only in limited areas. IMAGO / blickwinkel

Wednesday 15, June

On Wednesday, there were 2,334 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 278.8 cases per 100,000 people.

Berlin to stop gaslighting (bad news for boyfriends everywhere); heatwave expected this weekend

For over 200 years, Berlin’s streets have been lit by the warm glow of gas lamps. However, due to rising energy costs, this is changing. More than half of Berlin’s 44,000 gas-powered street lamps have been reconfigured to energy-saving alternatives in the past few years. A gas lamp costs the state around €500 per year, significantly more than the €50 required by LEDs – and given the war in Ukraine, gas isn’t getting any cheaper. The city plans to heritage-list around 3,300 – maintaining that beloved warm glow – but hopes to replace the remaining 20,000 at a rate of 2,000 per year.In other news, temperatures in Berlin are expected to reach up to 32 degrees on Saturday and 37 on Sunday this week. Meteorologists are reporting that hot air from Africa will cause a heatwave across central Europe with potentially lethal consequences for at-risk groups in southern regions. So get ready to drink lots of water!

Passengers at Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Tuesday 14, June

On Tuesday, there were 3,046 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 292.7 cases per 100,000 people.

Train delayed more than 20 minutes? Take the ICE with your €9 ticket

Since the start of the month it’s been possible to travel across Germany with the newly introduced €9 monthly ticket, provided you take regional trains rather than the faster long-distance EC, IC and ICE services. But what happens if your train is delayed? Many passengers were faced with this situation on the crowded route between Berlin and the Baltic Sea last weekend and, while it is not possible to get your €9 ticket refunded, statutory passenger rights mean that anyone whose train is delayed more than 20 minutes at the final destination is entitled to take a fast train instead. In this situation, passengers would have to pay for the long-distance train ticket up front, but would be entitled to compensation, as long as they can provide proof of their delay.

In other news, criminals are taking advantage of Berlin’s housing crisis. Berlin police are looking for a man who scammed at least 20 people using false advertisements for an apartment. After receiving applications in response to his false ad, the fraudster asked for a €500 broker fee, then disappeared. The police have released a photo of the suspect and are asking the public for further information.

Florence Welch of the band Florence + the Machine at Tempelhof Sounds Festival in Berlin, 10 June 2022. Photo: IMAGO / Martin Müller

Monday 13, June

On Monday, there were 1,543 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 220.3 cases per 100,000 people.

First crayfish of the year caught in Berlin; Florence + the Machine cause small earthquake

The bright red crustaceans were first spotted in the lake in Berlin’s Tiergarten in August 2017 and they’ve been growing in number ever since. Red American swamp crayfish are an invasive species in Europe, native to the southern United States and northern Mexico, and they’re likely to have first entered into the wild after escaping from captivity as pets in aquariums. In order to stop their spread, fisherman have been permitted to catch the crayfish, with Britzer Garten and Tiergarten lakes being the prime spots. Hunting season started on June 1, but last week saw the first traps laid out. As a result, crayfish are on the menu at a number of Berlin restaurants.

In other news, Berlin reportedly experienced a minor earthquake on Friday night caused by the Florence + the Machine crowd at Tempelhof Sounds music festival. Several Neukölln residents felt tremors in their apartments around 9pm, with three local seismological stations registering activity up to 1.4 on the Richter Scale, according to T-Online and RBB. The epicentre? The hangars of the former THF airport, exactly at the time the 25,000-strong crowd jumped in unison to the song Dog Days Are Over.

Inlfation is on the rise and shows no sign of slowing down. IMAGO / Panthermedia

Friday 10, June

On Friday, there were 2,237 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 207.0 cases per 100,000 people.

Inflation at highest level since 1979

Inflation hit 7.9 percent at the end of May, the highest since 1979 according to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany. Energy prices have risen even more severely, with gas 42 percent more expensive than it was in December 2021. Groceries and other basics have also seen sharp price increases. Butter, salami and shampoo have gone up by 30, 28 and 26 percent respectively. Petrol is up to an average of 200.3 cents per litre from an average of 188.8 last year. Economist Stefan Kooths from the Kiel Institute for World Economics has warned that the European Central bank needs to act or inflation could worsen even more severely.

The Douglas storefront on Tauenzienstraße where a man drove his car into a group of pedestrians. IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Thursday 9, June

On Thursday, there were 1,910 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 182.3 cases per 100,000 people.

Police arrest mentally impaired 29 year old following Tauentzienstraße attack

On Wednesday morning, a car drove off the road and rammed into a crowd of pedestrians, killing one woman, later identified as a teacher from Hesse, and critically injuring several others. Police have arrested a 29-year-old man described by Berlin’s Interior Senator Irish Spranger (SPD) as “mentally impaired”. Spranger was joined by Berlin’s mayor Franziska Giffey and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in describing the incident as an “amoktat”, a psychotic episode or a random act of violence. A political motivation is being ruled out, despite some posters relating to Turkey being found in the vehicle. In 2016, an Islamist attack took place at almost the same location, when 12 were killed at the Christmas market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.

Tauentzienstraße in Charlottenburg, where a car drove into a group of pedestrians on June 8, 2022. Photo: IMAGO / Andreas Gora

Wednesday 8, June – update

At least one person has been killed and as many as eight injured at Breitscheidplatz in Charlottenburg this morning, after a car drove into a group of people and then through a shop display window near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. It is still unclear if the incident was an accident or intentional. What is known is that at around 10:30, a silver Renault Clio drove into a group of pedestrians on the pavement near Rankestraße, where Kurfürstendamm merges into Tauentzienstraße, then back onto the road at Tauentzienstraße. The car then mounted the pavement again at Marburger Straße and drove into a shop window, where the driver then stopped. Of the eight injured, five are in a critical condition and the other three were severely injured. More than 130 police are currently in attendance and a criminal investigation has begun. A man has been arrested.

The incident happened close to where a terrorist attack took place in December 2016, when a man drove a truck into the Christmas market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, killing 12 and injuring 56.

The Robert Koch Institute at Virchow Klinikum. Photo IMAGO / Andreas Gora

Wednesday 8, June

On Wednesday, there were 2,787 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 173,0 cases per 100,000 people.

72 cases of monkeypox confirmed in Berlin

Berlin has now identified 72 cases of monkeypox, with 13 patients requiring hospitalisation according to the Senate Department for Science, Health, Nursing and Gender Equality on Tuesday. This is a sharp rise from the 48 known cases on Friday. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported a total of 80 infections nationwide, but this was shortly before the case numbers from Berlin were released. The RKI emphasised that transmission is only possible with close body contact, and that the majority of cases are sexually transmitted. On average there are 21 days between infection and the outbreak of symptoms that include fever, muscle aches, headaches and swollen lymph nodes. For this reason, Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) has suggested three weeks’ isolation for close contacts.

Queue in front of the Neukölln Bürgeramt. IMAGO / Olaf Wagner

Tuesday 7, June


On Tuesday, there were 1,083 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 199.2 cases per 100,000 people.


Berlin fails to digitise, surprises no one

Berlin has failed to meet its own digitisation deadline, with only one quarter of administrative procedures currently available online. The state of Berlin declared in August 2017 that it would make all administrative procedures digital within five years, but so far only 137 of 575 have made the switch. Applying for an identification document or changing your Anmeldung are still only possible in person – although you can now apply for a gun licence from your laptop. Chief Digital Officer Ralf Kleindiek (SPD) stated that whilst the August 2022 deadline hasn’t yet passed, his office won’t be able to achieve its stated goals, adding that this was “clear from early on”. He excused his failure by pointing out that other states in Germany have also failed to digitise, and that a further 20 services are expected to be made available this year, followed by 120 next year.

Elon Musk, looking down on us. Photo: IMAGO / UPI Photo

Friday 3, June

On Friday, there were 1,060 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 217.6 cases per 100,000 people.

Metalworkers union IG Metall responds to Elon Musk’s work-from-home ban

“Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week…. If you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned.” Those were the words of Tesla CEO Elon Musk to his staff, according to a recently leaked internal email. But now IG Metall, the German metalworkers union, have spoken out against this idea. Musk recently opened the Tesla factory in Grünheide, Brandenburg – and has a history of conflict with unions. The Grünheide staff founded a workers council back in February, their workers are being courted by the IG Metall union. Birgit Dietze, spokesperson for IG Metall Berlin-Brandenburg responded to Musk’s comments, pointing out that: “In Germany, employers can’t just do as they please, they have to comply with statutory labor law.”

Full trains and highways expected this weekend. IMAGO / photothek

Thursday 2, June

On Thursday, there were 1,912 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 189.7 cases per 100,000 people.

Overcrowded trains, Monkeypox and COVID-19 regulations

Claudia Löffler, spokesperson for ADAC (Germany’s largest automobile association) has predicted that the highways between Berlin and the seaside will be overcrowded as Berliners seek to take advantage of the Pfingsten long weekend. She warned that the A2, A10, A11, A19 and A24 would be the worst affected. The train and transport union (EVG) expects similar conditions on the lines connecting Berlin to popular seaside destinations such as Rügen, Borkum, Fehmarn and Sylt. Martin Burkert, deputy chairman of the EVG has described this coming weekend as a “stress test” for the coming summer months of cheap train travel.

Meanwhile, there have been 18 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Berlin – and it is expected that more have gone undetected according to Health Senator, Ulrike Gote (Greens). The Robert Koch institute is reporting 33 cases nationwide. Furthermore, Berlin’s senate have decided the current COVID-19 regulations will remain unchanged at least until the end of June.

Overcrowding may be the norm this summer. Photo IMAGO / Sabine Gudath

Wednesday 1, June

On Wednesday, there were 1,742 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 179.6 cases per 100,000 people.

The 9€ ticket comes into effect!

As of today, the 9€ ticket is valid Germany-wide. The BVG reports that over 500.000 Berliners have purchased the ticket, but that number is dwarfed by the 9 million purchased across the country. But while most seem happy with the cheap, green alternative this summer, others predict chaos on the rail network. One of those is “railway expert” and Economics professor at the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin, Christian Böttger, who has described the 9€ ticket as “nonsense” and predicts that the network will not have the capacity to keep up with the increased demand and passengers will become stranded due to packed trains.

Berlin has been the driest place in Germany this spring. Photo: IMAGO / Sabine Gudath

Tuesday 31, May

On Tuesday, there were 1900 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 189.2 cases per 100,000 people.

Dry city, wet apartments

Berlin was the driest area in Germany from March to May according to data released by the German weather service. Too little rain, mild temperatures and more sunshine than usual have been the trends this spring, with Berlin receiving only 55 litres of rain per square metre, down from a long-term average of 132 litres. The average temperature was 9.9 °C, above the long-term average of 8.7 °C and sunshine hours were up from 507 to 680 over the season.

Quite the opposite could be said of one Leipziger Straße apartment building that was evacuated late on Sunday after a pipe burst, flooding the complex. Authorities have declared that the 20-storey building will remain unliveable for at least another two weeks.

To celebrate the season, some towns appoint their own “asparagus queen”. Photo: IMAGO / Future Image

Monday 30, May

On Monday, there were 0 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 199.1 cases per 100,000 people.

A bad year for Brandenburg asparagus

Each year, Brandenburg celebrates Spargelzeit, the time for harvesting their beloved white asparagus. During this time, you’ll find asparagus everywhere: on pizza, in soups and, most commonly, served with potatoes and hollandaise sauce. In Beelitz, a famous spot for growing the crop, asparagus statues line the roads and a festival is held each year to honour the precious spears. This year, however, has been tough for asparagus farmers, according to Jürgen Jakobs, chairman of the Beelitz asparagus association. Many factors, including the war in Ukraine, have led to decreased demand, and he believes there could be a 20 percent reduction in the local asparagus haul this season. The final crop of the year is usually cut on St John’s Day on June 25.

Berlin wait an average of eight weeks before their first psychotherapy session. Photo: IMAGO / Panthermedia

Friday 27, May

On Friday, there were 25 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 202.2 cases per 100,000 people.

How long does it take to get therapy in Berlin?

Two surveys reach very different conclusions. According a study conducted by Germany’s health insurers, long waiting times for a session in psychotherapy are the exception, with only 16.4 percent of people waiting eight weeks or more. According a rival study by the Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists, however, 40 percent of people wait more than three months, and another 20 percent wait more than six. So who’s right? A third study conducted by rbb|24 investigated the situation and found that it was indeed dire – although Berlin was comparatively better than most of Germany.

The median wait in Berlin appears to be about eight weeks before someone can expect their first session with a psychotherapist, although the availability is very different based on district. When rbb|24 tried to account for the discrepancy in the two studies, they noticed that the health insurers had only included in their study people who eventually got a session – meaning anyone still waiting at the conclusion of the study was excluded. The rbb|24 study also found that many therapists in Berlin had simply given up keeping waiting lists, since they were consistently so overwhelmed.

A protestor with a star of david attends a protest against antisemitism. Photo: IMAGO / IPON

Wednesday 25, May

On Wednesday, there were 2,182 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 250.8 cases per 100,000 people.

Number of antisemitic incidents rising in Berlin

On Tuesday, the Department for Research and Information on Antisemitism Berlin (RIAS) revealed the number of antisemitic incidents reported in Berlin in 2021. The latest figures show a significant increase, even if a direct comparison with previous years is difficult due to the police no longer providing data to civil society organisations. The data recorded 22 attacks, 28 threats, 43 incidents of damage to property and 895 cases of injurious behaviour. Alarmingly, there were even two cases of “extreme violence”, that is, physical attacks which could result in serious injury or death. More than half of the recorded cases took place online or by e-mail, and 181 incidents were directly related to the protests that accompanied the conflict between Israel and Palestine in spring 2021.

The Israel-Palestine conflict has been a controversial topic in Berlin in recent weeks. First, Berlin police banned pro-Palestinian protests in the lead up to demonstrations on May 1, and then again forbade several protests around Nakba Day on May 15, arresting several activists who tried to commemorate the expulsion of Palestinians from Israel in 1948.

The €9 ticket is valid throughout Germany. IMAGO / Achille Abboud

Tuesday 24, May

On Tuesday, there were 2,184 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 250.2 cases per 100,000 people.

More than 130,000 people have already bought the €9 ticket.

Deutsche Bahn and the BVG confirmed it will run extra services in response to the record number of Berliners planning to make use of the €9 ticket. More staff will also be deployed to ensure a smooth delivery of service. The €9 ticket went on sale last Friday, and S-Bahn Berlin alone has sold more than 13,400 tickets.

The majority of the extra trains will be weekend, regional services and, over the next three months both the S1 and S7 will run every 10 minutes during the evenings. Deutsche Bahn made no guarantee that passengers would have room for their bikes.

The regional train between Potsdam and Berlin, which hasn’t been in in use since 1945 is also set to be resurrected, but Berlin’s Senator for Transport Bettina Jarasch (Greens) and Brandenburg’s Minister of Transport Guido Beermann (CDU) warned that the track would not be available for the S-Bahn.

Three cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in Berlin. Photo: IMAGO / Science Photo Library

Monday 23, May 

On Monday, there were 118 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 261.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Three cases of monkeypox detected in Berlin; €9 tickets now on sale

The Robert Koch institute confirmed on Friday the first cases of monkeypox in Berlin. But, according to Health Senator Ulrike Gote (Greens), fears of another pandemic are unfounded as the virus is not sufficiently infectious. Reportedly, the first patient contracted the virus at a club over a week ago, while the second case involved a patient who had attended Christopher Street Day in Gran Canaria of the Canary Islands two weeks previously. There is believed to be no relationship between the cases. Symptoms of monkeypox include small smallpox-like ulcers appearing on the skin, as well as fever, headache and painful limbs.

In other news, starting today Berliners can buy the €9 ticket for public transport, covering a month’s travel. Available in the BVG app or from ticket machines, each pass will become valid from June 1 and last for the entire month.

Batten down the hatches! Wild weather expected in Berlin later today. Photo:IMAGO / Rene Traut

Friday 20, May

On Friday, there were 1,637 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 282.0 cases per 100,000 people.

Storms, hail – and maybe tornadoes – are headed for Berlin

Berlin is set to be hit by violent storms tonight, warns the German Weather Service. Heavy thunderstorms and gale-force winds of between 90 and 130 km/h are likely, as well as up to 60 litres of rainfall per square meter. There is also the chance of hailstones up to 5cm in diameter (5cm is considered the size at which hail is likely to do significant damage to property, cars, roofs and windows). If this didn’t sound worrying enough, there is also the chance of tornadoes occurring in Berlin and Brandenburg. The turbulent weather is likely to hit at around 4pm and last into the night, calming down abruptly on Saturday evening.

The BVG has a new sound identity. Photo: IMAGO / Frank Sorge

Thursday 19, May

On Thursday, there were 1,977 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 304.8 cases per 100,000 people.

Bing bong or bong bing? The BVG introduces new unified sound identity

Until now, the sound which precedes an announcement on Berlin’s public transport network has been made up from a patchwork of different noises. Where the U-Bahn has one sound, buses have another, and the tram a third. This is set to change, with the BVG announcing on Wednesday that the mishmash of bongs, bings and bloops will be replaced with a new modern and coherent sound concept. Timo Kerßenfischer from the BVG said that no one knows exactly why this patchwork emerged, but commented that, “Just as all vehicles are yellow, the BVG should have the same sound everywhere.” However, finding their new sound concept was no easy task. Apparently, they recorded countless different voices and noises before settling on the new sound, which was developed digitally with a bass clarinet. Interested passengers can already head to the BVG website to listen to the new sound, or even download it as a ringtone.

The district office of Berlin’s Interior Senator was vandalised in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Photo: IMAGO / snapshot

Wednesday 18, May

On Wednesday, there were 2,238 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 321.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Berlin Interior Senator’s office vandalised with words “no Kotti watch”

At about 2.30am on Tuesday morning, a police officer discovered that the office of Berlin’s Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD) had been vandalised. A window was damaged and a large slogan had been written on the wall of the building reading: “Keine Kotti-Wache” or “No Kotti watch”. This refers to the controversial proposal to build a new police station at Kottbusser Tor in Kreuzberg, which has for years had high rates of drug crime. According to a police spokesperson, no one broke into the office. Late yesterday morning, Iris Spranger responded to the incident on Twitter, writing “My employees and I would like to thank you for your solidarity! We won’t be intimidated!”

RAW-Gelände. Photo: IMAGO / Votos-Roland Owsnitzki

Tuesday 17, May

On Tuesday, there were 2,686 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 346.8 cases per 100,000 people.

Will plans for a new tower at RAW-Gelände spell the end for Urban Spree?

Tonight at Astra Kulturhaus, the final plans for the new RAW Gelände tower will be presented to the public — and not everyone is happy. The new high-rise is being developed by the Kurth Group, who have promised to maintain the ‘DNA’ of the cultural space. However their plans would lead to the disappearance of many cultural institutions on the site, including Suicide Circus, Urban Spree and the Astra Kulturhaus itself. This is not the first controversial development in the area: the building will sit opposite the heavily opposed “Amazon tower“. This evening’s event, which starts at 6pm, is organised by the developers and is aimed at informing the public of their plan, though some protests are expected.

A wolf pack has been spotted just 30km outside Berlin. Photo: IMAGO / Olaf Wagner

Monday 16, May

On Monday, there were 16 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 375.0 cases per 100,000 people.

The wolf pack living 30 kilometres from Alexanderplatz is larger than assumed

Back in October 2021, Berliners learned that a pack of wolves had been spotted living across the Havel, on Döberitzer Heide, just 30 kilometres from Alexanderplatz in the centre of the city. Now, it has been confirmed that the wolf pack contains at least eight members – and there would have been still more but for some deadly encounters between wolves and motorists. At least two young wolves were run over in recent months. The Döberitzer Heide is a former military training area which has for 20 years been a designated nature reserve, home to bison and Przewalski’s horses as well as wolves.

Volker Wissing doesn’t want to see your brunch. Photo: IMAGO / aal.photo

Friday 13, May

On Friday, there were 2,470 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 356.7 cases per 100,000 people.

Germany’s minister for Digital Affairs doesn’t want to see pictures of your food

Volker Wissing (FDP) is Germany’s minister for Digital Affairs – a job which should probably involve avoiding making yourself an object of ridicule on the internet. But in a meeting in Düsseldorf on Wednesday, Wissing caused a minor shitstorm when he warned against people posting photographs of food on social media. “If you look at the number of photos of food worldwide,” he said, “you come to an enormous consumption of energy. When we do things like this, do we remember that it has significant consequences?” What Wissing should have kept in mind, however, is that the internet is a giant, searchable archive and, surely enough, he was guilty of sharing pictures of himself eating food. Cakes, waffles, pizza, sashimi, sourdough bread, cappuccinos… you name it, he’s publicly distributed photos of it.

Maria Alyokhina wearing the distinctive coloured balaclava of Pussy Riot. Photo: IMAGO / Agencia EFE

Thursday 12, May

On Thursday, there were 2,899 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 347.9 cases per 100,000 people.

After band member escapes Russia, Pussy Riot to perform tonight at Funkhaus

The musician and activist Maria Alyokhina has spent the last year and a half either in prison camps or under house arrest in Russia, being strictly monitored 24 hours a day. Tonight, however, she will perform with her punk-rock group Pussy Riot at Funkhaus Berlin, the former DDR broadcasting centre built in the 1950s. Earlier this year, Russian authorities announced that Alyokhina would be returned to a penal colony, which prompted her to attempt her escape dressed as a food delivery driver to avoid detection. As she had no passport, she was forced to make a circuitous route out of the country, travelling through Belarus, Lithuania and Iceland, before finally arriving in Berlin. Proceeds from tonight’s concert will go towards refugee support organisations.

Berlin wants all potential teachers to volunteer information of their tattoos. Photo: IMAGO / IPON

Wednesday 11, May

On Wednesday, there were 3,802 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 338.1 cases per 100,000 people.

Berlin teachers will be asked to disclose information about their tattoos voluntarily

The original plan was to force all prospective teachers in Berlin to provide a detailed description of exactly what tattoos they had, where they were on their bodies, and even to provide their employers with photographs of the symbols in question. This, however, has been deemed too invasive, and teachers will simply be asked to volunteer the information. The intention behind the measure is to ensure that no teachers will be appointed in Berlin who have chosen to decorate their bodies with a Nazi symbol, or any other offensive image which might violate the constitution. The specifics of the proposal are still being ironed out, with Education Senator Astrid Sabine-Busse (SPD) admitting that the initial plan was “too extensive.”

Could Berlin eventually become car-free? Photo: IMAGO / Cathrin Bach

Tuesday 10, May

On Tuesday, there were 2,797 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 350.0 cases per 100,000 people.

Senate believes referendum on car-free Berlin would violate constitution

The Berlin Senate must be getting sick of referendums. While the city continues to drag its feet on the implementation of the “Deutsche Wohnen & Co Enteignen” referendum, which demanded that the city expropriate the property of major landlords, now comes another planned referendum which the Senate believes may violate the constitution and therefore be inadmissible to put forward for a vote. This time the call is for a car-free Berlin. The alliance “Volksentschied Berlin autofrei” (referendum car-free Berlin) proposes to prohibit all private car traffic within the area of the S-Bahn ring. However, Environment Senator Bettina Jarasch (Greens) thinks that this plan would be not only unconstitutional, but that the proposal would also be unhelpful, shifting traffic problems to the outskirts of the city rather than eliminating them.

Police remove a Ukrainian flag at a protest at the Soviet Memorial in Tiergarten on Sunday, May 8. Tensions are high as Berlin marks 77 years since Soviet forces liberated Berlin from Nazi control. Photo: IMAGO / Bernd Elmenthaler

Monday 09, May

On Monday, there were 93 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 337.9 cases per 100,000 people.

Berlin bans Russian and Ukrainian flags at the city’s Soviet memorials

As Berlin marks 77 years since the end of World War Two, tensions remain high at the city’s Soviet memorials. On Friday, police announced a temporary ban on Russian flags and the ‘Z’ symbol that has come to symbolise Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at 15 sites across the city on May 8 and May 9. The Berlin police want to ensure “that there is no public endorsement of the war of aggression on Ukraine” at pro-Russian events “even outside these memorial sites”, according to the Senate. To the consternation of Ukrainian officials and Berlin politicians, a ban on the display of the Ukrainian flag has also been enforced, with the Senate announcing the aim was to enable “dignified, peaceful commemoration”. The Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, called the decision a “disgrace”. Yesterday, a 25-metre-long Ukrainian flag was removed by police at a commemorative event at the Soviet memorial in Tiergarten.

Noah was the most popular name for a boy in Berlin last year. Photo: IMAGO / serienlicht

Friday 06, May

On Friday, there were 2,187 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 369.3 cases per 100,000 people.

Berlin’s most popular baby names revealed

Each year, Berlin announces which names were given to children born in the previous year – with some surprising results. From 2020 to 2021, Noah, Leon and Emil remained the top three names given to Berlin boys – but Oskar climbed six places, going from the twelfth most popular name for boys in 2020 to sixth in 2021. Among girls, the biggest loser was the name Hannah: eighth most popular in 2020, it fell 10 places to number 18 on the rankings in 2021. Berlin’s most popular girl’s name last year was Emilia, up from third place in 2020.

The list also contains some more unusual choices. Among the children who will find it easier to know when their parents call their names on the playground are: Phillipp-Brain, Libero, Christ, Hertha and Fanta, all of which were only given once.

Here are the top 10 most popular baby names in Berlin:

Boys:

  • Noah
  • Leon
  • Emil
  • Elias
  • Adam
  • Oskar
  • Paul
  • Anton
  • Liam
  • Leo

Girls:

  • Emilia
  • Mia
  • Charlotte
  • Mila
  • Emma
  • Ella
  • Lea
  • Lina
  • Anna
  • Sophia
The Soviet Memorial in Treptower Park in Berlin. Photo: IMAGO / Emmanuele Contini

Thursday 5, May

On Thursday, there were 2,674 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 415.8 cases per 100,000 people.

Berlin fears “Victory Day” celebrations could become flashpoint for conflict over Ukraine

Every year on May 8 and 9, to coincide with the day the treaty of unconditional surrender was signed in Europe, commemorations are held in Berlin to honour the soldiers who defeated Nazi Germany in World War II. This year, however, due to the Russian war on Ukraine, there are widespread fears that the celebrations could become a flashpoint for tensions. Berlin’s Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD) has confirmed that 28 events are scheduled for May 8, with 17 planned the following day. Among the Russian community, May 9 is known as Victory Day and a major public holiday, remembering the 27 million Soviets, both Russian and Ukrainian, who were killed during the war. Accordingly, a number of Russian initiatives are behind the celebrations this year, which are mostly being held in Treptower Park. Berlin has banned any show of support for the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, such as the display of the letter “Z”, and there will also be a protest against it with 500 demonstrators set to attend.

Will bikes be banned from Friedrichstraße? Photo: IMAGO / Manngold

Wednesday 4, May

On Wednesday, there were 4,087 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 457.8 cases per 100,000 people.

Friedrichstraße to become Italian-style piazza?

Since September 2020, Berlin’s Friedrichstraße has been car free, with stalls and extra seating outside and a bicycle lane running through the centre of the road. But now, plans have been announced to take this experiment one step further and ban bicycles, too. Berlin’s environment and transport senator Bettina Jarasch (Greens) has said that she would like to model the street on an Italian-style ‘piazza’ or town square, a place where people meet and walk freely. The car-free experiment has already run for a year and a half, and a Senate report evaluating its success suggested that while more pedestrians have been strolling along the street, they limit themselves to the pavements. The proposed development would make the whole street freely traversable for people on foot.

Grocery shopping in Berlin is getting more expensive. Photo: IMAGO / Xinhua

Tuesday 3, May

On Tuesday, there were 2,938 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 458.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Food prices up 7.9 percent in Berlin, German-Russian museum to take new name

The price of everyday goods in Berlin has risen 7.9 percent since one year ago, with food and energy particularly affected. The major causes for the rise in prices are the war in Ukraine and the corona lockdown of Shanghai in China, both of which have disrupted supply chains and caused delivery bottlenecks. Cooking oil and flour are among the worst affected goods, more than doubling in price, while beef, pork, eggs, butter, cucumbers and tomatoes have also increased in price by more than 10 percent. Restaurant prices have also increased as a result of this overall price inflation.

Meanwhile, the historic German-Russian Museum Berlin-Karlshorst will change its name due to the war in Ukraine. The museum marks the spot where, on the night of May 8, 1945, Germany signed its unconditional surrender to the Soviet Union, France, Great Britain and the USA and the focus of its permanent exhibition is the German-Soviet war. The Ukrainian ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk has long been critical of the name, which he believes underplays the Ukrainian contribution to the Soviet war effort. The museum will now be known simply as the Museum Berlin-Karlshorst.

Demonstrators march through Kreuzberg on May 1. Photo: IMAGO / Future Image

Monday 2, May

On Monday, there were 36 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 503.2 cases per 100,000 people.

Most peaceful May 1 for decades, but Mayor Giffey hit with eggs

Berlin police reported that May 1 was one of the most peaceful demonstrations the city has seen in decades, with much less conflict than usual between protestors and police. The “Revolutionary May 1 demonstration” marched from Neukölln to Kreuzberg yesterday afternoon, but there were no major riots. Police report 14,000 people participated, while organisers say 20,000. At the rally of the German federation of Trade Unions, meanwhile, Berlin’s Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) was jeered and pelted with eggs as she addressed the crowd, who loudly complained at a lack of action following Berlin’s referendum to expropriate the properties of major housing companies.

A pro-Palestine rally in Berlin. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Friday 29, April

On Friday, there were 3,506 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 525.3 cases per 100,000 people.

Police ban all pro-Palestinian demonstrations until May 1

A pro-Palestinian protest planned for Friday in Kreuzberg has been banned by the Berlin police due to the purported risk of anti-Semitic incidents. “Based on experiences in the recent past”, there is an “imminent danger” of anti-Semitic statements, glorification of violence and acts of violence, the police announced on Thursday evening. According to the statement, the ban also applies to “any replacement event until May 1 2022 in Berlin”. A “protest demonstration against Israeli aggression in Jerusalem” was planned for Friday afternoon from Oranienplatz in Kreuzberg to Hermannplatz in Neukölln. Last Friday and Saturday, similar pro-Palestinian demonstrations saw stones and firecrackers thrown at police officers, with the police reporting anti-Semitic slogans.

Police at last year’s Revolutionary May Day protest in Berlin. Photo: IMAGO / Müller-Stauffenberg

Thursday 28, April

On Thursday, there were 4,478 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 521.7 cases per 100,000 people.

Neukölln to hold five street parties on May 1, activists claim dirty tricks

Since 1988, the Revolutionary May 1 demonstration has taken place in Berlin to mark International Workers’ Day. But this year, activists claim their planned route from Hertzbergplatz through Neukölln to Oranienplatz in Kreuzberg is being deliberately blocked by the Neukölln district office, who’ve arranged for five street festivals to take place, some along the exact same route as the planned march. Migrantifa, the organisation behind the protests, accuse the Neukölln mayor Martin Hikel (SPD) of trying to curtail the basic right of assembly by deliberately moving events to May 1 which should have been held beforehand, such as an “Iftar” fast-breaking ceremony, held by the muslim community in the month of Ramadan. The Neukölln district office has denied advance knowledge of the protest route, while the police union has warned Berliners to expect violence, though not on the levels that occurred in the late 1980s.

German public transport is meant to cost €9 monthly from June 1. Photo: IMAGO / Frank Sorge

Wednesday 27, April

On Wednesday, there were 4,036 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 500.0 cases per 100,000 people.

The 9 ticket for public transport: Is it falling apart?

Berliners were pleased (and the UK was envious) when we heard that a €9 monthly ticket for public transport would be introduced in Germany for a 90-day period in order to offset rising energy costs – but the plans are now in doubt due to squabbling between the federal and state governments over who exactly will foot the bill. A provisional start date of June 1 had been announced for the scheme, seeming to ensure that public transport would cost just €9 per month for all of June, July and August across Germany (though not on long-distance trains). However, anticipating high demand for the offer, state governments now want guarantees that the federal government is prepared to pay for the entire costs as of June 1 – and these guarantees have not been forthcoming. A delay for the scheme would be embarrassing for Germany’s ruling coalition, especially as motorists will already benefit from a state subsidy.

The summer pool in Kreuzberg will reopen on May 1. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Tuesday 26, April

On Tuesday, there were 4,461 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 518.9 cases per 100,000 people.

Outdoor swimming in Berlin’s pools will be two degrees colder due to war in Ukraine

As warmer weather returns to the capital, Berliners will be able to enjoy outdoor swimming from this coming weekend as the outdoor and summer pools admit guests for the first time this year. But there’s a catch: the pools will be kept two degrees colder than normal, due the increased price of gas resulting from the war in Ukraine. Indoor pools will also decrease in temperature, though only by one degree. The only exception is the Mariendorf summer pool, which is entirely heated by solar energy. The upper time limits introduced during the pandemic will be scrapped and time windows will no be longer be enforced, though guests can still book tickets online. The pools opening this coming weekend are the summer pool in the Olympic stadium (Sommerbad Olympiastadion) and the combined pool Spandau Süd (Kombibad Spandau Süd) – both on April 30 – with Kreuzberg’s summer pool to open on May 1.

The autumn leaves and fruit of the ginkgo tree. Photo: IMAGO / Panthermedia

Monday 25, April

On Monday, there were 92 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 400.8 cases per 100,000 people.

The stinking trees of Berliner Straße

They are some of the oldest trees on earth, extremely resilient and, when in bloom, they’re considered very beautiful, so you’d think the residents of Berliner Straße in Tegel would be pleased with the 56 ginkgo trees planted there more than 30 years ago in an initiative to prettify this Berlin neighbourhood. Unfortunately, the trees stink. When the plum-like fruit ripens in autumn, it falls to the ground and creates an overwhelming odour, described as like vomit or rancid butter. Residents have been complaining about this for years, and it seems now that something might be done: the Reinickendorf district councillor Felix Schönebeck (CDU) has put in an application with the Committee for Green Spaces, Nature and Environment to have the fruit picked before it falls to the ground, which may prevent the stench from emerging.

April 21. Women protest against sexual violence in the Ukraine war and the import of Russian gas. Photo: IMAGO / Virginia Garfunkel

Friday, 22 April

On Friday, there were 3,274 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 343.9 cases per 100,000 people.

Women protest against sexual violence in the Ukraine war

Up to 170 women gathered in Berlin last night to protest against rape and sexual violence against women and children in the Ukraine war. Many who stood outside the Federal Ministry of Economics in Mitte were dressed in white and smeared with fake blood. Some wore bags over their heads, while others bandaged their hands and taped their mouths. “White symbolises innocence. Blood symbolises rape and crimes against humanity, which unfortunately happen every day in Ukraine,” explained Julia Singh from the Voices of Ukraine initiative. Her co-organiser added that Germany was financing the war and atrocities against civilians in eastern Ukraine by importing Russian gas and oil.

The Russian Embassy on Unter den Linden, Berlin. Photo: IMAGO / Jürgen Ritter

Thursday, 21 April

On Thursday, there were 4,551 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 350,5 cases per 100,000 people.

At least three Russian secret services active in Berlin, says Senate

According to German security authorities, agents from at least three Russian secret services are working in the Russian embassy in Berlin. This was apparently confirmed by the Senate’s internal administration in response to a question from the CDU. The Russian secret services are present in Germany “in varying numbers at the respective official or semi-official representations”, said the Senate – i.e. at the embassy and consulates. The three agencies named were the civilian foreign intelligence service (SWR), the military intelligence service (GRU) and the domestic intelligence service (FSB). The Senate did not provide any information on how many employees from the named agencies were working in Berlin.

Would a new rent tax help tackle Berlin’s affordable housing crisis? Photo: IMAGO / Dirk Sattler

Wednesday, 20 April

On Wednesday, there were 4,589 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 342.7 cases per 100,000 people.

Berlin considers new rent tax to tackle housing crisis

It’s been a year since Berlin’s rent cap was overturned by Germany’s highest court, leaving the city’s unscrupulous landlords free to exploit tenants in a difficult housing market. But now the Senate is considering a new measure to ease the crisis: a levy on particularly high rents. The push comes from Lars Rauchfuß and Mathias Schulz, two SPD politicians who cite a proposal of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) as inspiration.

The levy currently being considered by the Finanzverwaltung (tax authorities) would be imposed on all net cold rents above 110 percent of the standard local comparative rent. These would then be taxed at 10 to 30 percent, a move that would only affect private landlords charging very high rents – cooperatives and ordinary landlords would not be affected. The Senate is now examining the idea, with State Secretary of Finance Barbro Dreher announcing an “overall assessment” of whether such a levy is appropriate.

Passenger numbers at BER were the highest they’ve been since the airport opened in 2020. Photo: IMAGO / Jochen Eckel

Tuesday, 19 April

On Tuesday, there were 106 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 357.6 cases per 100,000 people.

BER airport sees over 70,000 passengers a day for the first time

For the first time since it opened in autumn 2020, over 70,000 passengers passed through Berlin’s BER airport in a single day over the Easter long weekend. According to an airport spokeswoman, 73,000 holidaymakers either departed or arrived on Good Friday. “That’s about two thirds of the passenger numbers counted on a peak day in the pre-corona year at the then Tegel and Schönefeld airports. So far, things have been running normally,” she said. The airport, originally scheduled to open in 2011, was beset by operational issues and delays before finally opening during the pandemic to greatly reduced demand.

Fuel prices have been rising since the war in Ukraine. Photo: IMAGO / Christian Ender

Thursday 14, April 

On Thursday, there were 4,589 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 601.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Fuel thefts rising in Berlin, Tesla documents getting redacted

High fuel prices of around two euros per litre at Berlin petrol stations has meant that the number of fuel thefts have jumped significantly in the first months of 2022, from about 300 cases this time last year to 737 incidents in March 2022. Fuel thieves have even reportedly been working “to order”, filling up empty canisters through the window of their vehicles before driving off without paying. Due to the use of fake licence plates and unreliable surveillance cameras, perpetrators are rarely caught.

High fuel prices would not directly affect drivers of Tesla vehicles, and on April 26 the approval documents for the new Giga factory in Grünheide are going to be made public. These papers will provide information on safety conditions and compliance with water regulations. In the meantime, officials are busy redacting company secrets from the more than 22,000 pages.

Will Berlin carry through proposals to expropriate property from real-estate companies? Photo: IMAGO / IPON

Wednesday 13, April

On Wednesday, there were 5,144 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 606.2 cases per 100,000 people.

Commission on expropriation of major landlords in Berlin to include activists

On the September 26 last year, the “Deutsche Wohnen & Co Enteignen” referendum on whether to expropriate the properties of major private landlords in order to combat rising rents was passed in Berlin, with 57.6 percent of voters in favour of taking properties away from 12 large real-estate companies. However, Berlin’s ruling government, stung by the German Federal Court’s overturning of the rent cap in 2021, has dragged its feet on implementation. They referred the proposal to an expert commission, which many saw as an attempt to bury the scheme in bureaucracy. Now, campaigners for expropriation have agreed to send three activists to join the commission. The Senate had already appointed 10 people, and the total number will now be 13. The first meeting is set for April 29.

After June 1, a monthly ticket on public transport will cost just €9. Photo: IMAGO / Sabine Gudath

Tuesday 12, April

On Tuesday, there were 4,545 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 659.0 cases per 100,000 people.

€9 monthly tickets to be introduced across Germany on June 1

As part of their strategy to offset rising energy costs, Germany’s ruling traffic-light coalition made the decision to introduce cheap tickets for public transport. The scheme will last for 90 days, cost passengers just €9 per month and, it has now been revealed, will likely take effect by June 1. Talks had been ongoing about exactly how to implement the scheme. People who’ve already bought a subscription will receive a partial refund, as will students. The decision to roll out the offer nationally was made to ensure those who travel between states were not unfairly impacted.

Saharan dust turns the sky yellow over Tempelhofer Feld. Photo: IMAGO / Jürgen Held

Monday 11, April

On Monday, there were 99 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 696.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Spring arrives in Berlin, Saharan dust and 22 degrees on Wednesday

After a cold snap, Berlin will finally be greeted with some warmer weather this week, with temperatures expected to climb to 22 degrees by Wednesday. On Tuesday, unusual red-yellow skies, caused by dust drifting northwards from the Sahara Desert in conjunction with low atmospheric pressure, may also appear. The phenomenon is expected to peak on Wednesday. On Thursday, rain is expected, which can result in the red dust collecting in raindrops and marking the ground. This is sometimes called “blood rain” and has been considered a bad omen throughout history, even being written about in Homer’s Iliad.

A kneeling solider at the Soviet War Memorial in Treptower park. Photo: IMAGO / Jürgen Ritter

Friday 08, April

On Friday, there were 4,974 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 752.3 cases per 100,000 people.

Soviet memorial in Treptower park vandalised with anti-Russian graffiti

The gigantic monument in Treptower park commemorates the millions of Soviet soldiers who fought and died to defeat the Nazis in the Second World War. However, over the years, it has come to be seen not as a memorial to the Soviet victory, but as a Russian monument. On Thursday night at 12.40am, it was vandalised. Unknown individuals wrote slogans like “Death to all Russians”, “Putin = Stalin” and “Ukrainian blood on Russian hands”. Around 5000 soldiers from the Red Army are buried at the site, which has sarcophagi for each of the 16 Soviet republics, including Ukraine. As part of a deal made in the early 1990s, Germany pays for the maintenance of the site, but they are obliged to consult Russia before making any changes to the monument. 

Smith was working for the British embassy when he was arrested in August last year. Photo: IMAGO / agefotostock

Thursday 7, April

On Thursday, there were 5,754 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 767,3 cases per 100,000 people.

Suspected British spy working for Russia extradited from Berlin to the UK

Between October 2020 and August 2021, British national David Ballantyne Smith is suspected of having gathered information from his job at the British embassy in Berlin and sent it to Russia. He was extradited back to the UK on Wednesday. First arrested on August 10 last year on suspicion of spying, he was charged with nine offences under the Official Secrets Act 1911. He will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court today. Scotland Yard said the charges follow the “collection and communication of information useful to the Russian state.”

Karl Lauterbach made a quick U-turn this week. Photo: IMAGO / Chris Emil Janßen

Wednesday 6, April

On Wednesday, there were 7,273 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 811.1 cases per 100,000 people.

Lauterbach admits mistake, isolation for the infected should *not* be voluntary

According to Berlin government plans, isolation for those infected with coronavirus would have become purely voluntary by May 1, with no obligation to stay indoors during recovery. Now, Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has admitted that this recommendation was a mistake. He would like the state to continue to enforce an isolation period for those infected in order to protect others. The decision is expected to become official policy on Wednesday. This is a hasty U-turn from the health minister, who had only announced the recommendation of voluntary isolation on Monday. On Twitter, Lauterbach commented “Corona is not a cold. Therefore isolation following infection must continue.”

Brown coal mining in Brandenburg. Photo: IMAGO / agefotostock

Tuesday 5, April

On Tuesday, there were 5,216 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 814.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Will war in Ukraine allow Brandenburg politicians to extend use of ‘brown coal’?

Monday saw the presentation of the third part of the World Climate Report, conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which criticised the dependence of many countries on fossil fuels. As it made clear, time is running out to limit global warming to the agreed target of just 1.5 percent above pre-industrial levels: this would mean global emissions would need to peak by 2025, and reach net zero by 2050. However, in Brandenburg, the ruling ‘Kenya-coalition’ of Greens, SPD and CDU cannot agree over when to discontinue their use of lignite, or brown coal, a highly polluting fossil fuel formed from naturally compressed peat. The Brandenburg SPD agree that phasing out coal by 2030 would be desirable, but believe the war in Ukraine may have changed the situation. The Greens want to stick to a coal exit by 2030, while the CDU have their own later date of 2038, and they are pessimistic even of achieving that.

Food prices are climbing in Berlin and Brandenburg. Photo: IMAGO / Sven Simon

Monday 4, April

On Monday, there were 251 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 867.6 cases per 100,000 people.

Food prices soar in Berlin and Brandenburg

It’s not just petrol prices that are rocketing: food prices have also risen sharply as a result of the war in Ukraine. According to the Berlin-Brandenburg State Office for Statistics, the cost of sunflower oil has gone up 48 percent in Berlin, while flour, pasta and butter now cost 20 percent more than they did in March 2021. With both Ukraine and Russia major suppliers of grain and sunflower oil, it’s feared that shortages could soon compound the crisis for those struggling financially. Poverty commissioner of the Protestant church in Neukölln, Thomas de Vachroi, called on the federal government to urgently reduce VAT on basic foodstuffs: “We are now experiencing the effects quite extremely. People are really fearful because they can no longer afford the food.”

From April 1, shopping at supermarkets in Berlin will no longer require a mask. Photo: IMAGO / Rolf Poss

Friday 01, April

On Friday, there were 6,557 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 915.8 cases per 100,000 people.

April fools & “freedom day” arrives in Berlin

After our April fools joke earlier, the real news of the day is that Berlin will today end many of its longstanding coronavirus restrictions, with the city set to enjoy greater freedoms from today than at any time since before the pandemic. The main change affects shopping: customers may now enter supermarkets unmasked, and the 3G requirement has been dropped at swimming pools. For a more comprehensive update, check here

Berlin is developing an emergency gas plan. Photo: IMAGO / penofoto

Thursday 31, March

On Thursday, there were 7,612 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 953.9 cases per 100,000 people.

Emergency gas plan in Berlin and Brandenburg, Russia to accept euros for gas again

On Wednesday, Economy Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) initiated the first of three phases of an emergency gas plan and called for a general reduction of gas use where possible. The Potsdam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK) supports the decision. The decision must now be made on who should cut down on gas usage, with so called ‘protected customers’, such as hospitals and private households, being favoured. Private customers are therefore unlikely to be directly affected by the ban. Instead, the burden may fall on steel and food industries: IG Metall Brandenburg has warned of a serious impact on supply chains. Meanwhile, Putin has agreed to keep payments for gas in euros, while Habeck remains sceptical.

Brandenburg is experiencing worrying numbers of forest fires. Photo: IMAGO / A. Friedrichs

Wednesday 30, March

On Wednesday, there were 7,005 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1,005.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Lichtenberg bans barbecues, forest fires in Brandenburg

As of this Friday, Berlin will withdraw the special grilling permits for three parks in Lichtenberg. Until now, Berliners could enjoy open-air barbecues in Fennpfuhlpark, Stadtpark Lichtenberg and Rudolf-Seiffert-Park, but due to persistent complaints about noise and dirt, these permissions have been withdrawn. It appears this ban will be permanent, unlike last summer when some parks prevented grilling due to the fire risk caused by dry weather. In fact, Brandenburg has already seen 23 forest fires this year, an unusually high number. For context, there were only four forest fires by the end of March in 2021.

Berlin’s A100 is still under construction in Neukölln. Photo: IMAGO / Schöning

Tuesday 29, March

On Tuesday, there were 7,329 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1076.5 cases per 100,000 people

Controversial A100 motorway to be extended to Prenzlauer Berg

The Berlin Greens and DIE LINKE are both against the extension, and so are parts of the SPD, but Germany’s federal government has nevertheless approved plans to extend the A100 across the Spree to Prenzlauer Berg. This controversial extension forms the 17th construction phase of the project, with the 16th phase – to connect Neukölln to Treptower Park – still ongoing. While the Berlin government is against the plans, the decision is made on a federal level. On hearing that the extension had been approved, Berlin’s Senator for Transport, Bettina Jarasch, complained that the plans were outdated. “We don’t need a new motorway in the city, we need a mobility revolution.”

The Z symbol has come to symbolise support for Russia’s invasion. Photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Monday 28, March 

On Monday, there were 252 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1123.0 cases per 100,000 people.

Refugee accommodation service criticised, Berlin Senator wants to prohibit the letter “Z”

Since the start of the refugee crisis which followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the website www.unterkunft-ukraine.de/ has been providing a platform for Berliners to produce accommodation to refugees who’ve arrived in the German capital. However, in an open letter, several aid organisation have criticised the service for contributing to unnecessary delays by refusing to release their data to third parties. According to letter which was signed by organisations like “Berlin Hilft” and “Freiwillige Helfen”, more than 365,000 sleeping places registered in the database, but they are not being matched with those in need quickly enough. In response, Unterkunft-Ukraine wrote that they were in fact sharing data with their partners and promised to try to act faster, adding that they were prioritising security over speed. 

Meanwhile, Berlin’s Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD) has said the city will ban the use of the Z symbol which has come to represent support for the invasion. The offence would be punishable with imprisonment of up to three years, or a fine, under section 140 of the criminal code. 

A monthly ticket for the BVG will soon cost just nine euros. Photo: IMAGO / Sabine Gudath

Friday 25, March

On Friday, there were 8,106 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1,087.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Nine-euro monthly BVG tickets and Fridays for Future strike

Yesterday morning, Germany’s ruling traffic-light coalition announced a package of measures to mitigate the impact of rising energy costs. These included a 300 euro flat rate allowance to everyone subject to income tax, as well as a nine-euro ticket monthly ticket for local transportation. It is up to the states to decide how to implement this. Berlin’s senator for the Environment and Mobility Bettina Jarasch (Greens) admitted that she was surprised by the move and was unable to give an exact date for the roll out. 

Meanwhile, Fridays for Future have organised a global climate strike today, with 10,000 Berliners registered to attend. Starting at 12 noon near Invalidenpark, the demonstration will proceed through Mitte and towards the Brandenburg Gate. 

The remains of 50 to 60 soviet soldiers are found in Brandenburg every two years. Photo: IMAGO / Ray van Zeschau

Thursday 24, March

On Thursday, there were 9,018 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1061.1 cases per 100,000 people

One month after the invasion, the unexpected consequences of the war in Ukraine

Thousands of refugees continue to arrive in Berlin each day, with the city putting on a large-scale effort to welcome them – but this is not the only effect of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine now being felt in the city. Recent days have seen some less obvious consequences. There is an economic effect: according to a survey from the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, eight out of ten companies in Brandenburg are feeling the impact of war, either directly from sanctions and counter-sanctions, or through the consequences of a disrupted supply chain. There is also the well-documented panic buying of cooking oil. But the war even has consequences for the dead. The remains of approximately 50 to 60 previously undiscovered Soviet soldiers are unearthed in Brandenburg every two years and reburied in official graves. The Brandenburg state parliament has now announced that following the war in Ukraine, Russian officials will no longer be invited to these funerals, as has been customary since World War II.

Moritzplatz U-Bahn station is used an improvised shelter for rough sleeping. Photo: IMAGO / PEMAX

Wednesday 23, March

On Wednesday, there were 11,525 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1,067.1 cases per 100,000 people

BVG to introduce classical music at U-Bahn stations: but is this an ‘anti-homeless’ measure?

The scheme is set to start immediately. At specifically chosen U-Bahn stations, classical music will be played through the loud speakers. The BVG were keen to present their plans in purely benevolent terms. “We want to find out whether subtle music can help make waiting for the train even more pleasant,” a spokesperson said. However, the stations selected, and the intention behind previous trials of similar schemes, might suggest another motive. The pilot stations will be Südstern (U7), Moritzplatz (U8), plus Strausbergerplatz and Unter den Linden (both U5) – some of which are renowned for problems with rough sleeping and drug abuse. Trials in other cities like London, Barcelona, Hamburg and Munich have used music as an audio version of “anti-homeless architecture”, something which most passengers wouldn’t notice, but which can make it uncomfortable for people to stay in one place for a long time. This was the stated intent of a similar BVG scheme in 2007, as well as an aborted experiment with atonal music at Hermannstraße S-Bahn station in 2018.

The Giga Factory at Grünheide. Photo: IMAGO / Christian Thiel

Tuesday 22, March

On Tuesday, there were 6,968 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 997.1 cases per 100,000 people

Elon Musk arrives in Berlin to open Tesla’s Giga Factory in Grünheide

US billionaire Elon Musk arrived in Berlin yesterday to open the long-awaited Giga factory in Grünheide. A special event will take place today, attended by prominent politicians like Robert Habeck (Greens), Prime Minister of Brandenburg Dietmar Woidke (SPD), and even Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). Musk is expected to personally deliver the first 30 Tesla vehicles made in Europe. The opening of the factory has proved controversial, however, due to the fact the plant is being constructed in a protected drinking water zone, plus many activists skepticism at Musk’s long record of broken promises. Enthusiasts and politicians meanwhile point to the potential for other companies to follow Tesla’s lead, with companies like Canada’s Black Rock planning to set up Europe’s largest lithium plant in Brandenburg from 2024. 

The arrival centre for refugees from Ukraine opened on Sunday. Photo: IMAGO / Jens Schicke

Monday 21, March

On Monday, there were 198 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1071.9 cases per 100,000 people.

Tegel opens as arrival centre for refugees, food banks & empty shelves

On Sunday, the former Tegel airport began operation as an arrival centre for refugees from Ukraine. Buses will now regularly shuttle people from Berlin Hauptbahnhof to the facility, which has been converted to shelter, care for, register and redistribute the incoming refugees. Only about five percent of people stay in Berlin, with the rest continuing their journey onward to other Germany cities, or further abroad. Berlin receives about 10,000 refugees each day, and the effect is being felt at food banks, which have seen an increase in demand. Empty shelves have also been seen in supermarkets, with supply chains being disrupted due to the war and people hoarding goods in response to anxiety over rising prices.

Ukrainian refugees wait to apply for social benefits in Berlin. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Friday 18, March

On Friday, there were 7,953 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1144.9 cases per 100,000 people.

Ukrainian refugees wait for hours at overwhelmed social welfare offices in Berlin

War refugees from Ukraine queued for hours outside the district office (bezirksamt) in Neukölln yesterday, as many of Berlin’s social welfare offices struggled with the number of people seeking to get registered for accommodation and financial support. Last Friday, the city government agreed that refugees would be processed by the office responsible for the district in which they are housed. This was intended to spread the case load more evenly, but it has nevertheless put a lot of stress on the offices, with Neukölln having to suspend normal work to process all the claims. 28,000 people have been registered with Berlin’s social welfare offices so far. Mayor Giffey (SPD) pointed out that one difference from the situation in 2015 is that here the refugees have already been granted a right of residence and a right to work. “We have to focus fully on integration,” she said. 

The Russian Orthodox Church in Charlottenburg. Photo: IMAGO / Jürgen Ritter

Thursday 17, March

On Thursday, there were 8,962 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1117.2 cases per 100,000 people

“Freedom day” postponed, bottles thrown at Russian Orthodox Church in Charlottenburg

At a federal level, most Covid measures are set to end this Sunday, March 20, but Berlin has decided to extend the regulations until the end of the month. After April 1, access to restaurants and cafes will be possible without proof of a negative test or vaccination, and the mask mandate will be dropped in shops, remaining only for long-distance train travel and in hospitals or nursing homes.Meanwhile, yesterday, a Russian Orthodox Church in Charlottenburg had its windows smashed in what police suspect was a politically motivated attack – despite the fact that the church was in fact housing Ukrainian refugees. This follows on from a similar incident last week in Marzahn when a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a Russian school.

Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey talks with volunteers and refugees. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Wednesday 16, March

On Wednesday, there were 8,834 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1,102.4 cases per 100,000 people

Berlin asks for Federal support to deal with largest movement of refugees since WWII

Right now, an average of 10,000 refugees arrive in Berlin every day. The Russian invasion has seen 3 million Ukrainians flee their country so far, in what has been described as the biggest movement of refugees since the World War II. Berlin is currently accommodating 1,000 people each night in state facilities, the same number as the all the other federal states combined. Mayor Giffey (SPD) has asked for an increase in federal support, as well as issuing a call for administrative volunteers, asking for state officials, police, members of the fire brigade and other similarly qualified Berliners to help with the administration at Berlin Tegel, which is becoming a 24-hour arrival centre, providing care to the incoming refugees.

Masked football fans at a recent Herta Berlin game. Photo: IMAGO / camera4+

Tuesday 15, March

On Tuesday, there were 9,372 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 871.8 cases per 100,000 people

The Senate to extend Covid measures beyond March 20, despite Berlin’s low incidence rate

After Hamburg, Berlin currently has the lowest seven-day incidence rate of all Germany’s federal states. Nevertheless, the Senate plans to extend some restrictions beyond the set end date of March 20, and will decide upon the exact course of action in a special session this Saturday. As things stand, all measures are to be dropped on March 20, with only basic protections remaining, such as a mask requirement for staff in nursing homes and passengers on long-distance trains. If the Senate intends to impose greater limitations than these, Berlin would have to be declared a “Covid hotspot” – something it would not currently qualify for.

Photo: IMAGO / Reiner Zensen

Monday 14, March

On Monday, there were 268 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 765.6 cases per 100,000 people.

Thousands protest war in Ukraine & sunflower oil shortage

Sunday evening saw thousands of Berliners return to the streets to protest the war in Ukraine, marching from Alexanderplatz to the Victory Column on Straße des 17. Juni. A police spokesperson said that between 20,000 and 30,000 took part in the event which was organised by a coalition of trade unions, churches and peace activists. Meanwhile, as a result of the war, there’s been a scramble to buy sunflower oil in Berlin, with many shops either out of stock, or limiting the amount customers can buy at once. The cause for the shortage is rising prices, caused by failing harvests, supply bottlenecks and the fact that the Ukrainian crude oil used to process the sunflower oil is not being delivered, with supply routes blocked and workers sent to fight.

Donated clothes at Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Photo: IMAGO / A. Friedrichs

Friday 11, March

On Friday, there were 7,635 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 727.5 cases per 100,000 people.

Berliners offering to host refugees should no longer go directly to Berlin Hauptbahnhof

Following Russia’s invasion, thousands of refugees have arrived in Berlin fleeing the war in Ukraine, mostly arriving at Berlin Hauptbahnhof where volunteers are ready to process them, distributing donations of food, clothing and other necessary items. What they need above all else, however, is accommodation, and until now many Berliners were showing up to Berlin’s central train station each evening holding up cardboard signs, offering to host. Now, however, organisers have said that this should not happen in person, but online, recommending the platform https://www.unterkunft-ukraine.de/. At least 18,000 war refugees have settled in Berlin since the start of the crisis, with about half staying in private accommodation. Many more arrive each day. 

Refugees from Ukraine at Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Thursday 10, March 

On Thursday, there were 6,946 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 692.3 cases per 100,000 people

Berlin Tegel to accommodate Ukrainian refugees from this weekend, five other sites planned

After a special session yesterday evening the Berlin Senate announced its plans to deal with the thousands of incoming refugees from Ukraine arriving in the city each day. Starting this weekend, the former Berlin Tegel airport will begin to house refugees in in its former terminals A and B. In addition to this, five other state owned sites will be established throughout the city at Salvador-Allende-Straße (Köpenick), Kurt-Schumacher-Damm (Tegel), Zossener Straße (Kreuzberg), Rheinpfalzallee (Karlshorst) and Rennbahnstraße (Weißensee). Security for the incoming war refugees will also be increased, announced Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey, following reports of human traffickers and dubious offers of accommodation at the main point of arrival Berlin Hauptbahnhof.

Reports of racism in the Berlin police are on the increase. Photo: Future Image

Wednesday 09, March

On Wednesday, there were 625 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 687.7 cases per 100,000 people

More than 60 Berlin police investigated for “political” offences; Hauptbahnhof at “limit”

A spokeswoman has revealed that 64 Berlin police officers are currently under investigation for “offences with a political motivation”. Last year, the number of disciplinary proceedings due to suspected right-wing or racist statements was 47, which suggests this is an increasing problem. Berlin’s police force finds itself in the spotlight this week after a book was published by an officer who claims that everyday racism is widespread and commonly accepted. Meanwhile, Berlin Hauptbahnhof continues to receive thousands of newly arriving refugees from the war in Ukraine, and the helpers are reportedly “at their limit”. Berlin’s Social Senator Katja Kipping (DIE LINKE) has requested more help from the Federal government to deal with the situation.

Volunteers distribute aid to refugees from Ukraine as they arrive at Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof station. Photo: IMAGO / Jürgen Held

Monday 7, March

On Monday, there were 301 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 883.7 cases per 100,000 people.

Berlin mayor Giffey asks for federal help to support distribution of refugees

On Saturday alone more than 11,000 refugees arrived in Berlin, with Sunday seeing the first buses leave the city to take some of those who’ve fled the war in Ukraine to other German cities. Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) asked for support from the other federal states, saying “we can’t do it alone” and asking that not all of the special trains transporting refugees terminate in Berlin. According to the Senate Department for Integration, Labour and Social Affairs, the bus offer is expressly voluntary, with refugees being granted free tickets when they have a fixed onward destination. A large arrival tent is now also being set up at Hauptbahnhof to welcome and care for the anticipated arrivals.

A sign at Berlin Hauptbahnhof for arriving Ukrainian refugees. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Friday 4, March

On Friday, there were 7,005 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 901.9 cases per 100,000 people.

Corona measures relaxed from today; Berlin welcomes 6,000 refugees from Ukraine

Berlin eases its coronavirus restrictions today, meaning clubs can now open providing they adhere to 2G+ rules. Cinemas and theatres, meanwhile, are once again open to the unvaccinated: the 3G rule means that you can gain admittance if you are vaccinated, recovered, or have a negative test. For a more comprehensive breakdown of the rules, head here. Meanwhile, Ukrainian refugees continue to arrive at Berlin Hauptbahnhof station. More than 6,000 have come to the city, so far, two thirds of whom were able to stay with family or friends. Berlin Senator Katja Kipping (DIE LINKE) is planning to erect a tent on Washingtonplatz which would provide a resting place for new arrivals, with seating and sanitary facilities. Teams of volunteers are organising relief efforts at Berlin Hauptbahnhof, distributing food, water, clothes and other essential items.

A refugee from Ukraine consults a train driver about his papers. Photo: IMAGO / Jochen Eckel

Thursday 3, March

On Thursday, there were 7,125 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 925.5 cases per 100,000 people

More than 1,000 refugees arriving in Berlin each day, exceeding the peak from 2015

Since the start of the week the number of refugees arriving in Berlin has quadrupled, with more than 1,000 arriving each day. This means that just one week since Russia’s invasion, Berlin has exceeded the daily high from 2015. The Berlin Senator for Social Affairs Katja Kipping (DIE LINKE) has spoken of an “extremely dynamic situation” and said that the city would rent a “large-scale structure” to house those fleeing the violence, which is believed to be part of the former Tegel Airport. There have already been reports of buses and trains being stopped at the eastern border of Germany and refugees’ papers inspected. Meanwhile, more than 10,000 Berliners have registered on the unterkunft-ukraine.de platform, offering to take in Ukrainian refugees.

Refugees from Ukraine arrive at Berlin Central Station on March 1 aboard a train from the Polish town of Przemysl on the Polish-Ukrainian border. Photo: IMAGO / Jochen Eckel

Wednesday 2, March

On Wednesday, there were 5,784 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 966.4 cases per 100,000 people

Trains arrive in Berlin bringing 1,300 refugees from the war in Ukraine

On Tuesday evening, three trains arrived in Berlin carrying approximately 1,300 refugees from the war in Ukraine, which began when Russia invaded the country last Thursday. The first two trains arrived at Berlin Hauptbahnhof station between 6pm and 7pm with approximately 1,000 refugees on board. A third train arrived around 11pm with a further 300, some of whom spent the night at the train station. An arrival centre has been established at Berlin-Reinickendorf, where refugees are registered and tested for coronavirus before being sent to their accommodation, where they can receive first aid, hygiene articles and three meals a day. The Senate has also made public transport free of charge for refugees fleeing Ukraine.

The vaccination centre at Tegel airport now offers Novavax. Photo: IMAGO / Joko

Tuesday 1, March

On Tuesday, there were 6,389 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1043.0 cases per 100,000 people

Novavax arrives in Berlin, Ukrainian refugees to be offered vaccinations “as quickly as possible”

Berlin’s vaccination rate remains around 75 percent, but the Senate Department for Health hopes to increase that number by offering the Novavax, which has been available to all in the capital since Monday. For a long time, some vaccine sceptics have maintained that they have concerns about the relatively new mRNA technology used to create some jabs (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna). Novavax does not use mRNA and it is hoped that this will convince some holdouts to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey has said Berlin should expect around 20,000 refugees from Ukraine. Health Senator Ulrike Gote (Greens) has said the city should aim to vaccinate newly arriving refugees as quickly as possible, as the vaccination rate in Ukraine is just 35 percent.

Berliners protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Photo: IMAGO / David Weyand

Monday 28, February

On Monday, there were 270 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1106.7 cases per 100,000 people.

More than 100,000 protest Russia’s invasion, first refugees arrive in Berlin

On Sunday, more than 100,000 people took to the streets to protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The crowd stretched from the Victory Column in Tiergarten down to the Brandenburg Gate and beyond. Meanwhile, the Berlin State Office for Refugee Affairs reports that the city has welcomed 400 refugees from the conflict since Russia’s invasion last Thursday. Also on Sunday, Deutsche Bahn announced that anyone with a Ukrainian passport will be able to travel free of charge from Poland to Berlin, and videos posted on social media showed queues that stretched for blocks at collection centres for victims of the conflict.

Berliners protest against Russia’s invasion near the Brandenburg gate. Photo: IMAGO / Mike Schmidt

Friday 25, February

On Friday, there were 9,396 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1137.3 cases per 100,000 people.

Berlin prepares for the arrival for between 5,000 and 70,000 refugees from Ukraine

Katja Kipping (Die Linke), Berlin’s Senator for Social Affairs, has said that the city is already searching for the new accommodation, health care supplies, food, daycare and social services that might be needed should refugees begin to arrive in the city from Ukraine, following Russia’s invasion. “We might need [these things] already tomorrow, and certainly by next week,” the politician said. Migration researchers have claimed that between 5,000 and 70,000 refugees could be expected, with the large variance in these numbers due to high degree of uncertainty about coming events. Kiev is about two hours by plane and a day’s journey by bus from Berlin.

Brandenburg Gate in the colours of the Ukrainian flag. Photo: IMAGO / Mike Schmidt

Thursday 24, February 

On Thursday, there were 7,395 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1077.4 cases per 100,000 people

Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey discusses impact of Russian invasion of Ukraine

Last night, in a message of solidarity, the Brandenburg Gate was illuminated in the yellow and blue colours of the Ukrainian flag. This morning, Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey spoke about the consequences of Russian actions for the German capital, mentioning the potential arrival of refugees should the situation continue to deteriorate. Yesterday afternoon, the city government failed to agree a resolution on the matter: the governing red-red-green coalition sought to support the federal government’s decision not to send weaponry to Ukraine, while the CDU rejected this stance. A new resolution is expected shortly.

Protesters gather outside the Russian Embassy in Berlin-Mitte. Photo: IMAGO / Mike Schmidt

Wednesday 23, February

On Wednesday, there were 9,836 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1,079.6 cases per 100,000 people

600 protest outside the Russian Embassy

More than 600 people gathered outside the Russian Embassy on Tuesday evening to protest against Putin’s actions in eastern Ukraine. Chanting “Stop Putin, stop war”, the crowd – larger than the 150 participants organisers had initially expected – called for greater sanctions and a tougher stance from Europe. Among the demonstrators were SPD leader Saskia Esken and Berlin Senator for Culture Klaus Lederer (Die Linke), with Lederer later Tweeting that it felt good to protest with so many “against the violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, against aggression and escalation.” 

The first batch of Novavax is due to arrive in Berlin this week. Photo: IMAGO / MiS

Tuesday 22, February

On Tuesday, there were 8,244 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1,079 cases per 100,000 people

Berlin awaits first batch of Novavax vaccine

The first shipment of the new ‘Novavax’ jab is due to arrive in Berlin this week following its approval by Germany’s vaccine advisory panel. Novavax is synthesised using a more traditional protein-based technique than the messenger RNA (mRNA) shots from BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna, and the vector-based jabs from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, and it is hoped the new shot can address lingering vaccine hesitancy. The Senate Health Administration expects a delivery of 63,000 Novavax shots later this week, with rollout to previously unvaccinated healthcare workers from next week. 

A fallen tree on Skalitzer Straße in Kreuzberg. Photo: IMAGO / Jürgen Held

Monday 21, February

On Monday, there were 232 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1,105.9 cases per 100,000 people

Berlin surveys damage as third storm ‘Antonia’ rolls in

After ‘Ylenia’ and ‘Zeynep’, storm ‘Antonia’ arrived in Berlin on Monday morning bringing more strong winds. So far, the Berlin fire brigade reports no major damage from the latest storm, with gale-force gusts forecast until this evening. The hurricane-force winds of ‘Ylenia’ and ‘Zeynep’ led to around 4,000 weather-related incidents for the fire services – an all-time high. Trees and branches were felled across the city, with roofs damaged and train services disrupted. Clearing work is likely to continue until Wednesday on some regional routes, warns Deutsche Bahn. Berliners are advised to avoid walking in wooded areas due to the risk of falling branches.

There are storm clouds on the horizon for Berlin. Photo: IMAGO / Dirk Sattler

Friday 18, February

On Friday, there were 6.686 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 977.1 cases per 100,000 people

The storm before the storm: Zeynep will be even stronger than Ylenia

After Berlin was battered by storm Ylenia yesterday, even stronger winds are expected to arrive today, arriving in the region this afternoon. Storm Zeynep is blowing in from the North Sea. Berlin should expect to see winds of 60 to 75 kilometres per hour by the afternoon, with more extreme hurricane-like conditions following in the evening: speeds of up to 120 kilometres per hour are deemed likely. Deutsche Bahn expects delays and cancellations. Storm Ylenia was strong enough for the fire brigade to declare a state of emergency in Berlin; the coming storm is expected to be worse.

Storm Ylenia has hit northern Germany. Photo: IMAGO / localpic

Thursday 17, February 

On Thursday, there were 8,230 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1034.4 cases per 100,000 people

Storm “Ylenia” hits Berlin with hurricane-force winds

Around 2am this morning, Berlin’s fire brigade began receiving a significant number of severe weather-related calls, mostly involving fallen trees and tiles stripped from roofs. Between 2.30am and 4.30am, a state of emergency was declared. Even now, the Deutsche Bahn has cancelled long-distance trains in several states, including Berlin and Brandenburg, with regional trains and S-Bahn services also seeing delays and cancellations. The winds are still fierce out there, but the effect on U-Bahn, tram and bus services has been smaller than expected.

Olaf Scholz will decide today on a plan to phase out Covid-19 restrictions. Photo: IMAGO / Jens Schicke

Wednesday 16, February 

On Wednesday, there were 11,531 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1118.0 cases per 100,000 people

Chancellor Olaf Scholz to decide today on Covid-19 restrictions phase-out

Yesterday, it was announced that 2G rules would end in retail, museums and at the zoo, and today the Federal government will meet to decide upon a three-phase plan to bring an end to all major restrictions. The draft plan runs as follows: Immediately, 2G will be lifted in retail (as Berlin had already decided), meaning the unvaccinated can go shopping again. On March 4, restaurants, bars and hotels will become 3G, and clubs can reopen under 2G or 2G+ conditions. And finally on March 20, all major limitations will end, including the work from home mandate.

ffp2 masks berlin
The unvaccinated may be readmitted to retail, museums and zoos if they wear an FFP2 mask. Photo: IMAGO / Seeliger

Tuesday 15, February

On Tuesday, there were 5,630 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1135.2 cases per 100,000 people

Berlin to decide today on introducing FFP2 instead of 2G

Unvaccinated Berliners will soon be able to go shopping in retail stores and visit the zoo or the museum, so long as they wear an FFP2 mask, should a decision by the Berlin Senate go through today. Restaurants, however, won’t be included in this loosening of regulations. Whether libraries will also be included is still undecided, with some arguing that since reading rooms are generally occupied for longer periods of time, a stricter mandate should remain in effect. Cases in the city have begun to fall for the first time this winter, and the Federal Government has announced a plan to drop “all far-reaching protective measures” from March 20.

PCR tests are being reserved for high-risk patients. Photo: IMAGO / Jochen Eckel

Monday 14, February 

On Monday, there were 216 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1275.4 cases per 100,000 people

New PCR test rules, Covid-19 numbers fall in Berlin, rise in Brandenburg

From Saturday, February 19, a PCR test will only be available to Berliners who have received a positive Schnelltest result from a test centre. The high number of cases in Berlin mean that PCR tests are being reserved for high-risk patients, or people in nursing homes and emergency services. Despite this, the last week has seen a fall in Covid infections in Berlin, and some regulations are now being relaxed. Also starting this coming Saturday, up to 4,000 people will again be allowed in an indoor space, although the 2G+ rules and an FFP2 mask requirement will continue to apply.

Some of Berlin’s vaccination centres may close earlier than anticipated. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Friday 11, February 

On Friday, there were 10,164 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1413.8 cases per 100,000 people

As demand decreases, will Berlin close vaccination centres? 

The three biggest vaccination centres in Berlin are not even half full, leading the Berlin Senate to consider shutting down some of the state-run facilities. The large centres at Tegel and the ICC, as well as the Ring-Centre on Frankfurter Alle and in Lichtenberg will likely be retained, but those at the Ikea in Tempelhof, Marzahn Leisure Center and at Spandauer Arcaden would close. This would mean a reduction of overall capacity from 17,000, to a mere 3,600. As we head to summer, it is unclear if another vaccination drive will be necessary. Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey had previously said the centres would remain till the end of the year. A final decision is expected to be reacher by the end of next week.   

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46 of 200 schnelltests were proven to lack the required sensitivity. Photo: IMAGO / photothek

Thursday 10, February 

On Thursday, there were 11,467 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1496.7 cases per 100,000 people

Do the Schnelltests really work?

Since last Saturday, Berlin regulations have meant that a PCR test is not required to confirm Covid-19 infection. A rapid antigen, or schnelltest, is enough. But, as many have realised, these schnelltests are not always as reliable as they might appear. This can been confirmed the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, a testing laboratory which found that 46 of every 200 lacked the required sensitivity to detect the virus, with seven scoring 0 percent, meaning they were entirely useless. Certain brands were proven to be more effective than others. There is feature in the web app www.schnelltesttest.de which allows you to scan a products barcode and receive information about its likely effectiveness.  

Berliners on low incomes are finding themselves forced further from the city centre. Photo: IMAGO / Jürgen Ritter

Wednesday 9, February 

On Wednesday, there were 12,302 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1564.9 cases per 100,000 people

Berlin’s poor are pushed to the city outskirts 

Data on the number of Hartz IV recipients in Berlin has revealed a significant exodus of the city’s poor away from the centre and to the districts on the city limits, according to data collected by rbb24. From 2007 to 2020, the number of Hartz IV claimants (the lowest level of social welfare) has decreased by 14,283, 13,624 and 7,254 in Mitte, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Neukölln respectively, with equivalent increases in the districts of Reinickendorf, Spandau and Marzahn-Hellersdorf. Attempts to address spiralling rents in Berlin such as the rent cap and the successful Deutsche Wohnen & Co enteignen referendum have either been struck down by Germany’s federal courts, or handed over to a special committee in a process many see as a stalling tactic by the city government.

BVG ticket inspectors will now wear blue jackets. Photo: IMAGO / Jürgen Ritter

Tuesday 8, February

On Tuesday, there were 9,578 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1640.4 cases per 100,000 people

Everyone likes the BVG ticket inspectors’ new blue uniforms 

For years, Berlin’s BVG ticket inspectors were renowned for their impolite, aggressive and sometimes violent behaviour and, in civilian clothes, they could be hard to spot. However, since November 1 of last year, they have been required to wear blue uniforms which read “Im Auftrag der BVG” or “On behalf of the BVG” on the back, making them more recognisable to passengers. This development seems to have gone down well, with both the company and the passenger association welcoming the change. The BVG has even played down the move, with a spokesman stating “it’s not like we reinvented the wheel”. However, when you read the many reports of misconduct by ticket inspectors, including violent, racist abuse, it’s clear that change was needed.

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Police gather outside Rigaer Straße 94 in June 2021. Photo: IMAGO / Future Image

Monday 7, February 

On Monday, there were 743 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1719.3 cases per 100,000 people

Case against left-wing “Kadterschmiede” Kneipe on Rigaerstraße goes to court today

Last October, the eviction of the famous Köpi-Platz in Mitte removed one of the city’s key left-wing autonomous communities. Now another is under threat, with the case of the Kadterschmiede pub at Rigaer Straße 94 to go to court on Monday. The building complex comprises about 30 apartments, as well as the famous Kneipe. In the past, attempts to put pressure on the complex have been met with violent resistance. In June 2021, violence broke out when barricades were erected and set on fire to counter police action. There are currently more than a dozen eviction lawsuits pending against the residents of “Rigaer 94”.

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Photo: IMAGO / Hoch Zwei Stock/Angerer

Friday 4, February

On Friday, there were 13,317 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1803.2 cases per 100,000 people

One physical injury, two to three thefts and various drug-related offences occur everyday at Kottbusser Tor

In response to a question from a member of the Greens, the Berlin Senate has revealed the number of crimes which occurred last year at Kottbusser Tor. From May to December of 2021, police recorded between 30 and 50 acts of violence took place at “Kotti” each month, with 40 to 100 thefts and 40 to 90 drug-related offences taking place within the same time frame. It has recently been proposed by the new Senator for the Interior Iris Spranger (SPD) that a permanent police station be established at Kottbusser Tor, supplemented by video surveillance.

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Berlin is winding down its child vaccination programme. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Thursday 3, February 

On Thursday, there were 17,566 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1790.2 cases per 100,000 people

Child vaccination programme ends, “Test-to-stay” rule at Kitas, potential relaxation of 2G

As Berlin continues to tweak its vaccination rules in the face of Omicron, there are a few new developments to be aware of. First of all, the vaccination programme which was introduced in December is going to wind down, due to high organisational requirements and low demand. Then, after ending mandatory quarantine for kids who’ve been in contact with an infected person, Berlin’s Kitas are introducing a “test-to-stay” rule. If you’ve got no symptoms and you’re testing negative, you’re welcome in. Finally, there has been some discussion of the relaxation of 2G rules in retail, with interior minister Michael Stübgen (CDU) advocating for greater freedom for business, while Health Minister Ursula Nonnenmacher (Greens) is more cautious.

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Photo: IMAGO / photothek

Wednesday 2, February

On Wednesday, there were 12,669 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1693.9 cases per 100,000 people

Dangerous diplomatic driving

Diplomats in Berlin have a tough time. Last year, it was reported that staff at the US embassy in Berlin were suffering from the mysterious Havana syndrome – an unexplained phenomenon causing headaches, blurred visions and a ringing in the ears. Given those spooky symptoms, who can blame them if they also have trouble driving? Berlin police have revealed that almost 10,000 traffic violations were reported in the city last year involving diplomatic vehicles. Thanks to diplomatic immunity, the fines for these violations are not imposed – but if they were the total sum would amount to around 200,000 euros. The most common infractions were illegal parking and speeding, and the country which broke the law the most was Saudi Arabia, followed by Greece, the United States, then Iraq and Russia.

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The Deutsche Wohnen & Co Enteignen campaign passed with 59 percent of the vote. Photo: IMAGO / IPON

Tuesday 1, February 

On Tuesday, there were 12,220 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1791.2 cases per 100,000 people

Berlin’s building senator rejects demands of “Deutsche Wohnen & Co. Enteignen”

When 59 percent of Berlin voted in favour of the expropriation of large housing companies, it was a clear signal to Berlin’s politicians that the housing situation in the capital needed change. However, Berlin’s building senator Andreas Geisel (SPD) is against the result, believing the referendum “does not provide the adequate answer” and has rejected the demands of the expropriation initiative to fill the majority of seats on the expert commission which has been assembled to review the referendum’s demands. “This is not a majority decision,” Geisel said, going on to doubt whether the referendum could be implemented in accordance with Germany’s constitution. “After the rent cap,” he continued “we must not be heading for another defeat at the Constitutional Court.” The SPD and the Greens were both initially against the referendum, with DIE LINKE the only member of the Berlin ruling red-red-green coalition to have supported the demands from the outset.

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Franziska Giffey would consider allowing infected people work in an “emergency-emergency-emergency”.  Photo: IMAGO / Reiner Zensen

Monday 31, January

On Monday, there were 284 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1820.6 cases per 100,000 people

Berlin mayor Giffey would consider allowing infected people to work in an “emergency-emergency-emergency”

Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) has said that she might consider allowing Covid-infected people to cover staff shortages in critical infrastructure, provided they were free of symptoms – but only in the case of an “emergency-emergency-emergency”. At the moment, there is an average staff absence of about 15 percent in Berlin, and emergency plans are able to cover up to 30 percent. If absences rise above this threshold, however, the new plans might have to come into effect. In short, the Omicron numbers in Berlin constitute an emergency, maybe even an emergency-emergency, but not yet an emergency-emergency-emergency.

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The Tesla factory still has not produced any cars. Photo: IMAGO / Jochen Eckel

Friday 28, January

On Friday, there were 11,736 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1829.4 cases per 100,000 people

Tesla buys its own train track, politicians seeking to solve water shortages 

The car manufacturer Tesla has acquired a track from German Regional Railways to ensure a better connection to its plant in Grünheide. Production at the Giga-Factory was meant to start last year, but various approval hold-ups have delayed the process. One of the main concerns to have dogged the project is the shortage of water in East Brandenburg and the potential effect on Berlin’s water supply; Tesla’s Giga-Factory would consume the same amount of water as 40,000 residents. Now, however, local politician Gernot Schmidt (SPD) has proposed that the plant sources water from a neighbouring region via a long-distance pipeline.

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Police gather outside Rigaer Straße 94 in June 2021. Photo: IMAGO / Future Image

Monday 7, February 

On Monday, there were 743 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1719.3 cases per 100,000 people

Case against left-wing “Kadterschmiede” Kneipe on Rigaerstraße goes to court today

Last October, the eviction of the famous Köpi-Platz in Mitte removed one of the city’s key left-wing autonomous communities. Now another is under threat, with the case of the Kadterschmiede pub at Rigaer Straße 94 to go to court on Monday. The building complex comprises about 30 apartments, as well as the famous Kneipe. In the past, attempts to put pressure on the complex have been met with violent resistance. In June 2021, violence broke out when barricades were erected and set on fire to counter police action. There are currently more than a dozen eviction lawsuits pending against the residents of “Rigaer 94”.

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Photo: IMAGO / Hoch Zwei Stock/Angerer

Friday 4, February

On Friday, there were 13,317 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1803.2 cases per 100,000 people

One physical injury, two to three thefts and various drug-related offences occur everyday at Kottbusser Tor

In response to a question from a member of the Greens, the Berlin Senate has revealed the number of crimes which occurred last year at Kottbusser Tor. From May to December of 2021, police recorded between 30 and 50 acts of violence took place at “Kotti” each month, with 40 to 100 thefts and 40 to 90 drug-related offences taking place within the same time frame. It has recently been proposed by the new Senator for the Interior Iris Spranger (SPD) that a permanent police station be established at Kottbusser Tor, supplemented by video surveillance.

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Berlin is winding down its child vaccination programme. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Thursday 3, February 

On Thursday, there were 17,566 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1790.2 cases per 100,000 people

Child vaccination programme ends, “Test-to-stay” rule at Kitas, potential relaxation of 2G

As Berlin continues to tweak its vaccination rules in the face of Omicron, there are a few new developments to be aware of. First of all, the vaccination programme which was introduced in December is going to wind down, due to high organisational requirements and low demand. Then, after ending mandatory quarantine for kids who’ve been in contact with an infected person, Berlin’s Kitas are introducing a “test-to-stay” rule. If you’ve got no symptoms and you’re testing negative, you’re welcome in. Finally, there has been some discussion of the relaxation of 2G rules in retail, with interior minister Michael Stübgen (CDU) advocating for greater freedom for business, while Health Minister Ursula Nonnenmacher (Greens) is more cautious.

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Photo: IMAGO / photothek

Wednesday 2, February

On Wednesday, there were 12,669 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1693.9 cases per 100,000 people

Dangerous diplomatic driving

Diplomats in Berlin have a tough time. Last year, it was reported that staff at the US embassy in Berlin were suffering from the mysterious Havana syndrome – an unexplained phenomenon causing headaches, blurred visions and a ringing in the ears. Given those spooky symptoms, who can blame them if they also have trouble driving? Berlin police have revealed that almost 10,000 traffic violations were reported in the city last year involving diplomatic vehicles. Thanks to diplomatic immunity, the fines for these violations are not imposed – but if they were the total sum would amount to around 200,000 euros. The most common infractions were illegal parking and speeding, and the country which broke the law the most was Saudi Arabia, followed by Greece, the United States, then Iraq and Russia.

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The Deutsche Wohnen & Co Enteignen campaign passed with 59 percent of the vote. Photo: IMAGO / IPON

Tuesday 1, February 

On Tuesday, there were 12,220 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1791.2 cases per 100,000 people

Berlin’s building senator rejects demands of “Deutsche Wohnen & Co. Enteignen”

When 59 percent of Berlin voted in favour of the expropriation of large housing companies, it was a clear signal to Berlin’s politicians that the housing situation in the capital needed change. However, Berlin’s building senator Andreas Geisel (SPD) is against the result, believing the referendum “does not provide the adequate answer” and has rejected the demands of the expropriation initiative to fill the majority of seats on the expert commission which has been assembled to review the referendum’s demands. “This is not a majority decision,” Geisel said, going on to doubt whether the referendum could be implemented in accordance with Germany’s constitution. “After the rent cap,” he continued “we must not be heading for another defeat at the Constitutional Court.” The SPD and the Greens were both initially against the referendum, with DIE LINKE the only member of the Berlin ruling red-red-green coalition to have supported the demands from the outset.

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Franziska Giffey would consider allowing infected people work in an “emergency-emergency-emergency”.  Photo: IMAGO / Reiner Zensen

Monday 31, January

On Monday, there were 284 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1820.6 cases per 100,000 people

Berlin mayor Giffey would consider allowing infected people to work in an “emergency-emergency-emergency”

Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) has said that she might consider allowing Covid-infected people to cover staff shortages in critical infrastructure, provided they were free of symptoms – but only in the case of an “emergency-emergency-emergency”. At the moment, there is an average staff absence of about 15 percent in Berlin, and emergency plans are able to cover up to 30 percent. If absences rise above this threshold, however, the new plans might have to come into effect. In short, the Omicron numbers in Berlin constitute an emergency, maybe even an emergency-emergency, but not yet an emergency-emergency-emergency.

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The Tesla factory still has not produced any cars. Photo: IMAGO / Jochen Eckel

Friday 28, January

On Friday, there were 11,736 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1829.4 cases per 100,000 people

Tesla buys its own train track, politicians seeking to solve water shortages 

The car manufacturer Tesla has acquired a track from German Regional Railways to ensure a better connection to its plant in Grünheide. Production at the Giga-Factory was meant to start last year, but various approval hold-ups have delayed the process. One of the main concerns to have dogged the project is the shortage of water in East Brandenburg and the potential effect on Berlin’s water supply; Tesla’s Giga-Factory would consume the same amount of water as 40,000 residents. Now, however, local politician Gernot Schmidt (SPD) has proposed that the plant sources water from a neighbouring region via a long-distance pipeline.

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Which district of Berlin is worst affected by Omicron? Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Thursday 27, January

On Thursday, there were 14,730 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1863.1 cases per 100,000 people

As Omicron sweeps through Berlin, which Bezirk has it worst?

January has seen Berlin experience the highest number of cases of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, largely due to the highly infectious Omicron variant. As things stand, only two districts are currently registering a 7-day incidence number below 1000, and these are Steglitz-Zehlendorf, at the extreme west of the city, and Marzahn-Hellersdorf, in the east. So where does each Bezirk stand?

  • Mitte: 2891.0
  • Tempelhof-Schöneberg: 2828.6
  • Pankow: 2815.3
  • Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg: 2377.1
  • Neukölln: 2240.8
  • Spandau: 1940.5
  • Reinickendorf: 1483.9
  • Lichtenberg: 1285.3
  • Treptow-Köpenick: 1142.9
  • Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf: 1040.1
  • Marzahn-Hellersdorf: 720.6
  • Steglitz-Zehlendorf: 683.1

There was some suggestion that the incidence in Mitte was artificially high, with cases attributed to that district if that’s where the test was carried out, even if the testee lives in another district – but the number is actually slightly down from yesterday. Neukölln has also seen a decrease in cases in recent days. Whether this means we’re over the peak in the city, it is too soon to say.

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Climate activists from the the group ‘Aufstand der letzten Generation’  block access to the Autobahn in Berlin. Photo: Aufstand der letzten Generation

On Wednesday, there were 17,416 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1795.5 cases per 100,000 people

Climate activists block access to Berlin Autobahn 

On Wednesday morning, a group of climate change activists from the group Aufstand der letzten Generation or ‘Uprising of the last generation’ blocked access to the Autobahn in Berlin to protest against food waste and advocate for sustainable agriculture. Holding signs that read “Save Food, Save Lives” some members of the group even superglued their hands to the asphalt to prevent their removal. Starting at 8am, the entrance to the A103 motorway at Steglitz and the A114 in Pankow were affected, with cars considerably backed up. This follows similar protests on Monday at which 24 people were arrested.

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Until the end of February, parents can decide to keep their kids home from school. Photo: IMAGO / Ralph Lueger

Tuesday 25, January

On Tuesday, there were 13,211 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1593.4 cases per 100,000 people

Kids don’t need to go to school

Starting today, compulsory attendance in Berlin schools will be suspended, meaning parents can decide whether to send their children to school or not. This is a reaction to yesterday’s news that quarantine for schoolchildren following contact with an infected person was no longer recommended, and indicates a degree of conflict between the Education Senator Astrid-Sabine Busse and medical officers who recommended a lifting of quarantine for schoolchildren due to the very high numbers in the capital. Children who do attend school are recommended to get tested five times a week. The ruling is expected to last until the end of February.

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Could the spread of Omicron make quarantine useless? Photo: IMAGO / Jürgen Held

Monday 24, January

On Monday, there were 693 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1464.5 cases per 100,000 people

Omicron so widespread in Berlin that quarantine following contact “no longer makes epidemiological sense”

Berlin’s medical officers (Amtsärtze) have set new rules for quarantine in schools and daycare centres which indicate just how widespread the virus has become in Germany’s capital. Although the Berlin Senate’s official advice remains that close contacts of infected people should undertake a 10 day quarantine (which can end on day five with a negative test) a new letter signed by all of Berlin’s Amtsärtze may change this. The letter reads: “An untargeted general quarantine no longer makes epidemiological sense… a very high proportion of the population is [already] unknowingly exposed to the virus… in view of the current incidence (which is falsely low for many reasons)… an interruption of the infection chain would make at most a negligible difference.” This letter could change the legal status of anyone looking to take time off work to care for their child if they decide to undertake quarantine following the child’s contact with an infected person.

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In the early hours of Friday morning, a loud booming noise was heard across Berlin. Photo: IMAGO / Achille Abboud

Friday 21, January

On Friday, there were 10,679 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1258.3 cases per 100,000 people

What was that noise?

In the early hours of Friday, January 21, a mysterious loud thumping sound could be heard across the west of Berlin. The police received many emergency calls as Berlin residents from Charlottenburg to Schöneberg to Moabit all reported a loud metallic boom sounding approximately every 15 seconds. Many people took to twitter to share their recordings. According to the police, the noise came from an activated pressure release value in the combined heat and gas power plant in Berlin-Siemensstadt.

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3G rules and the mask mandate will be enforced more strictly in Berlin. Photo: IMAGO / Jan Huebner

Thursday 20, January

On Thursday, there were 11,449 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1154.1 cases per 100,000 people

Unvaccinated? No test? Wrong mask? Get off the bus

Since Saturday January 15, an FFP2 mask has been mandatory on public transport – in addition to the requirement that all passengers should comply with 3G regulations (vaccinated, recovered or tested). Until now, the rules have not been very strictly enforced, however this is set to change and more inspections will be carried out on public transport. Anyone found not to be in compliance – either with the mask mandate or unable to show proof of 3G status – will be ejected from the vehicle and may also be fined between 50 and 500 euro.

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PCR tests may soon become limited in Berlin. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Wednesday 19, January

On Wednesday, there were 10,732 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 1055.1 cases per 100,000 people

Berlin exceeds incidence of 1000, PCR tests may soon be available only to vulnerable groups

Today marks the first time Berlin as a whole has officially crossed the 1000 mark for its seven-day incidence per 100,000 people (meaning that around 1 in 100 people in Berlin have coronavirus at the time of writing), and the strain the Omicron wave is having on the city means that a proposal has been submitted to limit PCR tests only to those people who are displaying symptoms or have underlying conditions. The PCR test is considered the gold-standard of testing, but Berlin is struggling to keep up with demand, and the new proposal would mean that a positive rapid test – or schnelltest – would be sufficient to confirm infection.

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The Johnson & Johnson jab no longer affords full vaccinated status. Photo: IMAGO / Einsatz-Report24

Tuesday 18, January

On Tuesday, there were 7,559 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 962.7 cases per 100,000 people

Johnson & Johnson rule change means three million people in Germany now need another shot

Last summer, anyone could choose to get immunised with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which, unlike the others, offered full vaccination in just one shot. Since last Friday, however, the rules have changed, and anyone who got the J&J shot is no longer considered fully vaccinated and will need another jab in order to be fully protected. If people who took the Johnson & Johnson want to get “boosted”, two more shots will be required. According to the Robert Koch Institute, this is because studies have shown low vaccine effectiveness against the Delta variant, and that most vaccine breakthroughs have occurred with Johnson & Johnson.

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Mayor Giffey was against the rent cap and the expropriation campaign. Photo: IMAGO / Reiner Zensen

Monday 17, January

On Monday, there were 220 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 947.7 cases per 100,000 people

Build, build, build: Berlin government sets out plan for first 100 days

Newly installed Mayor Fransizka Giffey has set out her plan for the first 100 days of government following a two-day retreat in Nauen, Brandenburg. The ruling red-red-green coalition in Berlin has reportedly agreed on 40 measures to be implemented or initiated in the first 100 days, prominent among which is a determination to build affordable housing. Giffey, who was against the rent cap and the expropriation campaigns last year, sees the construction of new homes as an answer to Berlin’s housing problems. A target of 200,000 new apartments by 2030 has been set. Other key legislation is an increase in the minimum wage to €13 (from €12.50), digitalisation and the training of new teachers.

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Berlin is questioning its use of the Luca app due to privacy concerns. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Friday 14, January

On Friday, there were 7,238 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 949.8 cases per 100,000 people

Should Berlin stop using the Luca App?

Ulrike Gote (Greens), the Health Senator for Berlin, has recently indicated that the cooperation between the city and Culture4Life, the developers of the Luca app, may soon finish. The app has been used by many Berlin establishments to help venues register visitor contacts without paperwork, but it has recently come under some scrutiny due to alleged privacy concerns. “Although it is currently still under review, we share many critical arguments,” Gote said. Chief among the concerns is the central storage of data used by the Luca developers, which played a central role in a recent case in Mainz, when police used supposedly protected data from the app to investigate a fatal incident which occurred in a restaurant.

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The Charité hospital in Mitte. Photo: IMAGO / Andreas Gora

Thursday 13, January

On Thursday, there were 7,797 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 918.5 cases per 100,000 people

Two more Berlin districts exceed incidence rate of 1000; Charité researcher says fourth shot “not so important”

After Neukölln and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, the Berlin districts of Mitte and Reinickendorf have now also exceeded 1,000 Covid cases per 100,000 people as the city struggles with the Omicron variant, placing them among the worst affected districts in the country. However, a vaccine researcher from Charité hospital, Leif Erik Sander, has said on the RBB Abendschau that a fourth booster shot is not currently so important for Berliners, commenting that it was better to wait for a vaccine specifically adapted to the Omicron variant.

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Berlin’s ICC building has been repurposed into a temporary vaccination centre. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Wednesday 12, Berlin

On Wednesday, there were 8,862 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 856.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Neukölln and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg now in top 3 coronavirus hotspots in Germany

The much discussed Omicron wave of coronavirus infections is now being felt in Berlin, with two districts (Neukölln and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg) now exceeding 1000 cases per 100,000 people, making them the second and third worst-hit districts in the whole of Germany. The share of infections attributed to the Omicron variant is now at 66.2 percent, and new regulations mean that FFP2 masks are once again mandatory in retail and on public transport. Stay updated for key information like how and where to get a free PCR test, where in Berlin to get a booster without an appointment, and the latest 2G+ rules. Stay safe everyone.

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Around 592,000 fines were issues in Berlin in 2021. Photo: IMAGO / Emmanuele Contini

Tuesday 11, January 

On Tuesday, there were 5,276 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 737.2 cases per 100,000 people.

BVG releases figures: 592,000 people caught without a ticket last year

Berlin’s public transport organisation the BVG has released its latest statistics, revealing that 592,000 people were caught travelling without a valid ticket in 2021. These figures include the numbers for buses, trams, S-Bahn and U-Bahn services, and are the result of around 6.9 million ticket inspections. The number is about 40,000 higher than the same time last year. Another key stat we learned is the number of people who’ve been fined for riding without a mask: 11,700, with an additional 5,000 simply having been expelled from the train for the same offence.

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Soon, only people who’ve had a booster vaccination will be able to enter restaurants, cafes and pubs without a negative test. Photo: IMAGO / Seeliger

Monday 10, January 

On Monday, there were 1,057 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 694.1 cases per 100,000 people.

New federal corona regulations: more freedom if you’re boosted

New regulations were agreed on Friday which involve a tightening of the current coronavirus regulations. Soon, only people who’ve had a booster vaccination will be able to enter restaurants, cafes and pubs without a negative test taken that day. Another rule change concerns the length of quarantine: boosted people who’ve come into contact with a positive case will be allowed to skip quarantine altogether, while those infected with Covid (and their close contacts) must now only isolate for ten, rather than 14 days if they have no symptoms. After seven days, a negative test is enough to ensure release from quarantine.

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From February 1, 500 Afghani refugees will be housed in repurposed shipping containers on Tempelhofer Feld. Photo: IMAGO / Joko

Friday 7, January 

On Friday, there were 5,962 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 511.5 cases per 100,000 people.

Templehof container village to admit new refugees, 2G+ in restaurants

During the 2015 migrant crisis, Berlin housed refugees in the vast empty structure of Tempelhof airport, before constructing a temporary “village” outside the hangars from disused shipping containers. In mid-2019 this village was emptied, but will now come into use again. From February 1, 500 Afghani refugees will be given accommodation in these repurposed shipping containers on Tempelhofer Feld.

In other news, the Berlin Senate will today decide on new restrictions to tackle the latest wave of coronavirus infections, with Berlin’s Mayor Giffey reportedly in favour of implementing a 2G+ rule in restaurants.

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The methods of some rapid test centres in Berlin have been questioned. Photo: IMAGO / Emmanuele Contini

Thursday 6, January 

On Thursday, there were 5,443 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 416.9 cases per 100,000 people.

Corona cases climb in Berlin while rapid test stations send false negative results

The expected post-Christmas rise in cases of Covid-19 is now hitting Berlin, with more than 5000 daily cases reported. This mirrors the national trend. Germany’s health minister Karl Lauterbach warned against taking the Omicron variant lightly, saying that many people will get seriously ill and recommending booster shots. In Berlin, meanwhile, a number of rapid test centres have reportedly been sending out negative results to people who booked an appointment, even in cases where that appointment was not kept, leading to questions over the methods of some of the centres concerned.

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Since January 1, a new flexible type of ticket has been available to Berliners travelling on BVG or S-Bahn services. Photo: IMAGO / Future Image

Wednesday 5, January 

On Wednesday, there were 4,226 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 336.3 cases per 100,000 people.

Berlin introduces new “flexticket” in response to pandemic

Since January 1, a new type of ticket has been available to Berliners whose travel patterns have changed in the last year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The so-called “flexticket” is intended to provide greater freedom to Berliners, many of whom have worked increasingly from home over the last two years. At €44, the offer includes eight tickets, each valid for a whole 24 hours after validation. The entire batch of tickets must be used within 30 days of purchase. Travellers can buy their flextickets at BVG and S-Bahn customer centres or via the corresponding apps. 

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All dogs in Berlin must be registered by July 1st 2022. Photo: IMAGO / imagebroker

Tuesday 4, January 

On Tuesday, there were 3,196 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 286.7 cases per 100,000 people.

Test your kids, log your dogs

Children currently attending kindergartens in Berlin are required to be tested twice per week, but that might increase to three times by the end of the month, according to Berlin’s Senator for Education Astrid-Sabine Busse (SPD). Apparently, a number of child-friendly “lolly-tests” have been ordered, and will be made available by the fourth week of the year. Another new rule in the city concerns dog-owners, who will now be required to centrally register their animals before July 1. Before now, all dogs needed to get an identification chip, but there was no central register for animals. This will now change. Meanwhile, the Berlin Senate sits for the first time in the new year today and they are expected to discuss changes to quarantine rules and other Corona-related measures.

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Four Berlin clubs, including ://about blank, are offering Covid-19 vaccinations this week. Photo: IMAGO / Emmanuele Contini

Monday 3, January 

On Monday, there were 479 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 265.0 cases per 100,000 people.

Berlin clubs to offer vaccinations

Since December 8 dancing has been forbidden in Berlin clubs, but now a number of venues have united in a bid to combat the latest wave of the virus. Klunkerkranich, ://about blank, Mensch Meier and Sage Beach are all offering the BioNTech and Moderna vaccines between January 3-9, with appointments available to be booked online. There are resources available for about 4,500 people to receive a vaccination, whether it be their first, second or a booster shot. Overall, the case numbers in Berlin are down slightly since the end of last year, though there is some suggestion this may be due to a lack of testing over the holiday period.

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Covid numbers are down in Berlin, but are they simply on ice? Photo: IMAGO / Jürgen Held

Thursday 30, December

On Thursday, there were 1,939 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 256.2 cases per 100,000 people.

Corona numbers down, but for how long?

The number of cases of covid-19 infections has been declining in recent days in Berlin and one significant milestone has improved: the 3rd “traffic light” – the percentage of ICU beds currently filled with corona patients – has changed from red to yellow. However, some experts warn that we shouldn’t trust this numbers. Christmas may have led to some underreporting of cases, and the spread of Omicron cases worldwide mean that the start of 2022 may look much less encouraging. On Tuesday, new rules were introduced to tackle the spread of the Omicron variant – more on these here.

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Photo: IMAGO / Bernd Friedel

Tuesday 28, December

On Thursday, there were 2,457 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 263.1 cases per 100,000 people.

New restrictions against Omicron and a mild New Years Eve

First things first, new restrictions come into effect today in Berlin aimed at battling the spread of the extremely contagious Omicron variant of coronavirus, the most significant of which is a ban on more than 10 people gathering privately. These new set of measures will last until January 3rd, at the earliest. Another measure introduced today, however, is a ban on dancing outdoors. This might have seemed an unnecessary rule until reports emerged that temperatures this New Years Eve are likely to be unseasonably mild, with a range somewhere between 10 and 14 degrees expected in Berlin.

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New rules incoming after xmas in Berlin. Photo: IMAGO / Jochen Eckel

Wednesday 22, December

On Wednesday, there were 2,294 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 325.8 cases per 100,000 people.

Fifth wave incoming: new corona rules to come in after xmas

Just as we adapting to the fourth wave of coronavirus in Germany, officials now warn that we should prepare for a fifth. The amount of cases of the Omicron variant are still relatively low, but it is expected to become the dominant strain in the coming weeks. For this reason, it has been announced that new Federal rules will come into effect just after Christmas. Beginning on the December 28, gathering of no more than 10 people will be allowed, meaning Berlin will have to prepare for another subdued New Years eve, with no fireworks and no large parties. Better luck next year, everyone.

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Franziska Giffey will be sworn in as mayor of Berlin today. Photo: IMAGO / Bernd Elmenthaler

Tuesday 21, December

On Tuesday, there were 2,941 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 325.8 cases per100,000 people.

Berlin’s new mayor to be sworn in today, bank robbery in Mitte

The coalition agreement has been signed and today Franziska Giffey will officially be sworn in as the new Mayor of Berlin. There had been some doubt about whether the all parties would agree to the deal. Die Linke allowed their members to vote on whether they should become part of the government or remain in opposition. But now the deal is done (look to our report on this page from December 6 for some proposed measures). In other news, yesterday at noon on Friedrichstraße, a group of masked men stormed a bank spraying toxic gas in what appears to be an attempted robbery. Several people were treated at the scene, but nothing seems to have been stolen and the group escaped in a waiting vehicle.

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Travellers returning to Germany from the UK will have to undergo a 14 day quarantine. Photo: IMAGO / Xinhua

On Monday, there were 243 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 316.7 cases per 100,000 people.

Corona travel, booster expansion & challenging the dance ban

As Berlin’s fourth wave continues, yet more regulations are coming into effect. First up, the UK has been moved from an official “high-risk area” to an “area of variants of concern”. What this means practically is that anyone returning from the UK to Germany will have to undergo a 14-day-quarantine. This ruling will stay in effect until January 3, at least. Meanwhile, Berlin is now allowing booster shots as soon as 3 months after your vaccination, while a number of Berlin clubs making a legal challenge the dance ban which recently came into effect in the city.

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The long-eared owl is being nursed back to health. Photo: IMAGO / imagebroker

Friday 17, December

On Friday, there were 2,391 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 296.7 cases per 100,000 people.

Berlin woman gets an unexpected surprise in the post: an owl

A woman living in Spandau had ordered a swimming pool from a company in Poland, but when she opened the delivery she found within the package something altogether different: an emaciated, soaking wet, long-eared owl. It is unclear how long the creature had been trapped, nor exactly how it got inside the package, but the good news is that it is now being cared for by NABU-bird sanctuary in Marzahn, where it is reportedly thriving. The bird is expected to be released into the Hohenwutzen area in the coming days.

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S-Bahn services have been disrupted after a train derailed at Berlin’s Friedrichstraße station. Photo: IMAGO / Müller-Stauffenberg

Thursday 16, December 

On Thursday, there were 2,271 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 288.1 cases per 100,000 people.

Travel disruption as S-Bahn train derails at Friedrichstraße

A derailed train is blocking Berlin’s Friedrichstraße station, reports S-Bahn Berlin on Twitter. Services on the north-south line have been disrupted after the train left the tracks while entering the station around midnight. No one was injured and all passengers were able to safely disembark to the platform. The S1, S2, S25 and S26 lines are currently affected, with no trains running between Potsdamer Platz and Nordbahnhof. A replacement bus is currently operating. 

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Special children’s booths will be set up at the Messe, Tegel & ICC centres in Berlin. Photo: IMAGO / epd

Wednesday 15, December

On Wednesday, there were 2,089 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 296.2 cases per 100,000 people.

Berlin starts to vaccinate kids between five and eleven

Children aged between five and eleven can get vaccinated from today in Berlin. Special separate vaccination booths will be set up in the Messe and Tegel vaccination centres, as well as in the ICC building. What’s more, at least one school in each district of the city will provide inoculations. Children getting their shot should be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Berlin made the decision to start offering these vaccines ahead of getting the go-ahead from Stiko, the official advisory committee, which continues to recommend the vaccine for children only if they have an underlying condition which puts them at risk.

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Berlin’s public transport operator is offering edible ‘hemp tickets’ until Friday. Photo: BVG

Tuesday 14, December

On Tuesday, there were 2,579 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 307.8 cases per 100,000 people.

BVG offering edible ‘hemp tickets’ to passengers

The BVG is back with another wry marketing gimmick. The city’s public transport operator is offering weary commuters a special holiday promotion: the ‘Hanfticket’. Until Friday, Berliners can purchase a day ticket made from edible paper infused with drops of hemp oil. Once the 24-hour ticket expires, the ticket be eaten. The aim is to test the social acceptance of hemp while Germany’s new ‘traffic light’ coalition gears up to legalise marijuana consumption. The BVG points out that the hemp oil used is extracted from the seeds of the cannabis plant, not the flowers. It’s the flowers that contain the intoxicating compounds THC or CBD.​​ Anyone keen to try can purchase the tickets from the BVG’s customer centres.

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From Monday, passengers on Berlin’s public transport system must be able to prove their 3G status – or face a €50 fine. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Monday 13, December

On Monday, there were 156 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 309.7 cases per 100,000 people.

BVG issues €50 fines for passengers without 3G proof

From Monday, passengers travelling on Berlin’s public transport system without proof of 3G status will be fined €50. The Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) will carry out spot checks to ensure all travellers are either fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19, or can show a recent negative test. A €50 fine will also be issued for those travelling without a mask. Passengers flouting both the 3G and mask rules will be fined double. 

In another new step, Germany’s healthcare workers will be legally required to prove they are vaccinated from March 2022. The law was proposed by Germany’s incoming traffic light coalition and approved in a special vote on Friday. This means employees of clinics, nursing homes, doctors’ surgeries and maternity wards must be vaccinated, alongside pharmacists and other medical specialists.

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Thousands of Reinickendorf residents are to evacuate their homes on Sunday while an unexploded WWII bomb is diffused. Photo: IMAGO / Markus Heine

Saturday 11, December

On Saturday, there were 1,596 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 324.0 cases per 100,000 people.

15,000 Berliners to evacuate their homes this Sunday

Thousands of people living in Berlin-Gesundbrunnen will have to leave their homes this Sunday due to the discovery of an unexploded aerial WWII bomb. Around 15,000 residents will be under evacuation orders from 6am on December 12 while the device is defused, as announced by Reinickendorf district office. The exclusion zone will extend 500 metres from the site on Iranische Straße where the bomb was discovered. The nearby Jewish Hospital will also be affected and has begun rescheduling appointments, with extensive disruption to public transport also expected in the area. Residents should stay with friends of family if possible, or head to designated shelters.

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The first half of 2021 saw 206 arson attack on vehicles in Berlin. Photo: IMAGO / Frank Sorge

Friday 10, December

On Friday, there were 2,178 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 342.2 cases per 100,000 people.

Suspected arsonist arrested in Berlin, police claim ties to left-wing groups

On Thursday a 38-year-old man was arrested in Berlin by a special police task force on suspicion of arson. Several weeks of investigations led to his arrest, during which police claim they corroborated his left-wing ties. In total, the man is charged with four arson attack on cars in Berlin-Kreuzberg, and attempted attacks on three more vehicles. The first half of 2021 saw at least 206 arson attacks on vehicles in Berlin, with at least 26 identified as politically motivated.

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Gold coins from the Celtic era have been unearthed in Brandenburg (symbol image). Photo: IMAGO / Becker&Bredel

Thursday 9, December

On Thursday, there were 2,618 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 352.8 cases per 100,000 people.

2,000-year-old gold coins discovered in Brandenburg

Archeologists in Brandenburg have announced the discovery of a hoard of gold coins from the Celtic era. The coins, which date back over 2,000 years, were uncovered in a field at an unspecified location and will be unveiled to the public next Monday in Potsdam. It’s not yet clear how or when the coins arrived in this part of the world – the Celts lived further south in central and western Europe during the Iron Age from the 8th to the 1st century BC. The most extensive find in Brandenburg so far was made in 2016, when around 7,450 valuable coins dating from the 13th to 15th centuries were found near Altlandsberg, 20km east of Berlin.

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Berlin clubs remain open, but dancing in forbidden. Photo: IMAGO / Votos-Roland Owsnitzki

Wednesday 8, December

On Wednesday, there were 2,910 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 342.7 cases per 100,000 people.

Starting today, no dancing

A host of new coronavirus rules come into effect today in Berlin, including the regulation that while nightclubs will be allowed to remain open, dancing is now forbidden. The new measures include a 2G rule in Christmas markets, a reduction on the number of fans who will be able to attend football matches and a random 3G spot check on public transport. For our full 2G/3G breakdown, head here.

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A dispute has broken out between the state audit office (Landesrechnungshof) and the Berlin Senate concerning the use of the emergency pandemic funding. Photo: IMAGO / Beautiful Sports

Tuesday 7, December

On Tuesday, there were 2,614 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 336.8 cases per 100,000 people.

State audit office claims Berlin Senate misused emergency Corona funds

A dispute has broken out between the state audit office (Landesrechnungshof) and the Berlin Senate concerning the use of the emergency pandemic funding. In 2020, the Berlin Senate took on over 7.3 billion euros of debt which was made available through emergency loans. A large part of this money was not spent, however, with the Senate putting the loaned money into a reserve. This move has been criticised by the state audit office, who believe this was an improper use of the emergency loans.

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Bettina Jarasch (Greens), Franziska Giffey (SPD) and Klaus Lederer (Die Linke) present the new Red-Red-Green coalition agreement. Photo: IMAGO / Bernd Elmenthaler

Monday 6, December

On Monday, there were 308 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 341.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Berlin’s Red-Red-Green coalition reaches agreement: What’s in it?

Berlin’s new state government is taking shape. The three parties (SPD, Die Linke, Greens) are already voting to approve the new Red-Red-Green coalition agreement for the next five years. So what’s actually in the bill? Here’s a quick overview:

Housing

  • 20,000 new apartments to be built per year (with half being affordable housing)
  • 200,000 new homes before 2030
  • And what about the Deutsche Wohnen & Co. enteignen referendum? Only Die Linke supported it, but the coalition has now agreed that an expert commission will undertake a 100 day review of the possibilities and propose some kind of action within a year

Climate

  • The German government has promised carbon neutrality by 2045. Berlin wants to beat them to it 
  • They proposed the “greening” of roofs and facades as well as an expansion of solar power
  • End coal use in Berlin power plants: the Kraftwerk in Moabit will cease operations by 2026, in Reuter-West by 2029

Economy

  • More free WLAN throughout the city
  • Hybrid online and in-person retail model – more pickup stations
  • BER Airport, Tesla factory & the high-tech zones of Adlershof & Schöneweide are to be connected in a innovation corridor to the southeast of Berlin

That’s enough for this morning. Check back in later in the week for a more in-depth breakdown!

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Angela Merkel was honoured in a farewell ceremony in Berlin. Photo: IMAGO / Political-Moments

Friday 3, December

On Friday, there were 2,539 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 360.7 cases per 100,000 people.

Germany says goodbye to Angela Merkel

In a ceremony on Thursday night, Germany bid farewell to the outgoing chancellor Angela Merkel. After 16 years as the premier politician in Germany, Merkel will officially leave office next week, handing over the reins to SPD leader Olaf Scholz. Merkel was honoured in Berlin with a formal ceremony broadcast live on German TV. She chose some of her favourite songs and gave a short speech, which she closed by remarking: “In the future, I would like to encourage you to look at the world from the perspective of others.”Earlier in the day, she had announced a whole range of new coronavirus measures. More on that here.

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Another corona traffic light turns red for Berlin. Photo: IMAGO / Steinach

Thursday 2, December

On Thursday, there were 2,544 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 361.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Update: First case of Omicron variant confirmed in Berlin

This afternoon, Berlin got its first confirmed case of Omicron. The patient is reportedly already double vaccinated and had just returned from South Africa on Monday when he tested positive. Since then, doctors were able to sequence the genome and confirmed this as a case of B.1.1.529, or the Omicron variant.

Percentage of patients in intensive care units turns second traffic light ‘red’ for Berlin

Since the start of the pandemic, Berliners have been keeping an eye on the Corona ‘traffic lights’ which give an indication of the seriousness the current situation. Today, another light has turned red – this time due to the fact that over 20 percent of intensive care units in Berlin hospitals are occupied with Covid-19 patients. This is obviously worrying news and, although the 7-day incidence has declined slightly in the last few days, the top priority for Berlin is to prevent hospitals becoming overwhelmed. In response, the Vivantes hospitals have issued a visiting ban, although Charité and Havelhoe are continuing to allow visitors under 2G or 3G measures.

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Berlin is set to tighten corona measures. Photo: IMAGO / Future Image

Wednesday 1, December

On Wednesday, there were 2,552 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 370.2 cases per 100,000 people.

“We want to prohibit more”: Berlin to further tighten Corona rules

As the fourth wave of coronavirus infections continues to rise, the Berlin Senate agreed on Tuesday to close clubs, bars, restaurants and cultural and leisure facilities. Exactly when this these further restrictions will take effect will be decided this week, but the new measures seem inevitable, with Health Senator Dilek Kalayci commenting “we want to prohibit more.” Meanwhile, the S-Bahn is closing some lines due to more than 10 percent of staff calling in sick. The S26, S45 and S85 lines are affected, suspending all travel on weekends and public holidays.

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Berlin’s Covid-19 incidence rose only slightly from Monday to Tuesday. Nationwide, a slight drop in the seven-day incidence was seen for the first time in three weeks. Photo: IMAGO / imagebroker

Tuesday 30, November

On Tuesday, there were 3,172 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 372.0 cases per 100,000 people.

Berlin incidence rate stabilises

The seven-day incidence of new Covid-19 infections remained virtually unchanged in Berlin and Brandenburg on Tuesday. According to the RKI, Berlin’s rate of infection has risen only slightly to 372.0 from 371.5 on Monday. Nationwide, the seven-day incidence has fallen slightly compared to the previous day for the first time in more than three weeks. The Berlin Senat will meet again on Tuesday to discuss the situation and decide whether any further restrictions are needed in light of the newly discovered Omicron variant. So far, Germany has confirmed three cases of Omicron; one in Hesse and two in Bavaria.

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Mr Red, Mr Yellow, Mrs Green, the traffic light parties announce a coalition agreement. Photo: IMAGO / Emmanuele Contini

Thursday 25, November

On Thursday, there were 2,711 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 344.8 cases per 100,000 people.

Coalition agreement announced. Germany set to have new government before Christmas.

It’s been a long time coming, but the three main parties (SPD, FDP, and Greens) finally announced their coalition agreement on Wednesday. Some of the main policy points were the legalisation of cannabis, a coal phase out by 2030, increases to the minimum wage and an end to the criminalisation of doctors who provide patients with information about abortion. Olaf Scholz will be the next Chancellor of Germany, FDP leader Christian Lindner will take the post of Finance Minister, while Annalena Baerbock of the Greens will become Foreign Minister. Another proposed change is especially important to expats: German citizenship is set to be liberalised. Dual citizenship will be possible, with “especially well integrated cases” eligible after just three years.

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Across Germany, workplaces will have a 3G requirement from Wednesday. Photo: IMAGO / Bihlmayerfotografie

Wednesday 24, November

On Wednesday, there were 2,867 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 348.6 cases per 100,000 people.

3G rules now apply at work

As cases of Covid-19 continue to rise in Berlin and across Germany as part of this winter’s “fourth wave”, a new federal law comes into effect today requiring 3G compliance in workplaces. This means that all employees must provide proof that they have been vaccinated, recovered or have tested negative in the past 24 hours in order to be admitted into their place of work. The rule does not only apply indoors, but also to construction sites or anywhere that a worker comes into contact with others. Get the full breakdown in our 2G / 3G explainer.

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Berlin’s future government has agreed not to develop the former Tempelhof airfield in the next five years. Photo: IMAGO / Blickwinkel

Tuesday 23, November

On Tuesday, there were 3,262 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 349.0 cases per 100,000 people.

Coalition parties agree not to build on Tempelhofer Feld – for now

Berlin’s future government has agreed not to develop the former Tempelhof Airport in the next five years. Bettina Jarasch of the Greens announced on Tuesday that during ongoing coalition talks between the Greens, SPD and die Linke, the parties agreed instead to develop Elisabeth-Aue in Blankenfelde as a way to address Berlin’s housing crisis. In May 2014, a majority (64.3% ) of Berliners voted against any kind of development on the former Tempelhof airfield.

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Coalition talks are ongoing, with corona & climate high on the agenda. Photo: IMAGO / Mike Schmidt

Monday 22, November

On Friday, there were 104 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 338.0 cases per 100,000 people.

Climate, Corona & Coalitions

There is a now a 3G requirement on public transport in Berlin, with passengers subject to random spot checks to ensure they’re either vaccinated, recovered, or have received a negative test. Get the full breakdown here.

In other news, Annalena Baerbock addressed the Green Party conference on Saturday, commenting that on some issues the three parties appear to come from “completely different worlds” during the ongoing coalition talks. She stressed that the topic of how to protect the climate cannot form only a “single chapter” of their policy programme. SPD leader Olaf Scholz said talks are progressing well, with green energy and digitalisation high on the agenda. Exactly who will take over which ministries in the new government remains unclear – an unverified list circulating online suggest Christian Lindner may assume the crucial role as Finance Minister, with Baerbock taking the position of Foreign Minister.

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Cannabis looks set to become legal in Germany. Photo: IMAGO / Future Image

Friday 19, November

On Friday, there were 2,321 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 346.0 cases per 100,000 people.

Traffic light turns green for the legalisation of cannabis 

Smoking weed is set to become legal in Germany. Negotiations between the three presumptive parties of government have been ongoing since the election last September, and now it has been revealed that a working group with representatives from all three parties of the “traffic light” coalition (SPD, FDP & Greens) have agreed to legalise the recreational consumption of cannabis. In 2012, the US states of Washington and Colorado legalised weed, setting a trend that has now been followed by the majority of US states. With legalisation, weed has become big business in the US. Mike Tyson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg all sell cannabis-related products. It remains to be seen which German promis will try to get in on the action.

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The vaccination centres of Berlin need more staff. Photo: IMAGO / Xinhua

Thursday 18, November

On Thursday, there were 2,795 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 340.7 cases per 100,000 people.

Berlin struggles with fourth wave of COVID-19

This time last year, coronavirus cases in Berlin were rising rapidly and the city was on the brink of another lockdown. This time, despite 68% of residents being fully vaccinated, some areas of crucial infrastructure are worse off than before. The increasingly in-demand vaccination centres are now short of staff, as people who took on temporary work at Tegel or Messedamm have since gone back to their old jobs. And that’s not the only worry. Hospitals across Germany are reporting 6,300 fewer intensive care beds than they had one year ago, mainly due to similar staffing issues. Despite this, the proportion of Covid patients occupying Berlin’s ICU beds remains in the ‘amber’ traffic light category, while overall coronavirus hospitalisations remain in the ‘green’ zone.

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Gorillas workers continue to protest in Berlin. Photo: IMAGO / Mike Schmidt

Wednesday 17, November

On Wednesday, there were 2,886 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 339.0 cases per 100,000 people.

Public sector strikes, delivery worker solidarity 

Public employees including day-care workers, teachers and police officers are set to strike today, as Union Verdi attempts to bargain with Germany’s federal states for an increase in collective wages. A raise of €150 per month, or five percent, is being requested (€100 for trainees). On Tuesday evening, meanwhile, there was a demonstration in Kreuzberg in solidarity with workers from Gorillas workers who are taking their employer to court for attempting to block the formation of a worker’s council or Betriebsrat.

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As cases in Berlin soar, some people are asking how long vaccination lasts. Photo: IMAGO / Frank Sorge

Tuesday 16, November

On Tuesday, there were 2,593 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 315.8 cases per 100,000 people.

BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca: When do the vaccinations wear off? 

As cases in Berlin continue to climb, scientists from Sweden have released a report which measures how long each vaccine provides protection from the virus. The tests have not been independently verified, but the study looked at the effectiveness of the BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines. So, what are the key findings?

BioNTech: this provided good protection in the early months with up to 92 percent of people protected 30 days after the injection. After six months, effectiveness was only 47 percent and after seven months fell to just 23 percent. 

Moderna: this was the best performing of those tested. The vaccine was still 60 percent effective after six months. Cross-vaccination with AstraZeneca brought similar results. 

AstraZeneca: the least effective of the vaccines. Effective protection was no longer demonstrated after just four months.

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As of Monday November 15th, Berlin has expanded 2G regulations. Photo: IMAGO / Steinach

Monday 15, November

On Monday, there were 147 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 306.2 cases per 100,000 people.

Berlin widens 2G rules: What’s new from today?

As of today, Berlin has introduced stricter “2G” coronavirus regulations, meaning that people who want to attend various events or visit cultural institutions will be required to show proof that they have been vaccinated or have already recovered from the virus. In clubs and other indoor dancing venues, the 2G rule was already in place, but it will now be expanded to include restaurants, theatres, museums and even private events of more than 20 people. Proof of vaccination must be digitally verifiable, either with an app like the CovPass or a printed QR code. Some areas are still exempt – 2G is not required on public transport, and hotels and bed & breakfasts are also not included – but most indoor activities are. As yet, there is no obligation for employees to work from home, though offices are now required to have no more than 50% of their workspaces occupied at any one time. Read more about the latest rules in our 2G explainer.

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The organisation KOP Berlin has launched a campaign “Go Film the Police”. Photo: IMAGO / imagebroker

Friday 12, November

On Thursday, there were 2,185 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 279.2 cases per 100,000 people.

New campaign instructs Berliners “Go Film the Police”

On the whole, the police don’t like being filmed, but a new campaign from the organisation KOP (Kampagne für Opfer rassistische Polizeigewalt, or the campaign for victims of racist police violence) has called upon Berliners to do exactly that in a statement released on Thursday. The organisation, which has been in operation since 2000, wants citizens to use their smartphone cameras and document any mistreatment of suspects by police. They point out that witnesses who record police activity can often be subject to mistreatment themselves, having their telephones removed, being threatened or even attacked by law enforcement officers. However, while the police sometimes claim otherwise, there is no legal prohibition on filming police while they are conducting an operation.

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Belarus has been accused of flying migrants into the country to create a crisis on the EU border. Photo: IMAGO / SNA

Thursday 11, November

On Thursday, there were 2,873 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 263.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Poland-Belarus migrant crisis escalates, Berlin Covid numbers soar

Angela Merkel spoke with Vladimir Putin on Wednesday about the escalating humanitarian crisis at the border between Poland and Belarus, with the German chancellor accusing the Russian president of an “instrumentalisation of migrants”, calling it “inhumane and unacceptable”. For weeks, thousands of refugees, primarily from Iraqi Kurdistan, have been stuck between Belarus and Poland, with security forces on both sides unwilling to provide more permanent care or accommodation. EU officials have called the situation a coordinated attack by Moscow and Minsk, who they see as orchestrating the crisis in response to recent sanctions applied to Belarus. 

Berlin, meanwhile, has seen its highest-ever number of daily Covid-19 infections, reporting 2873 new cases on Thursday.

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Fake covid-19 passes are being sold online. Photo: IMAGO / Fotostand

Wednesday 10, November

On Wednesday, there were 1,657 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 227.8 cases per 100,000 people.

Fake vaccination passes sold online for €150 

The Berlin State Police are reporting that early November has seen a rise in cases of fake vaccination passes being offered on the internet and private messaging services. Approximately 169 cases of suspected forged vaccination passes are currently being processed. The police have received anonymous tips, as well as pharmacies reporting abnormalities in their vaccination books. Police have asked doctors to report any cases of manipulation that they come across.

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Police have claimed 90% of EncroChat users were involved in criminal activity. Photo: IMAGO / Michael Gstettenbauer

Tuesday 9, November

On Tuesday, there were 2,209 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 220.8 cases per 100,000 people.

EncroChat trial begins in Berlin, German judiciary overwhelmed 

The trial of four men accused of arms trafficking and drug dealing begins in Berlin on Tuesday, all of whom were discovered to be engaged in illegal activities through their use of supposedly secure EncroChat handsets. Established in 2016 for celebrities who feared their conversations would be hacked, EncroChat was infiltrated by police in 2019 at the latest and claim 90% of its subscribers were criminals. Police were able to read all data stored on the service, even messages that were never sent. The four Berlin defendants are accused of attempting to sell two Uzi submachine guns, an assault rifle, large quantities of hashish and amphetamines, as well as operating a so-called “coke-taxi”. This trial is just one that resulted from over 900 arrest warrants issued following the EncroChat investigation, with the German judiciary simply unable to process all of the criminal proceedings which resulted from the hack.

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Covid-19 regulations to tighten as Berlin cases double in less than three weeks. Photo: IMAGO / Bihlmayerfotografie

Monday 8, November

On Monday, there were 87 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 194.5 cases per 100,000 people.

Covid cases double, Berlin to expand 2G regulations 

Although Covid-19 levels in Berlin remain just below the national incidence rate for new infections (194.5 to 201.1), the number of new cases has doubled in less than three weeks. The Berlin Senat announced on Monday that they were preparing to expand 2G regulations, meaning that only vaccinated and recovered people would be allowed to attend events. Each of the main political parties are taking a slightly different stance on the issue, with the SPD calling for a wider application of 2G rules, the Greens wanting a mixture of 2G and 3G, the FDP calling for the reintroduction of free antigen tests and the AfD rejecting any tightening of the rules altogether.

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Burning cars, burning planet. Photo: IMAGO / A. Friedrichs

Friday 5, November

On Friday, there were 1,560 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 180 cases per 100,000 people.

Mitte and the world in flames

Last night two cars were set alight in the car park of the Wilde – Aparthotels by Starcity luxury hotel in Mitte, where a one night stay costs approximately €257. By the time the fire brigade arrived the parking garage was filled with smoke and two vehicles were in flames: an expensive Audi S6 with a Berlin licence plate and a Skoda Superb. Police suspect arson. Meanwhile, an Oxfam study presented at COP26 has called the world’s super rich “ecological vandals”, pointing out that while the poorest half of the world’s population are responsible for well below their quota of emissions, the richest ten percent will exceed their recommended limit by nine times.

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Outpatient drug treatment centres are closing down, meaning fewer places for addicts to gather. Photo: IMAGO / Rolf Kremming

Thursday 4, November

On Thursday, there were 1,525 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 165.5 cases per 100,000 people.

Berlin’s largest addiction outpatient clinic to shut down

For 20 years heroin addicts have been using the Ambulanz für Integrierte Drogenhilfe on Berlin’s Kochstraße, close to Checkpoint Charlie, to get substitutes like Methadone and Subutex, as well as medical support to help them manage their addiction. However, on the 31 December this year the rental contract for the facility expires and as a result around 350 chronically addicted patients are set to lose their support. As Nathan Ma points out on Twitter,  this comes just as the state transport company BvG made an ill-judged Halloween joke about Schönleinstraße, an U-Bahn station in Kreuzberg where addicts often gather for shelter in the colder months. The slogan of the BVG’s advertising campaign is “Because we love you,” but their love doesn’t seem to extend to those in dire need.

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Passengers have been told to avoid the drinking water at BER Airport. Photo: IMAGO / Emmanuele Contini

Wednesday 3, November

On Wednesday, there were 1,240 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 157.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Drinking water at BER Airport infected with dangerous bacteria

Tests have revealed that the drinking water in the main terminal of Berlin Brandenburg Airport is dangerously infected with vomit- and diarrhoea-inducing bacteria. Delayed for years and vastly over budget, the saga of Berlin’s new airport seems never to end. Problems have plagued the project since its long awaited opening last year. Just two weeks ago, passengers were forced to wait for over four hours due to insufficient handling capacity (Kanye West was reportedly among those forced to extend his stay in the capital). Now passengers are advised not to drink from the taps when they fly, with the Federal Police Building also affected.

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Environmental groups have raised concerns over the proposed Giga factory. Photo: IMAGO / Jochen Eckel

Tuesday, November 2

On Tuesday, there were 1500 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 156.1 cases per 100,000 people.

Elon Musk decides not to end World Hunger; focus turns to Berlin water

As of November 2, online discussions have reopened regarding the Tesla CEO’s Gigafactory outside Berlin. Musk has been putting pressure on the state to get production started, but final approval was delayed to allow citizens and environmental groups another chance to voice their concerns. In the first round, over 800 objections were noted, and the State Environment Agency decided to allow a second round of discussions. This news comes directly following his pronouncement that he would happily end world hunger (but only if the World Food Programme told him on a twitter thread exactly how they would spend the estimated $6 billion required).

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According to research by ARD, an employee of the Berlin’s Public Prosecutions Office has been fired from her job on suspicion of acting as a mole for prominent conspiracy theorist Attila Hildmann. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Monday, November 1

On Monday, there were 81 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 140.2 cases per 100,000 people.

Attila Hildmann mole fired for sharing secret arrest warrant

Attila Hildmann, the fugitive former TV vegan cook best known for spreading antisemitic conspiracy theories, is back in the news. According to research by ARD, an employee of the Berlin’s Public Prosecutions Office has been fired from her job on suspicion of acting as a mole for Hildmann. The 32-year-old woman worked in the prosecutor’s IT department and is identified only as M. She allegedly visited Hildmann in Turkey earlier this year, where she handed over his then-secret arrest warrant. News of the warrant was first made public on a right-wing internet platform believed to be operated by members of Hildmann’s inner circle. The cook himself is believed to be hiding in Turkey, having fled Berlin in late 2020.

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Eligible Berliners are being encouraged to book their Covid-19 booster shots as cases rise across the city. Photo: IMAGO / Kirill Kukhmar/TASS

Friday, October 29

On Friday, there were 1073 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 137.9 cases per 100,000 people. 

Berlin sees over 1000 new Covid-19 cases per day

New Covid-19 infections in Berlin have risen above 1000 per day for three days in a row, with a 7-day incidence of 137.9 landing the city in the ‘red’ zone of the traffic light warning system. Speaking to RBB Abendshau on Wednesday, Berlin doctor Malik Böttcher said that the time to discuss third vaccinations is here. Official advice is for those over 70 or with a weakened immune system to book their booster shots. Also eligible for a jab are care home residents, nursing and healthcare professionals and people who received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine first time around.

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Berlin Brandenburg Airport is operating as normal again following significant disruption last week. Photo: IMAGO / Joko

Monday, October 18

On Monday, there were 43 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 86.2 cases per 100,000 people.

BER Airport operating as normal following disruption

Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) is back running at normal capacity after days of disruption. Following last week’s four-hour wait times, long queues and missed flights, the airport was operating smoothly again on Sunday. Last week, holidaymakers had to wait over two hours to check in, with similar delays at security gates. According to dpa, Lufthansa attributes the problems to insufficient handling capacity at BER, with Berlin’s Airport Association (Berliner Flughafengesellschaft) claiming staff shortages were to blame.

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Police and left-wing activists clash near the Rigaer Straße 94 squat in Friedrichshain. On Tuesday morning, police officers responding to a fire near the squat were attacked by people throwing stones from nearby rooftops. Photo: IMAGO / Future Image

Tuesday, October 12

On Tuesday, there were 667 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 79.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Police attacked after responding to fire near Rigaer Straße squat

Emergency services were called to a fire near the Rigaer Straße 94 squat in the early hours of Tuesday. Firefighters were able to extinguish the burning tyres, after which police officers at the scene were attacked by people throwing stones from surrounding rooftops. Police said in a statement that no one was injured. The incident is the latest clash between left-wing activists occupying the building and the police, who have repeatedly tried to clear and search the property.

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Berlin has stopped offering free Covid-19 rapid tests from Monday. Photo: Imago/Ralf Pollack

Monday, October 11

On Monday, there were 25 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 77.9 cases per 100,000 people.

Free Covid testing ends in Berlin

Berlin stopped offering free rapid tests for the coronavirus from Monday, meaning that trips to the cinema or the gym could become expensive for those who aren’t vaccinated. First introduced in March, the so-called Bürgertests became a cornerstone of public health policy and offered a way out of lockdown. Demand has ebbed however, with the majority of adults now fully vaccinated. Antigen tests will remain free for certain groups, such as under-18s, pregnant women and people unable to get vaccinated for health reasons. Martin Matz of the Berlin state health ministry has also promised to offer free testing to people on the poverty line – a move first announced by the Neukölln district council. “We want to make this Berlin-wide because there are groups of people for whom €12-15 is a lot of money,” he told the rbb broadcaster.

Some people will still have access to one free Covid test per week, although in some cases this is only for a limited period to give them time to get vaccinated. For now, free testing remains on offer to:

  • Children aged 11 and younger
  • Children aged 12-17 (until December 31)
  • Pregnant women in their first trimester
  • Pregnant women in general (until December 31)
  • Women who are breastfeeding (until December 10)
  • Foreign students who have received a vaccine not yet recognised in Germany (until December 31)
  • People who require a test to exit quarantine after catching Covid
  • People who are unable to get vaccinated for health reasons
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Berlin’s biggest annual film festival will take place as an in-person event in 2022. Photo: Berlinale

Thursday, October 7

On Thursday, there were 749 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 78.2 cases per 100,000 people.

Berlinale to return as an in-person event in 2022

Berlin’s biggest annual film festival is to return to its pre-pandemic format in 2022, it has been announced. The 72nd Berlin International Film Festival will take place next February as an in-person event across the city’s cinemas. This follows 2021’s two-part edition which took place largely online to comply with Covid-19 restrictions. The necessary hygiene measures for next year’s event will be announced in the first half of November.

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A pack of wolves has been spotted on the city-side of Berlin’s ring road, in what might be the nearest sighting yet. Photo: IMAGO / Bernd Friedel

Wednesday, October 6

On Wednesday, there were 584 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 76.6 cases per 100,000 people.

Wolves venture closer to the city

A pack of wolves has been spotted on the city-side of Berlin’s ring road, in what might be the nearest sighting yet. A photographer saw two grown wolves and their four cubs in the Döberitzer Heide, west of Berlin, about 30 kilometres from Alexanderplatz, the Heinz Seilmann Foundation said in a statement. The city’s LfU environmental authority confirmed the news to dpa. Its records had not yet shown wolves venturing within the autobahn ring that surrounds the capital.

Major police operation at Rigaer Straße 94 squat

Over 300 police officers entered the Rigaer Straße 94 housing collective on Wednesday morning with a warrant to search the property, which is at the centre of a long-running stand-off between developers and left-wing squatters. On Twitter, police appealed to residents to remain calm, stay in their flats and follow the instructions of officers. The warrant was issued at the request of the owner, who has asked for the identities of those living in the building. According to the RBB broadcaster, several people tried to block the police from entering and two flats had to be opened by force.

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Minors were handed ballots to vote in Berlin’s state and federal elections despite the legal voting age being 18. Photo: IMAGO / Emmanuele Contini

Tuesday, October 5

On Tuesday there were 659 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 76.6 cases per 100,000 people.

Minors given ballots in latest election gaffe

Minors were handed ballots to vote in Berlin’s state and federal elections despite the legal voting age being 18. Die Welt reported that 16- and 17-year-olds in Neukölln and Weißensee were authorised to vote across all elections, giving them five votes instead of one. (They are eligible to elect district councillors only.) A Weißensee official told the daily that authorities had no way of knowing how many ballots had been submitted by under-18s. Berlin’s handling of the elections on September 26 generated negative headlines due to hours-long queues at polling stations and missing ballot papers. The scandal prompted the city’s top electoral official, Petra Michaelis, to resign last Wednesday.

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From Monday, children are no longer required to wear masks in Berlin primary schools. Photo: IMAGO / Hans Lucas

Monday, October 4 

On Monday there were 24 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 75.2 cases per 100,000 people

Berlin primary schools end mask requirements

Children are no longer required to wear masks in Berlin primary schools starting Monday. The city’s education senator Sandra Scheeres announced the change to Covid containment rules last week, promising that school life would slowly return to normal. Students who wish to wear a mask can still do so. In secondary schools, general mask requirements are to stay in place but do not apply to students sitting exams. The Senat plans to discuss loosening the rules for high schools after the October holiday.

Cyclist killed in latest collision with turning truck

A 29-year-old cyclist was struck by a turning truck and killed at Gesundbrunnen on Friday. A police statement released the following day said that the driver had apparently failed to see the woman, who died at the scene. She is the ninth cyclist to be killed on Berlin roads so far this year. Heavy-goods vehicles turning right are known to be a common cause of cyclist deaths. On Sunday, around 100 people took part in a vigil and demonstration at the scene of the collision. The ADFC, the cyclists’ association that organised the demo, called for lorries to be kitted out with better technology to prevent collisions.

Prenzlauer Berg power cut blamed on arson

A fire left more than 9000 homes in Prenzlauer Berg without power and has prompted an investigation into suspected arson. Officials said the blaze, which started on the Dänenstraße bridge in the early hours of Saturday morning, caused significant damage to power cables. Power wasn’t fully restored to households until after 3pm that afternoon.

26.09.2021, Berlin, Deutschland, GER, Tag der Bundestagswahl 2021.Wahllokal 520/521 Herthastrafle im Bezirk Wilmersdorf Ortsteil Grunewald *** 26 09 2021, Berlin, Germany, GER, day of Bundestag election 2021 Polling station 520 521 Herthastrafle in the district Wilmersdorf Ortsteil Grunewald

Berlin’s elections chief has resigned following chaotic scenes during last Sunday’s vote. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Thursday, September 30 

On Thursday there were 635 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 67.7 cases per 100,000 people

Election chief resigns following vote chaos

Berlin’s chief election official has resigned following the city’s chaotic vote last Sunday. In a statement released on Wednesday, election commissioner Petra Michaelis said she would take full responsibility for failings during election day, which saw long queues, lost ballot papers and large numbers of invalid votes. Four days after the election, recounts are still underway in numerous constituencies due to close-knit results and ballot inconsistencies. Some voters reportedly received incorrect ballot papers, resulting in an unusually high number of invalid votes: problems have been discovered in at least 99 of Berlin’s 2254 constituencies. Officials at 20 polling stations have yet to report any of their results.

Zoo deaths prompt investigation

An investigation is underway after the recent deaths of a rhinoceros and three mandrills at Berlin Zoo. According to a report published in the B.Z. newspaper on Thursday, three-year-old rhino Karl died on Sunday night following a thrombosis. The incident comes just a month after three endangered mandrill baboons were found dead in their enclosures. The bodies of Aron, Arthur and Susan were discovered by keepers on August 29 with no sign as to what caused their deaths. “The deceased animals have gone to the pathology department of the Berlin Brandenburg state laboratory for examination,” zoo spokeswoman Philine Hachmeister said.

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Berlin has voted to nationalise the city’s biggest landlords, with 56.4 percent of voters saying yes to the non-binding referendum instigated by Deutsche Wohnen & Co. enteignen. Photo: IMAGO / IPON

Monday, September 27

On Sunday there were 17 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 69.1 cases per 100,000 people

Referendum to nationalise giant landlords wins majority

Berlin has voted to nationalise the city’s biggest landlords, with 56.4 percent of voters saying yes to the non-binding referendum instigated by Deutsche Wohnen & Co. enteignen. Voters were asked whether the state should purchase the real estate of landlords that own more than 3,000 apartments. This will apply to 240,000 apartments, or 15 percent of Berlin’s housing stock. The vote means the Senat must “initiate all measures” to put the decision into practice. “This referendum must be respected and the necessary steps must be taken,” said Franziska Giffey, Berlin’s incoming mayor.

Berlin elects Franziska Giffey as next mayor

The SPD has edged out the Greens in a tight Berlin mayor race. Led by Franziska Giffey, the SPD earned 21.4 percent of the vote against the Greens’ 18.9 percent, trailed by CDU (18.1 percent) and Die Linke (14.0 percent). The result paves the way for Giffey, who quit her last ministerial post over a plagiarism scandal, to replace outgoing mayor Michael Müller, as long as she receives a majority when the vote goes to Berlin’s house of representatives. The SPD must now form a coalition, to which Giffey has said she is open to talking to “all parties”. 

Franziska Giffey DEU, Deutschland, Germany, Berlin, 14.09.2021 Plakat der Partei SPD mit Foto Franziska Giffey, Spitzenkandidatin der Berliner SPD, mit Slogan Alle im Blick Ganz Sicher Berlin, zur Wahl zum Abgeordnetenhaus im September 2021 in Berlin. en: Poster of the party SPD with photo Franziska Giffey, Main candidate of the SPD in Berlin, during a campaign for the Berlin election in september 2021 in Berlin, Germany. *** Franziska Giffey DEU, Deutschland, Germany, Berlin, 14 09 2021 Poster of the party SPD with photo Franziska Giffey, Main candidate of the SPD in Berlin, during a campaign for the Berlin election in september 2021 in Berlin, Germany

Berlin SPD candidate Franziska Giffey is in the lead position for the job of mayor as the city enters its final election week. Photo: IMAGO / IPON

Tuesday, September 21 

On Tuesday there were 647 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 75.7 cases per 100,000 people

SPD in lead as elections approach

The Berlin SPD is maintaining a clear lead as the city enters the final week of the election campaign. According to the latest polling by broadcaster ARD, the party’s support in the Abgeordnetenhaus elections increased to 24 percent, giving it an eight-point lead over the Greens who are in second place with 18 percent. Meanwhile the CDU dropped into third place with 16 percent support. If the SPD can retain its lead going into the election, the party’s Spitzenkandidatin Franziska Giffey will be appointed as the next Berlin mayor. The SPD would have multiple paths to forming a government, including various coalitions with the Greens, the CDU and the Left party. 

Lime E-Roller, Bergmannstrasse, Berlin Lime E-Roller, Bergmannstrasse, Berlin *** Lime E Roller, Bergmannstrasse, Berlin Lime E Roller, Bergmannstrasse, Berlin

Berlin has introduced new rules to crack down on scooter rental companies. Photo: IMAGO / Jürgen Held

Friday, September 17 

On Friday there were 492 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 83.4 cases per 100,000 people

Senat toughens rules on scooter rentals 

Scooter rental companies will have to pay to use Berlin’s streets after the Senat introduced tougher rules on mobility startups. Convenient for some but a nuisance to others, electric rental scooters from firms like Lime and Tier are taking up more and more space on the city’s pavements. On Thursday the Senat agreed to force the companies to apply for a paid licence to operate in the city, with authorities given the right to withhold or withdraw permission if they believe the vehicles will be a nuisance. The Senat hopes the new policy – which also applies to rental cars, bicycles and motorcycles – will contain the explosive growth of sharing services. While the city centre is full of scooters, Berlin’s outskirts are poorly served by the companies.

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From Saturday, certain businesses will have the power to limit entry to only those who have been vaccinated against or recovered from Covid-19. Photo: James Pfaff

Thursday, September 16 

On Thursday there were 685 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 85.8 cases per 100,000 people

Senat agrees new Covid-19 rules 

New Covid-19 regulations will apply starting Saturday following an agreement this week by the Senat. The biggest change is known as 2G and will give restaurant and venue owners the power to refuse entry to guests who have not been vaccinated against or recovered from the virus.

Here are the agreed changes:

  • Optional 2G policy: Certain businesses now have the option to limit entry to only those who have been vaccinated for or recovered from Covid-19 (geimpft or genesen). This 2G setup can be implemented at indoor restaurants, bars and cafes as well as at hotels, theatres, museums, sports clubs and hair and nail salons. Crucially, these rules are not mandatory: if they like, business owners can also stick to existing 3G rules which allow tested people entry. Under 2G, distancing and mask-wearing rules no longer apply. Children under the age of 12 – who cannot be vaccinated – are exempt from all 2G rules.
  • Mandatory 2G policy: In certain situations, the 2G policy is mandatory. These are brothels, spas, certain saunas and nightclubs.  
  • 3G policy: Business owners may choose to continue operating under existing 3G rules (geimpft, genesen, getestet). In addition 3G remains mandatory for hospital visits and religious services. Mask-wearing and distancing rules continue to apply.

Tuesday, September 14 

On Tuesday there were 761 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 85.2 cases per 100,000 people

Senat rejects universal 2G rule

The Senat has decided not to introduce mandatory “2G” vaccination rules for restaurants, bars and cultural events. At a session on Tuesday, Berlin’s coalition agreed to leave it up to individual businesses to decide if they will operate under 2G (entry for vaccinated or recovered only) or 3G (entry for tested, vaccinated or recovered). But saunas, sex work and religious services will be required to introduce 2G, a policy which already applies in nightclubs. Despite stopping short of a full 2G mandate, the Senat is hoping venues and businesses will take the initiative and introduce the stricter rules. “The 2G model is central to preventing another lockdown,” economic senator Ramona Pop told the DPA.

Bildnummer: 52876906  Datum: 06.01.2009  Copyright: imago/Schˆning
Restaurant Fischerh¸tte am winterlichen Schlachtensee in Berlin, Geb‰ude, auflen, Auflenansicht , Landschaft , Personen; 2009, Deutschland, Berlin, See, Eis, Gastronomie , Ausflugsziel; , quer, Kbdig, Totale,  , Reisen, Europa o0 Winter, Jahreszeit

Bildnummer 52876906 Date 06 01 2009 Copyright Imago Schˆning Restaurant Fischer hut at winter Schlachtensee in Berlin Building exterior exterior view Landscape People 2009 Germany Berlin Lake Ice Gastronomy tourist attraction horizontal Kbdig long shot Travel Europe o0 Winter Season

The “Fischerhütte am Schlachtensee” restaurant in Zehlendorf has caused a stir after announcing a ban on unvaccinated diners. Photo: IMAGO / Schöning

Monday, September 13 

On Monday there were 18 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 84.0 cases per 100,000 people

Zehlendorf restaurant bans unvaccinated guests

A Berlin restaurant is facing a backlash after announcing it will only allow vaccinated guests to dine inside its premises. The 320-seat “Fischerhütte am Schlachtensee” in Zehlendorf says it has “voluntarily introduced its own 1-G rule” for a programme of Oktoberfest celebrations starting September 24. Owner Jo Laggner told the B.Z. newspaper that the risk of running such an alcohol-focused event made such tough restrictions necessary. “I don’t want the Ordnungsamt to come and close my place because people have got infected,” he said. Since the announcement on Sunday the restaurant’s Facebook page has been overrun with angry comments, with some users expressing hope that the business goes bankrupt.

Grossdemo Mietenwahnsinn Mehrere zehntausend Menschen protestieren in Berlin unter dem Motto Mietenwahnsinn stoppen . Die Demonstranten protestieren gegen steigende Mieten und Verdr‰ngung. Im Rahmen der Demonstration beginnt auch die Unterschriftensammlung f¸r das Volksbegehren Deutsche Wohnen & Co enteignen, das eine Enteignung von Immobilienfirmen die mehr als 3000 Wohnung in der Stadt besitzen fordert. Demonstranten mit Banner: Deutsche Wohnen und Co enteignen. Berlin Berlin Deutschland *** Big demonstration \Mietenwahnsinn\ Several tens of thousands of people protest in Berlin under the motto \Stop Mietenwahnsinn\ The demonstrators protest against rising rents and repression Within the framework of the demonstration, the collection of signatures for the petition for a referendum \Deutsche Wohnen Coeneignen\ (expropriation of real

Thousands of people are expected to join a housing demonstration in Mitte on Saturday. Photo: IMAGO / Christian Mang

Friday, September 10 

On Friday there were 541 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 84.7 cases per 100,000 people

Thousands expected for housing protest

20,000 people are to take to Berlin’s streets on Saturday to protest against rising rents. Under the motto “Wohnen für alle!”, demonstrators are to march from Alexanderplatz to the Brandenburg Gate and on towards Großer Stern. The protestors are hoping to secure radical changes to rent and housing policy as Germany goes to the polls later this month. The demonstration has been organised in part by housing nationalisation campaign “Deutsche Wohnen Co. enteignen”, which this year secured a referendum to bring flats into public ownership. 

Berlin Charite Krankenhaus 21.07.2021,Blick auf das Charite Krankenhaus in Berlin Mitte. *** Berlin Charite Hospital 21 07 2021,View of the Charite Hospital in Berlin Mitte Copyright: xLakomski/Eibner-Pressefotox EP_dli

Approximately 95 percent of Covid-19 patients in the Charité’s intensive care unit are unvaccinated, the hospital has said. Photo: IMAGO / Eibner

Thursday, September 9 

On Thursday there were 751 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 82.9 cases per 100,000 people

Charité says 95 percent of Covid ICU patients are unvaccinated

Around 95 percent of patients being admitted to the Charité’s intensive care unit with Covid-19 are unvaccinated, the hospital has said. Speaking on Thursday, a spokesperson for the hospital said the proportion of fully vaccinated patients in its ICU wards is currently around 5 percent – with the remainder either partially vaccinated or unvaccinated. According to the report, which was published in the Tagesspiegel, the age of patients being admitted to intensive care has fallen. “Most of the patients in the Covid intensive care units are between 50 and 70 years old, but often much younger,” the newspaper quoted the spokesperson as saying. This can be explained by the higher vaccination rate amongst the older population: in Germany, 83 percent of people over 60 have been fully vaccinated, compared to 61 percent of the general population.

Der Regierende Buergermeister von Berlin Michael Mueller - Fragestunde waehrend der Plenarsitzung im Abgeordnetenhaus in Berlin am 2. September 2021. *** The Governing Mayor of Berlin Michael Mueller Question time during the plenary session in the House of Representatives in Berlin on 2 September 2021

Mayor Michael Müller has not ruled out introducing policies that would limit freedoms for unvaccinated Berliners. Photo: IMAGO / Emmanuele Contini

Wednesday, September 8

On Tuesday there were 858 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 87.9 cases per 100,000 people

Gorillas riders sue over fixed contracts 

Riders from the grocery delivery service Gorillas have sued their employer over what they claim are illegal, fixed-term contracts. The case, lodged at Magdeburger Platz labour court in Tiergarten, states that Gorillas usually hires workers for one year, of which six months is probationary. Martin Bechert, the lawyer representing 12 Gorillas riders, said that these employment contracts were not legal for several reasons, including that they had only been signed electronically. Around 20 journalists, researches and riders had come to view to hearing in person on Monday, an unusually high number for such a case. The next hearing is set for February 2022.

Tuesday, September 7 

On Tuesday there were 858 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 87.9 cases per 100,000 people

Senat delays “2G” decision

The Senat has delayed a decision to curb freedoms for unvaccinated Berliners following a meeting about Covid-19 policy on Tuesday. Senators stopped short of introducing so-called “2G” rules, which would reserve access to places like bars and cultural venues to people who have been vaccinated against or recovered from the virus. Speaking at the meeting, mayor Michael Müller did not rule out introducing 2G at a later date but pointed to the negative impact the change could have on people who cannot be vaccinated, such as children. 2G rules currently only apply in Berlin’s clubs, following a court ruling on the issue.

Mitarbeiter des Pflegediensts der landeseigenen Krankenh‰user Vivantes und Charit bei einer Streikkundgebung in Berlin. Der Streik betrifft die Pflegekr‰fte und andere Besch‰ftigte. Gestreikt wird f¸r einen vollen Tariflohn des ˆffentlichen Dienstes, f¸r eine Angleichung der Arbeitsbedingungen aller Besch‰ftigter und eine Mindestpersonalausstattung in den Krankenh‰usern. Das Berliner Arbeitsgericht verbot jedoch heute den Streik. / Employees of the nursing service of the state-owned hospitals Vivantes and Charit at a strike rally in Berlin. The strike affects nursing staff and other employees. The strike is for a full public sector wage, an equalization of working conditions for all employees and minimum staffing levels in hospitals. How

Hospital workers are set to strike this week following a vote by the Verdi union. Photo: IMAGO / snapshot

Monday, September 6 

On Monday there were 17 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 82.5 cases per 100,000 people

Hospital union members vote to strike

Berlin hospital workers are set to go on strike this week following a vote by the Verdi union. Some nursing staff at the Charité and Vivantes hospitals could walk out as soon as this Thursday after 98 percent of union members indicated their support in a poll announced on Monday. Around a third of hospital care staff are thought to be members of Verdi. The background to the dispute is the problem of severe understaffing in Berlin’s hospitals, leading the union to call on state-owned clinics to guarantee higher staffing levels. Another demand is that subsidiary workers be employed under the same conditions as their directly-employed colleagues. Under an agreement between hospital management and the union, emergency treatment will be protected even in the event of a strike.

Tesla to get €1 billion windfall

Tesla is set to receive a €1 billion subsidy for the construction of a battery factory in Berlin, the Tagespiegel is reporting. The US electric car manufacturer will receive the windfall from a EU programme to promote the production of car batteries in Europe. Funded in part by the German federal government, the subsidy amount will be announced later this year. The car firm is hoping to open its first electric car factory in Grünheide near Berlin by the end of 2021, with a facility producing batteries due to follow.

Hauptgebaeude, Humboldt-Universitaet, Unter den Linden, Mitte, Berlin, Deutschland *** Main building Humboldt University Unter den Linden Mitte Berlin Germany

Humboldt University students have been criticised by Berlin’s mayor for publishing a job listing which excluded white applicants. Photo: IMAGO / Joko

Friday, September 3 

On Friday there were 533 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 83.8 cases per 100,000 people

Clubs to debut indoor parties

Berlin clubs are to host indoor parties for the first time in 18 months this weekend after the Senat gave them its blessing on Tuesday. Techno venues including Wilde Renate, Ritter Butzke, KitKatClub and Watergate will do away with mask-wearing and distancing rules as they open up fully for the first time since the pandemic. Clubs are permitted to open with “2G” rules, meaning only those who have been vaccinated for or who have had Covid-19 can enter. The Senat’s decision follows a court ruling two weeks ago which overturned Berlin’s ban on indoor dance events.

Müller condemns “non-white” job advert

Berlin mayor Michael Müller has condemned a university job advertisement which explicitly excluded white people as “massively stupid”. Student counsellors at Berlin’s Humboldt University attracted criticism last week for publishing a job advert which included the words “We ask white people to refrain from applying for this counselling position.” The student advisor listing, which was first posted on July 31, was subsequently reworded at the behest of university management. Speaking at a parliament session on Thursday, Müller said the advert was “discriminatory, no question about it.” The students said their decision to exclude white applicants was an attempt to create a safe space for students of colour seeking advice.

KW hoodies sell out after Kanye West plug

A line of branded hoodies sold by the KW gallery were snapped up in minutes after Kanye West was photographed wearing one. On Thursday the gallery posted a photo on Instagram of the US rapper wearing the garment in its courtyard on Auguststraße in Mitte. Shortly after, KW director Krist Gruijthuijsen announced that the hoodies had already sold out but would be available again soon. West, who in August formally applied to change his name to “Ye”, has spent the past week in Berlin visiting galleries, often in disguise.

Anzeigetafel auf dem S-Bahnhof Schˆnhauser Allee in Berlin weist auf den sehr stark eingeschr‰nkten S-Bahnverkehr hin. Der Streik der Lokf¸hrer der Gewerkschaft GDL bei der Deutschen Bahn, hat erhebliche Auswirkungen auf den Berliner S-Bahnverkehr. / Display board at the Schˆnhauser Allee S-Bahn station in Berlin indicates the very severely restricted S-Bahn traffic. The strike of the train drivers of the union GDL at Deutsche Bahn, has a significant impact on the Berlin S-Bahn traffic. Streik der Lokf¸hrer trifft auch Berliner S-Bahnverkehr *** Display board at the S station Schˆnhauser Allee in Berlin indicates the very severely restricted S Bahn traffic The strike of the train drivers of the union GDL at Deutsche Bahn, has a significant

There was fresh chaos on the railways on Thursday following a strike by train drivers. Photo: IMAGO / Seeliger 

Thursday, September 2 

On Thursday there were 736 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 83.2 cases per 100,000 people

Trains suspended as drivers renew strike

S-Bahn, regional and long-distance trains were experiencing severe disruption on Thursday after Deutsche Bahn drivers began their third strike in as many weeks. In Berlin the Ringbahn was suspended in both directions, while other S-Bahn lines were running with significant restrictions. Only around a quarter of long-distance trains were operating, while in Brandenburg a much-reduced regional service was in place. On Wednesday the GDL union announced five days of industrial action after rejecting the latest pay offer by Deutsche Bahn.

Protest police officer accused of excessive force

An investigation has been launched into a senior police officer after he was filmed kneeing a man in the head at the “Querdenker” protest in Friedrichshain on Saturday. Berlin’s LKA police watchdog stepped this week in after footage emerged of an officer ramming his knee into a demonstrator’s face as he tried to resist arrest. It is not clear why the man was being taken into custody. According to reports in the Tagesspiegel, the responsible officer is a unit commander who was seen using excessive violence on an earlier occasion. Berlin police arrested a total of 576 people during the banned protests, which saw thousands of people march against measures to control the Covid-19 pandemic. Members of the press were seen being harassed by protestors, including police press representatives who were attacked with a paving stone on Sunday.

Heute wurde mit dem Erika-Hefl-Eisstadion das zweite Corona-Impfzentrum CIZ in Betrieb genommen. Vorerst sollen aufgrund der begrenzten Menge des zur Verf¸gung stehenden Impfstoffes rund 120 Impfungen pro Tag durchgef¸hrt werden. Das CIZ Erika-Hefl-Eisstadion wird daf¸r zwischen 9:00 Uhr und 14:00 Uhr im Einschichtbetrieb geˆffnet sein. Es hat eine maximale Impfkapazit‰t von 1100 Impfungen pro Tag. Berlin, 14.01.2021 *** Today, the second Corona vaccination center CIZ was put into operation at the Erika Hefl Eisstadion For the time being, about 120 vaccinations per day will be carried out due to the limited amount of vaccine available The CIZ Erika Hefl Eisstadion will be open for this purpose between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. in single-shift Foto:xF.xKernx/xFuturexImage

Two more of Berlin’s vaccine centres closed on Tuesday as the city reorganises its immunisation programme. Photo: IMAGO / Future Image

Wednesday, September 1

On Tuesday there were 586 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 72.7 cases per 100,000 people

Senat approves indoor clubbing for vaccinated and recovered clubbers

The Berlin Senat will allow the city’s clubs to reopen their indoor spaces to guests who are either vaccinated or have recently recovered from Covid-19. The decision, made on Tuesday, could pave the way for clubs to reopen as soon as this weekend, and follows a court ruling on August 20 that deemed the ban on indoor dancing “likely to be disproportionate” for vaccinated or recently recovered citizens. Commenting on the decision, Berlin Clubcommission said it was disappointed no entry based on a negative PCR test was made possible.

Tuesday, August 31 

On Tuesday there were 586 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 72.7 cases per 100,000 people

New Covid traffic light to monitor hospitalisations

Berlin is to modify its “traffic light” system of Covid-19 alerts to take into account the rate of hospitalisation due to the virus. In addition to existing traffic lights linked to the Covid incidence rate and intensive care bed occupancy, a new “hospitalisation incidence” light will monitor how many people per 100,000 have been admitted to hospital with the virus. The change, which was agreed at a Senat meeting on Tuesday, will feature in Berlin’s daily Covid-19 situation updates.

Further vaccine centres close

The Covid-19 vaccine centres at Erika-Heß-Eisstadion in Wedding and Arena in Treptow will close their doors on Tuesday night as Berlin continues to reorganise its vaccination programme. The closures follow the shutting of the Tempelhof and Velodrom centres earlier in the summer, leaving just two of the original vaccine centres (Messe and Tegel) operating. As well as the centres, Berliners can also attend a number of pop-up vaccine stations to get the jab. The Alexa shopping centre, the BVG headquarters and Ikea branches in Tempelhof, Lichtenberg and Spandau are all offering shots, in most cases without an appointment.

Auch am Sonntag fanden trotz Verboten in Berlin wieder Demonstrationen gegen die deutsche Corona-Politik statt. Laut Polizeiangaben zogen hunderte Menschen in mehreren Gruppen durch die Innenstadt. Die Polizei ist nach eigenen Angaben mit rund 2.200 Beamten und einem Hubschrauber im Einsatz gewesen. Berlin, 29.08.2021 *** Also on Sunday, despite bans in Berlin again demonstrations against the German Corona policy took place According to police, hundreds of people in several groups moved through the city center According to the police, about 2 200 officers and a helicopter were deployed Berlin, 29 08 2021 Foto:xJ.xMWx/xFuturexImage

Anti-lockdown demonstrators gathered again at the weekend despite a police ban. Pictured: protestors on Sunday in Mitte. Photo: IMAGO / Future Image

Monday, August 30 

On Monday there were 14 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 73.7 cases per 100,000 people

Thousands march against Covid curbs 

Demonstrators opposed to government Covid-19 measures took part in fresh marches over the weekend despite a police ban. On Saturday several thousand people took to the streets, leading to scuffles between protestors and the police, who made around 100 arrests. In Moabit the situation threatened to escalate when demonstrators tried to break through a police barrier. Officers used pepper spray to contain the crowd. Demonstrations continued on Sunday when several thousand people in numerous groups attempted to march to Mitte. Police tried in vain to enforce mask-wearing and distancing rules but stopped short of breaking up the gatherings. Authorities had refused to grant permission for the demonstrations, which had been organised by the “Initiative Querdenken” which opposes measures to control the Covid-19 pandemic.

Crackdown on Treptower Park raves

Treptower Park will close to visitors at night as authorities clamp down on illegal raves in the area. According to a report in the Berliner Zeitung on Monday, Treptow-Köpenick district council has announced it will shut the park between 10pm and 4am in a bid to stop young people holding all-night parties. The decision, which is effective immediately, comes following continued complaints about the noise and litter caused by the gatherings. Since May, hundreds of youngsters have been attending regular parties at the park. It is not clear how authorities will restrict entry to the area; the park grounds are currently accessible via numerous entrances. 

Alarm after Tropical Islands outbreak

The operator of Tropical Islands has been tasked with tracking 16,500 possible contacts following a Covid-19 outbreak at the waterpark. According to reports by rbb, five people tested positive for the virus after visiting the Brandenburg attraction last week. The company, which belongs to Spanish amusement park operator Parques Reunidos, is now responsible for contacting thousands of guests who attended the resort at the same time. The operator said it was telling possible contacts to get tested and report any Covid symptoms to a doctor.

S-Bahn offers vaccines on rails

Berliners will be able to get a Covid-19 vaccine on a special S-Bahn train running on Monday. Medical staff from Deutsche Bahn will be administering jabs on the anticlockwise S42 Ringbahn train all morning, with no appointment required. The first service is set to leave Treptower Park at 10.38 to make three orbits of the circular line. “All people aged 18 and over who have not yet been vaccinated against Corona are welcome to get a dose of Johnson & Johnson on board the train,” the operator said. Timetable information can be found online.

SPD-Landesvorsitzenden Franziska Giffey, Deutschland, Berlin, Westhafen, SPD, Pr‰sentation der Groflfl‰chenplakate am 6. August 2021 *** SPD regional chairwoman Franziska Giffey, Germany, Berlin, Westhafen, SPD, presentation of the large-scale posters on 6 August 2021
M. Popow via www.imago-images.de imago images/Metodi Popow

 

Mayor candidate Franziska Giffey has said the nationalisation of Deutsche Wohnen represents a “red line” she’s not willing to include in any potential coalition arrangements. Photo: Imago / Metodi Popow

Friday, August 26

On Friday there were 346 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 75.7 cases per 100,000 people.

Club closes for weekend after suspected drug death 

Friedrichshain venue Suicide Circus (AKA Suicide Club) will stay closed this weekend following the death of a young woman from a suspected overdose of the drug GHB. The 25-year-old Irish partygoer was found unresponsive in the toilets in the early hours of Monday morning and later died in hospital of cardiac address. Police arrested and searched the apartment of a 30-year-old man seen to enter a toilet stall with the deceased woman, but he was soon released after police found no signs of serious criminal activity. Police are now calling for witnesses who were at the club between 10pm and 4am on the night of Sunday, August 22.

Thursday, August 25

On Wednesday there were 691 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 72.31 cases per 100,000 people.

Brexit complicates Pankow local election 

Brexit has arrived at the Berlin election. The city state’s electoral committee didn’t approve Volt candidate Matt Bristow to run for office in BVV Pankow on the basis that he was no longer a citizen of an EU member state. “The European Union citizenship is a fundamental individual right that cannot simply be revoked when a person’s home country leaves the union,” Bristow’s lawyer said. The District Assembly, or BVV (Bezirksverordnetenversammlung), is part of the district administration and elected with every Senate election, usually every five years. Volt has appealed the ruling and expects a decision on Bristow’s case by mid-September.

Tuesday, August 24

On Monday there were 645 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 68.7 cases per 100,000 people

Authorities evict beloved bookstore

Police evicted the Kreuzberg bookshop Kisch & Co. from its Oranienstraße location today. Authorities cordoned off an area around the store while costumers, neighbours and anti-gentrification activists rallied in support of the bookshop, whose lease expired on May 31, 2020 after 24 years. The property’s new owner, Victoria Immo Properties V S.a r.l., refused to renew Kisch & Co.’s lease, and even tried to silence criticism by offering the store a chance to stay till the end of the year in exchange for positive PR. The store will open in a new location nearby. “We need a transparency register that names the beneficial owners who are hiding behind such funds,” operator Thorsten Willenbrock said earlier this year.

Monday, August 23

On Sunday there were 42 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 67.1 cases per 100,000 people

SPD’s mayor candidate rules out Deutsche Wohnen expropriation in coalition 

The SPD’s candidate for Berlin mayor, Franziska Giffey, has said the nationalisation of Deutsche Wohnen represents a “red line” she’s not willing to include in any potential coalition arrangements. In an interview with rbb on Saturday, the former Minister for Family Affairs said the campaign to nationalise Berlin’s biggest landlords, which collected 350,000 signatures and will be put to a referendum on September 26, was “not the right way” to fix Berlin’s problems. Instead, she says, the answer is more affordable housing and increased investment in infrastructure. The SPD has fielded the winning mayor candidate since 2001.

Health Minister Jens Spahn says benchmark incidence of 50 is “worn-out”

Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn has said that he wants the benchmark incidence rate of 50 cases per 100,000 people to be removed from the Infection Protection Act. “That was the base for an unvaccinated population”, he said on Twitter, suggesting the number of hospitalisations could be the new parameter. “The critical question is how heavily our healthcare system is still affected by Covid. That’s what we should adjust our measures to.” The proposal sparked criticism from those who pointed out that not all school children are currently eligible get vaccinated in Germany.

13.06.2021,Berlin,Deutschland,GER,Hauptstadt - Testzentrum Covid-19 Schnelltest - kostenlos - gesehen in der D¸ppelstrafle im Bezirk Steglitz. *** 13 06 2021,Berlin,Germany,GER,capital city test center Covid 19 quick test seen for free in D¸ppelstrafle in the district of Steglitz

From Friday unvaccinated Berliners will have to take a Covid-19 test to enter many indoor spaces. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Friday, August 20 

On Friday there were 475 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 69.7 cases per 100,000 people

Court gives clubs green light to reopen

A Berlin court has overturned the city’s ban on indoor dance events, paving the way for clubs to fully reopen. In a decision announced on Friday, the Administrative Court in Moabit ruled that clubs can open their doors to people who have been vaccinated against or recovered from Covid-19. For unvaccinated people, the ban on indoor Tanzlustbarkeiten (“dance-based festivities”) will continue to apply. Explaining its decision, the court argued that even if an unvaccinated clubber had a negative Covid test, this would not protect against infection or serious illness in the same way as the vaccine. Friday’s ruling was in response to a legal complaint against the current ban on indoor parties launched by the owner of a club in Charlottenburg. The plaintiff was not identified.

New testing rules introduced

Unvaccinated Berliners will have to take a Covid-19 test before going to the hairdressers or attending indoor events as the Senat’s tighter testing rules come into effect. From Friday the so-called “three G” rule (geimpft, genesen, getestet – vaccinated, recovered, tested) will apply to almost all indoor spaces. 

Here’s a summary of the latest rules:

  • Indoor spaces: the “three G” rule requiring unvaccinated people to take a Covid-19 test now applies universally for many indoor spaces. This includes hairdressers, beauty salons, hospitals, cinemas and theatres but excludes shops, museums and galleries
  • Events: the “three Gs” also apply to indoor events with more than 50 people and outdoor events with more than 100 people. This includes cultural events, performances and similar large gatherings
  • Restaurants and bars: mandatory testing and vaccination for indoor dining and drinking continues to apply
  • Gyms and indoor sport venues: mandatory tests or proof of vaccination or recovery continue to apply
  • Hotels and holiday homes: unvaccinated guests must present a negative Covid-19 test on arrival and take further tests on every third day of their stay
  • Schools: children are required to wear a mask whilst at school until at least September 5. As before, pupils, teachers and other school workers are required to test themselves twice a week
Niedersachsen, Wunstorf: Ein Transportflugzeug vom Typ Airbus A400M der Luftwaffe hebt auf dem Fliegerhorst Wunstorf in der Region Hannover ab. Mit solchen Flugzeugen sollen die Menschen aus Afghanistan gerettet werden, *** Lower Saxony, Wunstorf An Airbus A400M transport aircraft of the German Air Force takes off from the Wunstorf air base in the Hanover region Such aircraft are to be used to rescue people from Afghanistan,

Berlin is preparing refugee accommodation as German aircraft rescue local staff from Afghanistan. Photo: IMAGO / localpic

Thursday, August 19

On Thursday there were 510 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 69.2 cases per 100,000 people

Berlin readies for Afghanistan evacuees

Disused refugee accommodation in Berlin is being reopened as the city prepares to take in evacuees from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country. Currently closed communal centres – as well as so-called Tempohome container houses – are being readied for the arrival of airlifted people, though it is not yet clear how many will be allowed to come to Germany. Early on Thursday two aircraft carrying around 500 Afghan staff who had been working for the Bundeswehr and NGOs arrived in Frankfurt and were brought to temporary accommodation in Brandenburg. It remains unclear however if Germany will accept significant numbers of refugees from Afghanistan. Angela Merkel indicated this week that those fleeing the Taliban should be accommodated by Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries before being given passage to Europe. 

Parents in clamour for children’s vaccines

Berlin’s paediatricians have been inundated with demand for Covid-19 vaccines this week after the STIKO vaccination commission recommended that jabs now be given to children aged 12 and over. “It started immediately after the recommendation on Monday,” Jakob Maske from Germany’s association of paediatricians told the DPA on Thursday. Despite the sudden rush, there are said to be sufficient doses of the vaccine, though it will take some time before fresh deliveries arrive at doctors surgeries. There are around 180,000 children and teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 in Berlin now being urged to get protected against Covid-19.

Extinction Rebellion Aktionswoche Deutschland, Berlin, 16.08.2021, Aktion von Extinction Rebellion, Brandenburger Tor, Straflenblockade, Red Rebels Brigade,  *** Extinction Rebellion Action Week Germany, Berlin, 16 08 2021, action by Extinction Rebellion, Brandenburg Gate, street blockade, Red Rebels Brigade,

Demonstrators from Extinction Rebellion began a week of protest at the Brandenburg Gate on Monday. Photo: IMAGO / Rolf Zöllner

Tuesday, August 17

On Tuesday there were 594 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 66.2 cases per 100,000 people

Road closures as climate protests continue

Climate activists are to continue their week of protest on Tuesday with two marches through Mitte. At 3pm demonstrators from campaign movement Extinction Rebellion will hold two rallies, one beginning at the SPD headquarters and another at Konrad Adenauer House, both of which will converge on the Brandenburg Gate. The demonstration continues the “August RiseUp” week which began on Monday when around 250 people took part in blockades of the Brandenburg Gate and Monbijou Park in Mitte. More than 80 climate groups are joining the protests, which come after an official report on climate change said that the critical 1.5 degree of dangerous global warming could occur as early as 2030.

Verkehr Berlin S-Bahn Zuege der S-Bahn Berlin am Hauptbahnhof. 18.7.2018, Berlin *** Traffic Berlin S Bahn Train S Bahn Berlin at the central station 18 7 2018 Berlin

S-Bahn services in Berlin were returning to normal on Friday as striking drivers returned to work. Photo: IMAGO / Christian Ditsch

Friday, August 13

On Friday there were 473 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 50.3 cases per 100,000 people

Müller and Steinmeier commemorate Berlin Wall 

Commemorations will take place on Friday to mark 60 years since the construction of the Berlin Wall. Federal president Frank-Walter Steinmeier will join Berlin mayor Michael Müller at a ceremony of remembrance at the Wall memorial on Bernauer Straße followed by a laying of a wreath at the Peter Fechter memorial in Mitte. Fechter was shot by GDR border guards on August 17, 1962 while trying to reach West Berlin. The Wall, whose construction began on August 13, 1961, divided the city for 28 years and led to the deaths of 140 people trying to flee East Germany. 

Train chaos subsides as strike ends

Train services in Berlin were returning to normal on Friday as Deutsche Bahn drivers ended their 48-hour strike. Most S-Bahn lines are running normally, though there are reportedly residual delays on S5 and S7 services. Disruption is also expected on some regional services through Berlin and Brandenburg, while long-distance IC and ICE trains were fuller than normal on Friday morning as passengers resumed their journeys. The GDL drivers union which organised the industrial action has renewed its demand for a new pay deal and will not rule out further strikes.

Lieferando promises new contracts amid rider protests

Takeaway giant Lieferando has promised to give delivery workers permanent contracts as its riders prepare to join protests over pay and conditions. In a last-minute offer to staff on Friday, the Dutch-owned platform said all new riders would be hired as permanent staff, with fresh contracts to be offered to the firm’s 10,000 existing workers. The move comes as Lieferando riders prepare to demonstrate alongside colleagues from grocery startup Gorillas for the first time as part of a nationwide “Day of Action”. On Friday Berlin workers from both firms are to take to the streets in a cycle demonstration starting at the Gorillas warehouse in Kreuzberg. Gorillas riders have mounted several protests in recent months in an attempt to secure improved working conditions including union representation, the end of temporary employment and transparent calculation of tips. In a separate development, a Gorillas rider was seriously injured in Charlottenburg on Wednesday after colliding with a car at a junction. The 29-year-old was taken to hospital after the accident, which reportedly occurred after he rode through a red light.

11.06.2017, Mitte, Wilhelmstrasse, Berlin, Polizist vor der Britrischen Botschaft, Botschaft, Geb‰ude, Botschaftsgeb‰ude, Fassade, Schrift, British Embassy, Britische Botschaft, Polizei, Polizist, Bewachung, bewachen

11 06 2017 centre Wilhelmstrafle Berlin Policeman before the  Embassy Embassy Building Embassy Facade Font British Embassy British Embassy Police Policeman Guarding guard

A worker at the British embassy in Berlin has been arrested on suspicion of cooperating with Russian intelligence services. Photo: IMAGO / Steinach

Thursday, August 12

On Thursday there were 358 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 44.4 cases per 100,000 people

Suspected spy arrested at British embassy

A man working at the British embassy in Berlin has been arrested on suspicion of spying for the Russian intelligence service. German police apprehended the Briton – known only as David S – at his home in Potsdam on Tuesday as part of a joint surveillance operation by British and German authorities. The 57-year-old, who was working as a security guard at the embassy, is accused of passing on documents to the Russians in exchange for cash payments. The man could now face charges under UK law for breaching the Official Secrets Act.

New Bürgeramt to clear appointment backlog

A new Bürgeramt which the city hopes will help clear the backlog of official appointments opened its doors on Thursday. Located on Klosterstraße 71 in Mitte, the office will offer basic citizens’ services such as Anmeldung, exchanging a driving licence and getting a new ID card or passport. Due to staff shortages and the pandemic, Berliners have been forced to wait months and travel to far-flung parts of the city to access government services. More than 20 workers will ultimately be based at the site, which is run as a joint project between the Senat and Bezirksamt Mitte.

Lieferando workers join rider protests

Lieferando workers are set to join protesting colleagues at delivery startup Gorillas as part of a national labour rights rally on Friday. Berlin workers from both firms are to take to the streets in a critical mass cycle demonstration starting at the Gorillas warehouse in Kreuzberg. It is the first time Lieferando riders are joining their grocery delivery colleagues, who blocked two warehouses operated by the startup in July following the dismissal of a worker. The Friday protests will see workers set out their demands for management, including works councils, the end of temporary and fixed-term employment, and transparent calculation of tips. The action is being co-organised by campaign group Arbeitsunrecht, whose aim is to bring an end to so-called “Horror-Jobs”.

Image for Berlin daily news blog: coronavirus, politics, culture, business and more

Numerous S-Bahn lines and large parts of the regional and long-distance rail network have been brought to a standstill following a strike by train drivers. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Wednesday, August 11

On Wednesday there were 366 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 42.9 cases per 100,000 people

Travel chaos as train drivers strike

Numerous S-Bahn lines and large parts of the regional and long-distance rail network have been brought to a standstill following a strike by train drivers. Members of the GDL union of Deutsche Bahn drivers began the walkout on Wednesday after failing to secure a deal on pay and working conditions. The consequences are widespread: in Berlin the Ringbahn is suspended in both directions, with disruptions on all other S-Bahn lines, including services to the airport. Regional trains to Brandenburg are operating at significantly reduced frequencies, while only a quarter of long-distance services are running on Thursday. U-Bahn, tram and bus services run by the BVG as well as trains operated by private firms are not affected by the dispute. The 48-hour strike is set to end on Friday at 2am.

19.05.2021,Berlin,Deutschland,GER,Corvid-Testzentrum am Alexanderplatz. *** 19 05 2021,Berlin,Germany,GER,Corvid Test Center at Alexanderplatz

Free Covid-19 testing is set to end in October as the government seeks to boost uptake of vaccinations.  Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Tuesday, August 10

On Tuesday there were 380 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 40.7 cases per 100,000 people

Free testing to end in October

Berliners wanting to dine at an indoor restaurant or go to the gym will soon have to pay for their Covid-19 test according to plans announced by the German government. At Tuesday’s federal-state conference, leaders are set to confirm that free testing for citizens will end in October in an effort to encourage still-unvaccinated people to get the shot. According to the draft paper published on Tuesday, the now widespread availability of Covid-19 vaccinations in Germany means free testing can no longer be justified. The changes will only apply to people for whom the jab is currently recommended; pregnant women and children will continue to receive free tests. The measure is an attempt to boost Germany’s slowing vaccine rollout, which in recent weeks has seen states sending back unused vaccine doses due to lack of uptake.

Berlin: Die geplante Querdenker-Demo f¸r Frieden und Freiheit gegen die Coronamaflnahmen der Bundesregierung wurde verboten. Einige Demonstranten waren dennoch vor Ort *** Berlin The planned Querdenker Demo for Peace and Freedom against the Corona measures of the Federal Government was banned Some demonstrators were nevertheless on the spot Copyright: xx
via www.imago-images.de imago images/U. J. Alexander

 

Berlin police are facing accusations that they used excessive violence at the banned Covid protest on August 1. Photo: IMAGO / U. J. Alexander

Monday, August 9

On Monday there were 21 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 38 cases per 100,000 people

Police under fire for alleged harsh tactics at Covid protest 

Berlin police have refuted mounting allegations that officers were heavy-handed at the recent “Querdenker” Covid protest. Since the banned demonstration on August 1, a total of 30 accusations have been received by the force’s complaints office after videos were posted online in which officers can be seen manhandling and in one case tripping up one of the protestors. One 49-year-old protestor died after being chased and arrested by the police. The backlash led to an intervention by UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, who said on Thursday that “human rights violations” may have been committed and that he would investigate. City police are themselves investigating their own ranks, and on Sunday a spokesman for the force said they were “open-minded” about the probe by Melzer. In the statement, the police said they were the target of violence by the demonstrators, leading to injuries of 60 police officers during the operation. 

Clubbers test positive ahead of party trial

A trial opening of six Berlin clubs at the weekend has been deemed a success despite a number of partiers having tested positive for Covid-19. Six ticket holders had their bookings for the one-off event cancelled after their test showed they had the virus. On Friday a total of 2200 PCR tests were carried out in advance of the club nights, with all guests and staff required to have a negative result to take part. Culture senator Klaus Lederer said on Saturday that he was “happy” with the pilot scheme, which enabled clubs such as Renate and Kitkat to host indoor parties without social distancing and masks.

Image for Berlin daily news blog: coronavirus, politics, culture, business and more

Rents have risen more quickly in Berlin than in any other German city, according to real estate website Immowelt. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Friday, August 6

On Friday there were 289 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 35.0 cases per 100,000 people

Berlin rents up 42 percent

It’s official: rents have risen more quickly in Berlin than in any other German city. According to real estate website Immowelt, listed rents for vacant flats have increased by 42 percent in the past five years, compared to 27 percent in Stuttgart, the next highest ranking large city. The study compared the rents for flat listings on Immowelt between the beginning of 2016 and 2021. Published on Wednesday, the results reveal that Berliners entering into new rental contracts can now expect to pay average cold rents of €12.80 per square metre compared to €9 in 2016. Despite the rise, nationwide comparisons show that Berlin remains relatively cheap: in Munich average rents exceed €19 per square metre.

Car ban campaign launches referendum bid

An initiative to drastically limit personal car use in Berlin has launched an official bid to hold a referendum. Campaigners from “Berlin autofrei” (“Car-free Berlin”) handed in over 50,000 signatures to the Senat on Thursday in a first step towards holding a citywide vote on the issue. The initiative wants to limit personal car trips within Berlin’s S-Bahn ring to just 12 journeys a year, amounting to a de facto ban on car ownership for inner city residents. If the Senat gives the campaign the green light, organisers will have to collect a further 180,000 signatures in four months in order to secure a public vote. But any introduction of a car ban remains a long way off: the referendum cannot take place before 2023.

Berlin - Deutschland. Die Einkaufsstrafle Wilmersdorfer Strafle ist voll. *** Berlin Germany The shopping street Wilmersdorfer Strafle is full

Berlin’s Covid-19 incidence warning light turned red on Thursday as transmission rises across the city. Photo: IMAGO / Sabine Gudath

Thursday, August 5

On Thursday there were 307 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 32.7 cases per 100,000 people

Red warning as Covid cases rise 

Berlin’s government could be forced to discuss fresh lockdown measures as Covid-19 transmission continues to rise in the city. According to figures released by the Robert Koch Institute on Thursday, the seven-day incidence rate for Berlin has risen above the crucial 30-case threshold to 32.7 cases per 100,000, leading the Senat to change the associated traffic light to red. Berlin’s traffic light system takes into account three indicators: the seven-day incidence (currently red), intensive care unit occupancy (currently green)  and the weekly incidence trend (currently amber). Since two of the three lights are red or amber, the city government is bound by its own rules to at least discuss possible responses. The developments come amid calls to revise the current three-light warning system, which was devised last year before vaccinations were available. Last week federal health minister Jens Spahn (CDU) said that the seven-day incidence rate was no longer a useful indicator of the Covid threat due to the increased immunity achieved through the vaccine programme.

Berlin in der Phase der Coronavirus-Krise, im Bild: Taxis vor dem Corona-Impfzentrum Arena Berlin in Treptow, 25.01. 2021, *** Berlin in the phase of the Coronavirus crisis, in the picture taxis in front of the Corona vaccination center Arena Berlin in Treptow, 25 01 2021, Copyright: xSebastianxR‰ppoldx/xMatthiasxKochx

Berliners will be able to get their Covid-19 vaccine with a serving of techno at Arena Berlin next week. Photo: IMAGO / Matthias Koch

Wednesday, August 4

On Wednesday there were 270 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 29.5 cases per 100,000 people

Vaccine parties to combine DJ sets and shots

Jabbing and jiving: Berliners can receive their Covid-19 vaccine to a techno beat next week as part of three late night vaccination “parties” intended to boost uptake of the shot.  On August 9, 11 and 13, the vaccine centre at Arena Berlin will be turned into a club of sorts, with a line-up of Berlin DJs set to provide musical accompaniment to the immunisation drive. Doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech will be administered until past midnight at the so-called “Langen Impfnächte” event, which is being organised by the Senat and the Clubcommission. The music comes courtesy of artists who themselves worked at the vaccine centres during the pandemic, including the likes of Berghain resident Tama Sumo and Kater regular Oliver Klostermann. No appointment is required for the events; those interested can simply walk in from 7.45pm.

Investigation into death at “Querdenker” march

Berlin’s public prosecutor’s office is investigating after the death of a protester at a demonstration by followers of the so-called “Querdenker” movement in Mitte on Sunday. Reports say the 49-year-old man died of a heart attack following an altercation with police, who subsequently arrested him. According to the prosecutor’s office, the man complained of chest pains after being brought to the ground and arrested by officers after trying to break through a police cordon. The man was rushed to the Charité hospital, where he later died. The family of the man, who was a member of the controversial anti-lockdown party “Basis”, appealed to fellow followers to remain calm while the investigation continues.

Altbau, Schmiljanstrasse, Friedenau, Berlin, Deutschland *** Old building, Schmiljanstrasse, Friedenau, Berlin, Germany

The Berlin Senat says it will introduce a law making it harder to transfer rental flats into owner-occupancy. Photo: IMAGO / Joko

Tuesday, August 3

On Tuesday there were 263 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 27.6 cases per 100,000 people

Senat promises to protect rental housing

The Senat says it is introducing new measures to stop the transfer of rental flats into owner-occupied properties to protect Berlin’s status as a city of renters. On Tuesday the city government is approving a law that will make it mandatory for landlords to gain permission from the local authority before converting buildings of five flats or more into owner-occupancy. The move comes as the Red-Red-Green coalition tries to come up with ways to tackle Berlin’s housing crisis that do not include the full collectivisation of housing: in July the Senat stopped short of giving its support to proposals to return Berlin’s privately owned housing into state hands. The “Deutsche Wohnen & Co. enteignen” initiative, which will go to a vote this September, has the full support of only the Left Party. The SPD is firmly opposed to expropriation and is likely to frustrate attempts to implement the policy if Berliners vote in favour of the referendum.

Clubs reopen for pilot project

Berlin’s clubs are reopening their dance floors – for one weekend only. As part of a pilot project with the Senat and the Charité hospital, six music venues will welcome back indoor ravers for a special party on August 6–8. Guests will be required to undergo PCR tests before and after the event but will not have to wear masks or social distance. Ticket details for the events will be released by the participating clubs, which include Kitkat-Club, Salon zur Wilden Renate and SO36.

01.08.2021, Berlin - Deutschland. Trotz Verbots versammeln sich die Querdenker in der Stadt, hier in Neu-Westend. *** 01 08 2021, Berlin Germany Despite a ban, lateral thinkers gather in the city, here in Neu Westend

Thousands of Covid sceptics from the “Querdenker” movement gathered on Sunday despite a protest ban. Photo: IMAGO / Sabine Gudath

Monday, August 2

On Monday there were 17 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 27.2 cases per 100,000 people

Man dies as police arrest hundreds at Covid protest

Berlin police arrested around 600 Covid protestors on Sunday after thousands of followers of the “Querdenker” movement defied a demonstration ban. One participant died after collapsing as police were checking his identity, leading the public prosecutor’s office to launch an investigation on Monday. According to the DPA, the 49-year-old man had complained to officers of pain in his arm and chest and was taken to hospital, where he subsequently died. Meanwhile there were clashes as police attempted to disperse the various crowds which had gathered from Charlottenburg to Alexanderplatz. In total an estimated 5000 sceptics assembled despite police having cancelled the protest over fears that Covid safety rules would be ignored. Few of the demonstrators were seen to be wearing masks, and press reports say the atmosphere turned aggressive with one journalist hospitalised after being attacked by protestors. According to reports in the Tagespiegel, German Journalist Union member Jörg Reichel was dragged off his bicycle and punched and kicked by protestors, leaving him in need of hospital treatment. The protestors, many of whom wore T-shirts and carried placards with slogans such as “Frieden, Freiheit, keine Diktatur” (“Peace, freedom, no dictatorship”), now face fines of up to €1000 for attending a banned protest. Organisers had originally registered 22,500 participants for the gathering before it was blocked.

Einreise mit dem PKW nach Deutschland. Grenzschilder an der Autobahn am Walserberg bei der Einreise von ÷sterreich nach Deutschland . Walserberg Salzburg ÷sterreich *** Entering Germany by car Border signs at the motorway at Walserberg entering Germany from Austria Walserberg Salzburg Austria Copyright: xRolfxPossx

Mandatory Covid-19 testing is set to be introduced for all people arriving into Germany starting Sunday. Photo: IMAGO / Rolf Poss

Friday, July 30

On Friday there were 213 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 24.8 cases per 100,000 people

Mandatory testing introduced for unvaccinated arrivals

Germany is set to introduce a Covid-19 test requirement for all unvaccinated travellers arriving the country starting this Sunday. Regardless of where they depart from, arrivals aged 12 and over will now have to show a negative test or proof of vaccination or previous infection even when travelling by train, bus or car. Set to be approved on Friday, the new rule will mainly affect passengers entering Germany over land from lower-risk countries like Austria, Denmark, France and Belgium. There is no change for air passengers, who already have to show a negative test or proof of vaccination before departing to Germany. Nor will travellers from variant or high-incidence countries such as the Netherlands be affected, since they already have to show proof of test or vaccination. According to the federal government, the policy will be enforced using spot checks rather than comprehensive controls at the border. 

Vaccine centres open to walk-ins

Berliners can now get a Covid-19 vaccination at any of the city’s vaccination centres without an appointment as the Senat seeks to boost takeup of shots. Starting Friday and continuing every day, city residents can attend any one of the five centres between the hours of 11am and 5pm for a jab of either Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna. Previously the walk-in shots were only offered at the centres in Wedding, Messe and Tegel. The effort comes as the city seeks ways to inject new life into its slowing vaccination campaign: at present supplies of Covid-19 shots are exceeding demand.

Alternatives Musicfestival in Brandenburg trotz Corona DEU/Brandenburg/Drebkau-Casel  Paul Weisflog Festival in Coronazeiten: Am ersten von insgesamt vier Festival-Wochenenden auf der Wilden Mˆhre bei Drebkau haben etwa 1000 Leute gefeiert. Im August werden bis zu 3000 G‰ste aus ganz Deutschland zu elektronischer Musik, kreative Workshops, und Festivalkultur erwartet. An insgesamt vier Wochenenden ˆffnet die Wilde Mˆhre in diesem Jahr ihre Tore. Schon im vergangenen Jahr sorgte das Festival f¸r weltweites Aufsehen. Als eines der wenigen Festivals ¸berhaupt bewies das Management der Mˆhre mit einer angepassten Strategie, dass Festivals auch w‰hrend der Pandemie mˆglich sind. Bei der neunten Auflage des alternativen Festivals sta

Berlin culture senator Klaus Lederer has rejected calls to limit cultural events to vaccinated people. Photo: IMAGO / Rainer Weisflog

Thursday, July 29

On Thursday there were 173 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 24.8 cases per 100,000 people

Senator rejects concerts for vaccinated people

Berlin’s culture senator Klaus Lederer has rejected calls from the arts sector to make cultural events accessible only to vaccinated people. Speaking to RBB on Thursday, the Left Party politician said the suggestion that clubs and concert venues could return to normal by closing events to unvaccinated people was too risky because of the Delta Covid-19 variant.  On Wednesday Jens Michow of the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry said that the policy of “vaccinated-only” events would allow ailing venues and clubs to fully reopen. Lederer instead called on cultural venues to encourage people to get jabbed by opening on-site vaccine centres.

Not sure what the latest Covid rules are? Here’s a summary of the current measures:

  • Cinemas, theatres, concert halls: a negative test or proof of vaccination or previous infection is required to attend indoor performances and screenings. Masks are not required once you are in your assigned seat. Audiences are limited to 500 or 1000 people depending on the safety measures in place
  • Public events: in general you need a negative Covid test or proof of vaccination or previous infection for large events like concerts, both indoors and outdoors. Masks are no longer required except in indoor spaces that do not have assigned seating. Outdoor events are permitted for up to 5000 people so long as the seven-day incidence rate remains below 35, although specially-approved concerts and sports matches can host up to 25,000 people. Indoor events may be attended by up to 1000 people, or 2000 if the venue is equipped with ventilation
  • Clubs: parties are currently permitted outdoors for up to 1000 people. A negative test or proof of vaccination or previous infection is required to attend and guests must wear a surgical mask at all times and register their details
  • Restaurants, pubs and bars: you can drink and dine outdoors without needing to show proof of a negative test or vaccination. Inside, this proof is still required. In both cases, guests must have an assigned table and register their contact details
  • Mask-wearing: FFP2 masks are now only mandatory on public transport and in some medical settings. In other spaces such as shops and venues a surgical mask now suffices
  • Private gatherings: there is no explicit limit on indoor or outdoor gatherings, though there is a recommended 100-person limit for meetings outside
  • Gyms and leisure venues: a negative test or proof of vaccination or previous infection is required to attend gyms and sports and yoga studios
  • Museums and galleries: a negative test is no longer required to attend exhibitions. Guests must wear a surgical mask at all times and visitor numbers are restricted through the issuing of time slots
Nena live beim Sommer Open Air Picknickdecken Konzert im Steigerwaldstadion. Erfurt, 04.08.2020 *** Nena live at the summer open air picnic blanket concert in the Steigerwaldstadion Erfurt, 04 08 2020 Foto:xM.xKremerx/xFuturexImage

Organisers have cancelled a planned concert by Nena after the singer criticised the Covid-19 rules at her Berlin show. Photo: IMAGO / Future Image

Wednesday, July 28

On Wednesday there were 197 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 24.8 cases per 100,000 people

Nena concert cancelled after Covid remarks

Organisers have cancelled an upcoming concert by pop singer Nena after she spoke out against Covid-19 safety measures at her Berlin show on Sunday. The 99 Luftballons singer said she was “fed up” and encouraged the crowds at the concert near Schönefeld airport to break the event rules. As the audience increasingly ignored social distancing restrictions, the singer said “the question is not what we are allowed to do, but what we let them do to us.” The concert was cut short, and on Tuesday organisers of the “Strandkorb Open Air” in Hessen cancelled an upcoming performance by the artist, announcing on Facebook that they had “contractually agreed in advance that the concerts may not be used as a political stage.”

Themenbild / Symbolfoto:Digitale Covid Zertifikate der EU auf einem Smartphone,vollstaendiger Impfschutz Impfzertifikat,Digitaler Impfpass,Impfausweis. *** Theme image icon photo EU digital covid certificates on a smartphone,full vaccination protection vaccination certificate,digital vaccination certificate,vaccination card

Berlin politicians have lent support to restricting freedoms for unvaccinated people. Photo: IMAGO / Sven Simon

Tuesday, July 27

On Tuesday there were 259 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 24.8 cases per 100,000 people

Mayor supports restrictions for the unvaccinated

Berlin mayor Michael Müller has declared his support for restricting freedoms for people who choose not to get vaccinated for Covid-19. Responding to the growing debate on linking rights to people’s vaccine status, Müller said that unvaccinated people should expect mandatory Covid testing once again. “In order to avoid widespread closures, we must link access [to venues] for unvaccinated people much more comprehensively to negative test status” the SPD politician said on Monday. CDU election candidate for Berlin Kai Wegner also lent support to restrictions for unvaccinated people, while SPD candidate Franziska Giffey said those who choose not to be vaccinated can expect to have their rights limited. “If we want to ensure that we can return to a largely normal life again, regardless of incidence rate, then we need a higher vaccination rate,” Giffey told the Tagesspiegel newspaper on Monday. The Berlin Greens are opposed to increasing pressure on the public to get vaccinated, as is Left Party culture senator Klaus Lederer. “The debate is premature, because unfortunately we are not yet as far as we want to be when it comes to vaccination,” he said.

Berlin - Deutschland. Ein heftiges Unwetter mit Starkregen geht nieder, Autos fahren durch riesige Lachen. *** Berlin Germany A violent storm with heavy rain falls, cars drive through huge puddles

The north of Berlin was hit by flooding on Sunday night following heavy rain. Photo: IMAGO / Sabine Gudath

Monday, July 26

On Monday there were 11 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 23.8 cases per 100,000 people

Flooding hits northern Berlin

The north of Berlin was hit by flooding on Sunday night after heavy rain fell across the capital. Tunnels flooded and basements filled with water in the districts of Buch and Marzahn after 50 litres of precipitation per square metre fell in just one hour. At the S-Bahn station at Buch the water was knee-deep, while emergency services attended to a total of 250 calls as trees fell and roads flooded. Despite the disruption, no injuries had been reported on Sunday night. The extreme weather comes less than two weeks after devastating floods in western Germany left at least 184 people dead.

Deutsche Wohnen takeover fails

Property company Vonovia has failed in its bid to buy major Berlin landlord Deutsche Wohnen after the firm was unable to secure sufficient shareholder backing. The €18 billion deal would have created Germany’s largest landlord, comprising 550,000 flats (150,000 of which would have been in Berlin). Announcing the news on Monday, Vonovia confirmed it had not gained the support of 50 percent of Deutsche Wohnen shareholders that was a requirement of the deal. It is the second time Vonovia has failed in a takeover attempt of Deutsche Wohnen: in 2016 the Bochum-based giant was unable to convince shareholders to vote for its billion-euro deal.

Schwule und Lesben ziehen zum 41. Christopher Street Day (CSD) unter dem Motto 50 JAHRE STONEWALL - JEDER AUFSTAND BEGINNT MIT DEINER STIMME durch Berlin snapshot-photography/xK.M.Krause *** Gays and lesbians are moving through Berlin snapshot photography xK M Krause for 41 Christopher Street Day CSD under the motto 50 YEARS STONEWALL EVERYONE RISE STARTS UP WITH YOUR VOICE

Thousands are set to attend Berlin’s gay pride parade this Saturday. Pictured here is the 2019 march. Photo: IMAGO / snapshot

Friday, July 22

On Friday there were 99 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 21.8 cases per 100,000 people

Thousands to gather for CSD return

20,000 people are to take to the streets this Saturday for the return of the annual Christopher Street Day (CSD) gay pride march. From midday people from Berlin’s LGBTQ+ community and their allies will gather on Leipziger Straße for the traditional march through the Brandenburg Gate and past the Siegessäule. Masks will be mandatory for the protest-meets-party, which will end up in the gay village in Schöneberg. The impact of the pandemic means participant numbers will be greatly reduced: in 2019 the march attracted a record one million people. Last year’s CSD march was replaced with an online programme due to the ban on gatherings.

Karneval der Kulturen cancelled

The Karneval der Kulturen street festival has been cancelled just three weeks before it was due to take place. Announcing the decision on Thursday, organisers said the rise of the Delta coronavirus variant meant that the event could not be held under the safety policy that had been agreed. The move comes despite the larger CSD pride parade gaining permission to take place. It is the second year in which the Kreuzberg carnival has been cancelled; in normal years over 5000 performers and many more onlookers gather for a display of different cultures from around the world.

Menschen am Alexanderplatz Berlin, 05.06.2021 - Dichtes Gedraenge beim Einkaufen am Berliner Alexanderplatz. Nachdem die Inzidenzwerte fallen und der Lockdown beendet ist kehrt das normale Leben in die Staedte zurueck. Berlin Berlin Deutschland *** People at Alexanderplatz Berlin, 05 06 2021 Dense crowds shopping at Berlins Alexanderplatz After incidence levels fall and the lockdown ends, normal life returns to the cities Berlin Berlin Germany

Berlin’s Covid-19 incidence rate has doubled in the past week as the Delta variant pushes up infections. Photo: IMAGO / Jochen Eckel

Thursday, July 22

On Thursday there were 161 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 22.6 cases per 100,000 people

Vaccine centres to offer walk-ins

Berliners will be able to get a Covid-19 vaccine without an appointment at the city’s vaccination centres for the next four weeks. Starting on Friday, residents can get a jab from three of the five remaining centres – Flughafen Tegel, Erika Heß Eisstadion and Messe Berlin – on a walk-in basis. The offer is available between the hours of 2pm and 5pm; outside these times an appointment is required. Those wishing to be vaccinated should bring an ID, proof of address and, if possible, their vaccine passport. The decision to open up jabs comes as the city prepares to close its vaccination centres, with the Velodrom and Arena facilities due to shut by the end of August. The centre at former Tempelhof airport closed already on Tuesday.

Covid incidence doubles in a week

Berlin’s Covid-19 incidence rate has doubled within seven days as the Delta variant continues to drive transmission in the city. According to the latest figures from the Robert Koch Institute, Thursday’s rolling incidence rate was 22.6 per 100,000 residence – up from 11.6 just a week ago. The trend has led to renewed warnings that a new wave of Covid is coming: on Thursday the Senat raised the incidence rate traffic light to amber followed the shifting last Thursday of the weekly trend traffic light to red. Within Berlin, the highest incidences are in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg with 46.1 cases per 100,000 and Mitte with 37.3. 

19.07.2021,Berlin,Deutschland,GER,Pressetag zur Erˆffnung des Humboldt Forums im Berliner Schloss.Am 20.07.2021 wird das Humboldt Forum erˆffnet. *** 19 07 2021,Berlin,Germany,GER,Press day for the opening of the Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace On 20 07 2021 the Humboldt Forum will be opened

The Humboldt Forum centre for the arts in Mitte finally opened its doors on Tuesday. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Tuesday, July 20

On Tuesday there were 193 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 18.0 cases per 100,000 people

Humboldt Forum opens its doors

After seven years in the making, the Humboldt Forum is finally welcoming its first visitors. On Tuesday Berlin mayor Michael Müller attended the grand opening of the €680 million arts centre, which occupies the fully-restored Berliner Schloss, a former Prussian palace in Mitte. Reconstruction of the baroque façade was hampered by two years of delays as well as controversy over the demolishing of the GDR-era Palast der Republik to make space for construction. Visitors to the Forum can currently see six exhibitions, including Berlin Global which examines the capital’s past and present links to the rest of the world. During the first 100 days, visits to the exhibitions are free of charge, but visitors must book a time slot.

Ploetzensee, Charlottenburg, Berlin, Deutschland / Plˆtzensee Ploetzensee Charlottenburg Berlin Deutschland

Plˆtzensee Charlottenburg Berlin Germany Plˆtzensee Plˆtzensee Charlottenburg Berlin Germany

Clubcommission Berlin is launching an appeal after an open-air party at Plötzensee lake was banned. Photo: IMAGO / Schöning

Monday, July 19

On Monday there were 132 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 15.8 cases per 100,000 people

Clubcommission criticises open-air ban 

Clubcommission Berlin is to launch a legal appeal against the local authority in Mitte after it cancelled an open-air dance event at Plötzensee. The Tropicalia party  from club collective Pornceptual had been due to take place at the lake on Sunday, but the Bezirksamt in Mitte withdrew permission because of concerns that the area was turning into an “event location”. The Clubcommission and event host Strandbad Plötzensee accused the authority of reneging on an agreement. “Despite constructive dialogue between the operators of the lido and district mayor Von Dassel, the latter’s public order office has now – to the great astonishment of the Clubcommission – taken the opposite course,” a spokesman told Fritz radio on Sunday.

Huge demand for Ikea vaccines

The drive-through vaccine centre at Ikea in Lichtenberg was overwhelmed by demand after opening on Saturday, causing doses to run out after just two hours. Queues had already formed before the centre opened at 11am, leading organisers to turn away latecomers. 1000 people can be vaccinated every day at the facility, which is offering appointment-free jabs for the next six weeks. The centre is open daily from 11am to 9pm.

27.12.2017, Berlin, Deutschland, GER - Hauptsitz der Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe an der Holzmarktstrasse 15-17 in Berlin-Mitte. . *** 27 12 Germany GER 2017 Berlin headquarters of the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe on holzmarktstrafle 15 17 in Berlin Center

From Saturday Berliners will be able to get a Covid-19 vaccine at the BVG headquarters in Mitte. Photo: IMAGO / Marius Schwarz

Friday, July 16

On Friday there were 132 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 13.9 cases per 100,000 people

Cash payment on buses abolished

Passengers on Berlin’s buses are no longer able to buy a ticket with cash as the BVG shifts to a card-only payment system. Since Monday passengers have been able to board buses using the front entrance for the first time in over a year, but those without a ticket will now have to have a credit card handy following the change in policy. On-board tickets can be bought using a credit or debit card or with Apple and Google pay, though the BVG says passengers can still pay with cash at its sales points in shops and stations. The operator is hoping the shift will help it cut costs but has faced criticism that the cashless system will make it more difficult for older people to use buses.

BVG offers vaccines at HQ

The BVG is opening up its employee vaccination drive to all Berliners this weekend, meaning anyone can attend the transport company’s headquarters to receive a Covid-19 jab. Appointments for the shots can be booked online, with slots available from this Saturday until the end of July. Medical staff at the BVG offices on Holzmarktstraße in Mitte will be administering doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, the company said this week. Appointments for both first and second doses can be booked online using the Doctolib platform.

U-Bahnhof Hermannplatz, Karstadt, Kreuzberg, Neukˆlln, Berlin Schild U-Bahnhof Hermannplatz, Karstadt Hermannplatz, Kreuzberg, Neukˆlln, Berlin *** Subway station Hermannplatz, Karstadt, Kreuzberg, Neukˆlln, Berlin Sign Subway station Hermannplatz, Karstadt Hermannplatz, Kreuzberg, Neukˆlln, Berlin

A walk-in centre for Covid-19 vaccines on Hermannplatz is to open on Friday. Photo: IMAGO / Travel-Stock-Image

Thursday, July 15

On Thursday there were 137 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 11.6 cases per 100,000 people

Covid shots offered on Hermannplatz 

On Friday Berliners will be able to get a Covid-19 jab on Hermannplatz as the district opens a walk-in vaccine centre. Those interested can come to the centre between 10am and 5pm for the shot, with no appointment required. The local authority in Neukölln says all Berlin residents are welcome to come for the shots, which are being offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Initially the centre will open on July 15 for one day, though the district says it hopes to offer the vaccinations every Friday. The initiative comes as Berlin’s Senat announces plans for an all-night vaccine drive in order to increase uptake amongst young people. The Berlin Club Commission said on Thursday that it was working with the Senat’s health administration on an event at the Arena vaccine centre in Treptow where jabs would be offered in a party atmosphere with sets from well-known DJs.

Neukölln bookshop facing closure

English-language bookshop Curious Fox is facing closure after the owners’ rental contract was abruptly ended. In an announcement on Thursday, the founders of the Neukölln store said they had been given six weeks by their landlord to find a new location. Popular with Berlin’s expat community, Curious Fox has sold books from its Flughafenstraße shop for eight years.

Berlin, IKEA Lichtenberg Deutschland, Berlin - 07.08.2019: Im Bild sind die IKEA Flaggen und der im Hintergrund der IKEA Markt an der Landsberger Allee in Lichtenberg zu sehen. Berlin IKEA Lichtenberg Berlin Deutschland *** Berlin, IKEA Lichtenberg Germany, Berlin 07 08 2019 The picture shows the IKEA flags and the IKEA market in the background on Landsberger Allee in Lichtenberg Berlin IKEA Lichtenberg Berlin Germany

Berliners will be able to get a Covid-19 vaccine at the Lichtenberg branch of Ikea from Saturday. Photo: IMAGO / Christian Spicker

Tuesday, July 13

On Tuesday there were 95 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 7.9 cases per 100,000 people

Ikea hosts vaccine drive

Berliners will be able to get their Covid-19 vaccine at Ikea in Lichtenberg from Saturday as the city introduces new ways to get the jab. The district authority said on Tuesday that residents of all Berlin Bezirke would be able to attend the drive-through vaccination centre between the hours of 11 am and 9 pm to receive a vaccine. The centre will be open daily for a period of six weeks and is located in the furniture store’s car park. No appointment is necessary, with both drivers and pedestrians welcome to attend. Doses of the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines will be administered, though the district said a choice between the two was not guaranteed. Meanwhile in Neukölln a mobile vaccination station will be set up on Hermannplatz offering shots without appointments. The district has yet to confirm opening times. 

Image for Berlin daily news blog: coronavirus, politics, culture, business and more

Two of Berlin’s Covid-19 cases turned amber at the weekend as the Delta variant continues to dominate in Germany. Photo: IMAGO / Sabine Gudath

Monday, July 12

On Monday there were 267 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 7.4 cases per 100,000 people

Covid traffic lights turn amber

Two of Berlin’s Covid-19 traffic lights turned amber over the weekend as the city’s case rate continues to rise. On Sunday a second coronavirus warning light jumped from green to amber as the R- or reproduction-rate – currently at 1.23 – remained above 1 for four days in a row. Another traffic light indicating the weekly trend in the incidence rate turned amber on Saturday after Berlin’s case rate grew 28 percent within seven days. On Monday, 267 new cases of the virus were reported – the highest daily rate since mid-June. The uptick comes as the highly contagious Delta virus variant continues to dominate infections in Berlin.

Poisonous snakes discovered in Potsdam flat

Emergency service workers discovered more than a dozen poisonous snakes in a Potsdam flat at the weekend after one of the creatures reportedly escaped. Concerned neighbours called emergency services on Saturday after the snakes’ owner said that one of his animals had disappeared. A reptile expert and firefighters attended the scene and were shocked to find 14 highly poisonous snakes living in the man’s cramped high-rise apartment. While it is legal in Brandenburg to keep poisonous animals, authorities confiscated the snakes due to the owner’s failure to provide safe, adequate conditions. 

Friday, July 9

On Friday there were 59 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 6.9 cases per 100,000 people

Berlin’s incidence rate rises

The Covid-19 incidence rate in Berlin has begun to rise as the Delta variant of the virus becomes dominant. On Friday the city’s incidence rate grew for the fifth day in a row and now stands at 6.9 cases per 100,000, the highest since June 23. Although Berlin’s case rate remains far below the winter peaks, the trend suggests that a tipping point has been reached and that infections can be expected to increase as has been seen in the UK and the Netherlands. Latest figures for Germany show that Delta was already responsible for 59 percent of new infections in the last week of June. On Friday, 59 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in Berlin, the highest number since June 23.

Tesla plant under scrutiny

Authorities carried out a complete inspection of Tesla’s Brandenburg site on Friday after the carmaker was found to have carried out works without permission. The company’s planned “Gigafactory” in Grünheide is under scrutiny following the discovery on Wednesday of three chemical tanks which had been constructed without a permit. Inspectors from Brandenburg’s Landesamt für Umwelt (LfU) said checks were needed to ensure that no other illicit work had taken place. “Supervisory authorities want to ensure that after the construction of unauthorised tanks by Tesla no further unauthorised activities have been and will be carried out on the site,” the LfU said in a statement. The US firm hopes to start building electric cars at the site by the end of 2021 but could face delays – as well as a fine – for the lapse.

Protest after topless woman ejected from playground

Half-naked protestors are to take streets this weekend after a woman was ejected from a children’s play area for being topless. Campaigners from Hedonistic International will cycle around Kreuzberg naked on Saturday in response to the removal of topless sunbather Gabrielle Lebreton from the Plansche water playground last Sunday. Police were called after Lebreton refused to cover up her breasts. While the local authority maintains that Lebreton broke the law, the French-born Berliner has gained support for her claim that she was the victim of discrimination. The protest is set to begin at midday on Saturday at Mariannenplatz.

04.05.2021,Berlin,Deutschland,GER,das Tempelhofer Feld.Corona Impfzentrum. *** 04 05 2021,Berlin,Germany,GER,the Tempelhofer Feld Corona Vaccination Center

Four of Berlin’s six Covid-19 vaccination centres are to close early this summer. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

Thursday, July 8

On Thursday there were 52 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 6.2 cases per 100,000 people

Berlin to close four of six vaccination centres early

Four of Berlin’s six Covid-19 vaccination centres are to close early following a surprise decision on Thursday. The Tempelhof centre will close on July 20 followed by facilities at the Erika Heß Eisstadion and Arena Berlin in August. This will leave just two centres in operation, at Messe Berlin and the former Tegel airport. The move comes following reassurances by health senator Dilek Kalayci in June that the facilities would remain open for the foreseeable future. Doctors groups have criticised Berlin’s vaccine centres as costly to operate, and say vaccinating in GP surgeries is much cheaper. People with vaccinations booked at the affected centres will receive alternative appointments. 

Exiled journalist attacked in Neukölln

Police are investigating after an exiled Turkish journalist living in Neukölln was injured in what appears to have been a politically-motivated attack. Erk Acarer was kicked and punched by two men near his home in Rudow on Wednesday evening, leaving him with head injuries requiring medical treatment. Acarer, who is a critic of Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and has faced numerous threats in the past, says the attackers were known to him.

Shelter reports surge in unwanted pets

The pandemic trend for pets has led to a surge in abandoned animals as Berlin emerges from lockdown. Animal shelter Tierheim Berlin says it has experienced a sudden increase in admissions of unwanted pets, with smaller animals like rabbits arriving in particularly large numbers. “Apparently many have lost interest in pets again after the easing of restrictions,” spokeswoman Annette Rost told RBB.

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Passengers travelling to Berlin from the UK and Portugal will face fewer restrictions after Germany lifted a ban on travel from the two countries. Photo: IMAGO / Frank Sorge

Tuesday, July 6

On Tuesday there were 53 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 5.3 cases per 100,000 people

Senat debates larger events and gatherings

The Senat has proposed a further easing of Berlin’s Covid-19 restrictions with more lenient rules on events and social gatherings. Here are the changes under discussion on Tuesday: 

  • Private gatherings: the limit on indoor gatherings is to be increased from 10 people from five different households to 20 people from 10 households. The nominal 100-person limit on outdoor gatherings will remain in place
  • Public events: outdoor events such as performances and sports matches are to be permitted for up to 5000 people (up from 2000) so long as the seven-day incidence rate remains below 35. Limits on indoor events may be increased from 500 to 1000 people, though the Senat has yet to agree on this point
  • Mask-wearing: FFP2 masks are set to remain compulsory on public transport. According to reports, the FFP2 requirement in restaurants and shops is to be relaxed in favour of surgical masks
  • Clubs: the Senat is debating whether to include nightclubs in the 5000-person limit on outdoor events. Currently the open-air capacity of venues is strictly limited to 250 people. Also under discussion is allowing clubs to open their indoor spaces

UK and Portugal travel relaxed

Germany has relaxed entry restrictions on people arriving from the UK and Portugal just days after Berlin pledged stricter checks on inbound passengers. Starting from Wednesday, the two countries – plus Russia, India and Nepal – will be taken off the list of Virusvariantengebiete (virus variant areas), thus ending the ban on travel into Germany for non-residents. The quarantine period for the countries will also be reduced from two weeks to 10 days, with fully vaccinated travellers no longer required to isolate at all. The news means that tougher checks pledged by Berlin last week on travellers from virus variant areas will no longer apply to Britain and Portugal. The decision was announced by the Robert Koch Institute on Monday evening and comes after a meeting last week between Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in which an easing of travel rules was discussed. The UK, whose incidence rate of 229 is 45 times higher than Germany’s, has yet to reciprocate by ending its own quarantine rules for passengers arriving from Germany.

24.03.2021, Schoenefeld, Brandenburg, GER - Polizist kontrolliert im Flughafen Berlin-Brandenburg International BER die Ausweisdokumente eines Reisenden. Abfertigung, Airport, Alltag, Atemmasken, Ausweis, Ausweisdokumente, BBI, BER, Berlin-Brandenburg International, Berlin-Schoenefeld, Brandenburg, deutsch, Deutschland, dunkelhaeutig, Europa, europaeisch, FFP2-Maske, Flughafen, Flughafen Schoenefeld, Flugpassagier, Flugreise, Gesellschaft, Identitaetskontrolle, innen, Innenaufnahme, Kaukasier, kaukasisch, Kontrolle, kontrollieren, Menschen, Mitarbeiter, Mund-Nasen-Schutz, Mundschutz, Passagier, Personen, Polizei, Polizist, QF, Querformat, Reisender, Schoenefeld, schwarz, Schwarzer, Sicherheitskontrolle, Sicherheitspersonal, Westeuropa, Wir

Air passengers from the UK and Portugal are to face tougher checks as Berlin moves to stop the spread of the Delta variant. Photo: IMAGO / Frank Sorge

Monday, July 5

On Monday there were 3 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 4.9 cases per 100,000 people

Return travellers face tougher checks

Berlin’s health authorities are introducing tougher checks on travellers from the UK and Portugal in an eleventh-hour attempt to prevent an outbreak of the Delta variant. Speaking on Friday health senator Dilek Kalayci said the city’s Gesundheitsämter would use data from passengers arriving from so-called Virusvariantengebiete (virus variant areas) to monitor compliance with the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement. While it is already standard practice for passenger data to be shared with public health offices, officials have relied on the public’s sense of duty rather than carry out checks. Arrivals from variant areas will now receive an email or phone call from their Gesundheitsamt explaining the quarantine rule, though limited resources on the ground mean policing is unlikely to go much further than that. “We will do what can be done,” Kalayci said on Friday.

BVG introduces new announcer

Passengers on Berlin’s public transport network have a new voice to guide them as the BVG completes its roll-out of new audio announcements. Berlin-born trans woman Philippa Jarke has been announcing stops on the city’s bus routes for several months; as of Monday she can also be heard on all U-Bahn and tram services. According to the transport operator, Philippa is part of a “new sound branding” and “uniform acoustic brand identity” that also includes new gongs and tones. The BVG says Philippa was selected out of a thousand candidates on account of her unique voice and strong personality.

Berliners flock to cinemas

Berliners headed to the movies in their droves over the weekend after the city’s cinemas reopened their doors after a several-month break. Critically acclaimed films like Oscar-winning Nomadland as well as changeable weather resulted in a strong opening weekend for theatres, with the Yorck cinema group reporting admissions of 10,000 people at its 14 locations. Last Thursday cinemas in Germany began reopening under strict Covid-19 restrictions, including mandatory testing and social distancing.

Fuflballfans verfolgen das Spiel Deutschland-Portugal anl‰sslich der Fuflball-Europmeisterschaftvor einer Bar im Berkiner Stadtteil Prenzlauer Berg. Wegen der geltenden Corona-Einschr‰nkungen d¸rfen G‰sten den innenraum nur mit einem aktuellen negativen Corona-Schnelltest besuchen. Die Auflenbereiche von Bars, Kneipen, Cafs und Restaurants sind frei zug‰nglich. / Soccer fans watch the Germany-Portugal match on the occasion of the European Soccer Championship in front of a bar in the Prenzlauer Berg district of Berkin. Due to the current Corona restrictions, guests are only allowed to visit the indoor area with a current negative Corona rapid test. The outdoor areas of bars, pubs, cafs and restaurants are freely accessible. Public Viewing zur

Limits on gatherings and outdoor events in Berlin will be eased on Saturday. Photo: IMAGO / Seeliger

Friday, July 2

On Friday there were 16 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 5.1 cases per 100,000 people

Lockdown rules to ease from Saturday

Rules on outdoor events and private gatherings in Berlin will be relaxed from this Saturday. Here are the changes due to take effect:

  • Private gatherings: the limit on the number of people allowed to attend private outdoor meetings has been increased to the nominal figure of 100. For indoor gatherings, the existing limit of ten people from five households remains in place
  • Public events: outdoor events such as performances and sports matches will be permitted for up to 2000 people (up from 1000), with proof of a negative test, vaccination or previous infection required for events with more than 500 participants. Indoors, permitted attendee numbers will increase from 250 to 500
  • Universities: higher education institutions are permitted to open as normal, though many universities have chosen to continue with remote learning
  • Retailers and public buildings: shops, museums and libraries no longer have to take down personal information from visitors
  • Gyms and leisure venues: visitors to gyms, yoga and dance studios, evening classes and music schools will only be required to wear a surgical mask. Previously an FFP2 covering was mandatory
Mietendemo DEU, Deutschland, Germany, Berlin, 23.05.2021 Demonstranten mit Fahnen Deutsche Wohnen und CO Enteignen Volksentscheid Jetzt auf der Demonstration von Mieterorganisationen und politischen Initiativen gegen hohe steigende Mieten, teure Modernisierungen, Gentrifizierung und Zwangsraeumungen unter dem Motto Gegen Mietenwahnsinn Jetzt Erst Recht, Gegen Verdraengung und Mieten Wahnsinn stoppen Mietenwahnsinn, in Berlin. Durch die COVID-19-Pandemie Coronakrise hat sich diese Krise dramatisch verschaerft. Demo fuer die Unterstuetzung der Kampagne Deutsche Wohnen und CO Enteignen. en: Protesters with flags Deutsche Wohnen and CO expropriate referendum now Deutsche Wohnen und CO Enteignen Volksentscheid Jetzt during a demonstration ot t

The campaign group Deutsche Wohnen & Co. enteignen has gathered enough signatures to force a vote on nationalising Berlin’s housing. Photo: IMAGO / IPON

Thursday, July 1

On Thursday there were 46 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 5.5 cases per 100,000 people

Housing referendum set for September

A referendum to bring Berlin’s housing stock back into public hands is to take place after a petition by campaigners gathered enough signatures to force a vote. Deutsche Wohnen & Co. enteignen (“Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen & Co.”) gathered almost 360,000 supporters for their proposal to forcibly acquire properties owned by large landlords. While a third of the signatures were found invalid, the campaign easily met the seven percent threshold needed to secure a vote. If the city’s voters give the initiative their support in a September poll, private landlords in possession of more than 3000 flats (such as the soon-to-merge Deutsche Wohnen and Vonovia) could have them expropriated by the state. But the referendum, which is to be held in parallel with state and national elections on September 26, would not guarantee a change in the law unless it also gains support from the newly-elected House of Representatives.

Employees of online supermarket Picnic at the office in Duivendrecht, The Netherlands, 28 June 2021. The advice to work from home during the coronavirus has expired, now that a new round of relaxation has been announced. ANP JEROEN JUMELET *** Employees of online supermarket Picnic at the office in Duivendrecht, The Netherlands, 28 June 2021 The advice to work from home during the coronavirus has expired, now that a new round of relaxation has been announced ANP JEROEN JUMELET PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xHollandsexHoogtex/xxANPx x433137047x

From July 1 Berlin companies will no longer be required to offer remote working to employees. Photo: IMAGO / ANP

Wednesday, June 30

On Wednesday there were 26 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 5.7 cases per 100,000 people

Cinemas set to reopen

Just in time for the wet weather: many of Berlin’s cinemas are to reopen their doors for the first time in months on Thursday. Theatres set to open include the Yorck group with its 14 locations, the CineStar chain and Kino Central in Mitte. Other screens such as Mitte’s Babylon are waiting for the weekend to welcome visitors, while Lichtblick in Prenzlauer Berg will run a special programme to celebrate the end of the enforced break. Some cinemas like Wolf Kino in Neukölln are holding off opening, blaming low demand in the summer months. Oscar-winner Nomadland is set to be the most widely-screened title in Berlin theatres, which will impose strict limits on audience numbers. As expected, a negative Covid test or proof of vaccination or previous infection is required to attend, with visitors asked to wear masks unless in their seats.

Berlin labour market shows recovery

Unemployment in Berlin has dropped to its lowest level since April 2020 in a sign that the capital’s labour market is recovering from the pandemic. According to the latest figures from the Federal Employment Agency, 199,345 people in Berlin were registered as unemployed in June – a decrease of 5033 on the previous month. It is the first time the jobless rate has been below the 200,000 mark in over a year, although conditions have yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels: Berlin’s current unemployment rate of 9.8 percent is still significantly higher than it was at the end of 2019, where joblessness stood at 7.7 percent.

Mandatory remote working to end

CEOs are rejoicing, employees perhaps less so: from July 1 companies are no longer required to offer remote working to their staff. For many Berliners in office-based jobs, working from home has been the norm since Germany began belatedly mandating the practice in April. But the change in the law this Thursday means employers will be allowed to request that staff attend their place of work as normal. Evidence suggests that few employees will be willing to return to business as usual: according to a study commissioned by the Federal Employment Agency, three-quarters of home workers are happy to stay where they are.

Menschen feiern an einem warmen Sommertag im Volkspark Hasenheide in Berlin am 19. Juni 2021. Menschen feiern im Hasenheide in Berlin *** People celebrate on a warm summer day at Volkspark Hasenheide in Berlin on June 19, 2021 People celebrate at Hasenheide in Berlin

Berlin’s police union has called for parks to be cordoned off to clamp down on illegal parties. Photo: IMAGO / Emmanuele Contini

Tuesday, June 29

On Tuesday there were 22 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 5.9 cases per 100,000 people

Police call for parks to be fenced off

Berlin’s police union has called for the city’s parks to be fenced off in a bid to clamp down on illegal partying. Speaking on Monday, GdP spokesman Benjamin Jendro called on local authorities to introduce fences, security and a curfew to limit access to Berlin’s green spaces at night. But the proposals have been dismissed by district politicians, including the leaders of the Neukölln and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg authorities. “Anyone who thinks a fence will help will be hit with reality very quickly because these parties will just take place outside the parks,” Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg mayor Monika Herrmann (Green) told RBB news. The debate comes following another weekend of large-scale partying in parks such as Neukölln’s Hasenheide, which police cleared on Saturday night after thousands of people gathered for a rave. 

Steglitz residents evacuated after bomb find 

3000 people in Steglitz were evacuated from their homes on Monday after a World War II bomb was discovered during construction work. The uncovering of the 250kg German-made explosive led police to set up a 300-metre exclusion zone around the Oehlertring cul-de-sac, with helicopters deployed to assist the evacuation effort.  Experts were able to diffuse the device by 9pm, allowing residents to return home.

Protest f¸r Gleichstellung: Tausende Demonstranten ziehen in Berlin unter dem Dach des Christopher Street Day zum Alexanderplatz. Wegen der Pandemie wurden die Teilnehmer auf drei Z¸ge aufgeteilt, die sich f¸r verschiedene politische Interessen einsetzten. Berlin, 26.06.2021 *** Protest for equality Thousands of demonstrators march to Alexanderplatz in Berlin under the umbrella of Christopher Street Day Because of the pandemic, the participants were divided into three platoons, which advocated for different political interests Berlin, 26 06 2021 Foto:xB.xKriemannx/xFuturexImage

Thousands of people from Berlin’s LGBTQ+ community descended on Alexanderplatz on Saturday to kick off the pride season. Photo: IMAGO / Future Image

Monday, June 28

On Monday there were 0 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 6.5 cases per 100,000 people

Zero cases in Berlin as delta variant spreads

No new cases of Covid-19 were reported in Berlin on Sunday as the city experiences its lowest infection rates since last summer. According to the latest figures from the Robert Koch Institute, the seven-day incidence rate stands at 6.5 cases per 100,000 people – a figure not seen August 2020. Some of the decrease can be accounted for by delays in reporting cases and reduced testing capacity at the weekend, meaning reported infections are likely to rise again on Monday. The figures come amid warnings from German state leaders of the threat posed by the fast-spreading delta variant. Figures published last week showed the share of delta variant cases in Germany doubled within seven days, raising the prospect of a new wave of infections.

Pride season kicks off with march

Thousands of people from Berlin’s LGBTQ+ community took to the streets on Saturday for the “CSD-Sterndemo” marking the beginning of the pride season. With music playing and pride flags hoisted, 5000 people marched from start points in Kreuzberg, Neukölln and Prenzlauer Berg towards a central gathering point on Alexanderplatz. The demonstration is intended as an alternative to the larger, typically more commercialised CSD (Christopher Street Day) parade due to take place on July 24.

Delivery startup faces fine

Grocery delivery startup Gorillas is facing a fine for failing to apply for permission to operate its warehouse in Prenzlauer Berg. The firm runs a ‘dark’ supermarket – a room where delivery employees pick food and drink to deliver to customers – on Prenzlauer Allee, but according to a report in the Tagesspiegel on Monday it has failed to apply for the necessary permit. After complaints from local residents that delivery vans were constantly blocking the pavement outside, the Ordnungsamt gave the Berlin-based startup a deadline of June 18 to apply for proper permission. According to the report Gorillas has ignored the deadline and will now be fined for obstructing public space.

Police break up outdoor raves

Young people took to Berlin’s parks in large numbers again at the weekend, leading police to clear a number of impromptu raves. The largest gatherings took place on Saturday night in Neukölln’s Hasenheide park, which has long been a centre for unofficial outdoor parties. Police used a helicopter to break up three large raves in the park, which had attracted thousands following the pride march earlier in the day. The James Simon Park opposite Museum Island in Mitte was also cleared after large numbers assembled on the grass. Despite newly-eased Covid-19 rules, large outdoor gatherings are only permitted if official safety measures are in place.

April 15, 2021, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain: In this photo illustration, the Airbnb app in App Store seen displayed on a smartphone screen with the Airbnb logo in the background. Barcelona Spain - ZUMAd159 20210415_zia_d159_023 Copyright: xThiagoxPrudenciox

Airbnb will be forced to hand over details of illegally rented flats following a court ruling. Photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Friday, June 25

On Friday there were 55 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 7.1 cases per 100,000 people

Walk-in vaccine centre opens to all Berliners

This weekend Berliners can get a Covid-19 vaccine without registering at a pop-up centre in Reinickendorf. As part of the city’s neighbourhood jab drive, all adults registered in Berlin can attend the Mark-Twain-Grundschule at Auguste-Viktoria-Allee 95 on Saturday and Sunday between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm to receive the shot. To take up the offer all you need to do is show your ID and your registration (Anmeldung). Full details are available on the Senat website.

Court forces Airbnb to report illegal rentals 

Airbnb will be forced to hand over the details of users who are suspected of illegally renting out flats following a court ruling. Since 2018, every holiday apartment listing must by law include a registration number proving that the owner has registered their property for tourists. Berlin’s administrative court ruled on Wednesday that if the number is incorrect or absent, local authorities will have the power to force rental platforms like Airbnb to provide the name and address of the user. The decision was welcomed by politicians in all the coalition parties. “Districts can now take powerful action against illegal holiday flats and thus better fulfil their task of protecting living space from misuse,” Green housing spokesperson Katrin Schmidberger said of the ruling.

Philharmoniker in outdoor debut

The Berliner Philharmoniker is to return to the stage this Saturday for the first large-scale outdoor concert in the city since the beginning of the lockdown. As part of a pilot project, 6000 audience members are to attend the socially-distanced show at the Waldbühne in Olympiapark, marking the start of the traditional summer season of classical concerts. Attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test from an approved provider in order to get in. Tickets are still available for the concert, which will feature pieces by Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin conducted by Wayne Marshall.

Night train to Stockholm set for launch

A daily night train linking Berlin and Stockholm is to launch on Monday, marking the first direct service between the two cities since the 1990s. Operated by Swedish company Snälltåget, the train leaves Gesundbrunnen station at 18h54 and arrives in Stockholm at 14h20 the next day. The service to Berlin leaves the Swedish capital at 16h20 and arrives at Hauptbahnhof at 8h52 the following morning. The train also makes stops in the Swedish city of Malmö, in Denmark (though not Copenhagen) and Hamburg. Passengers can book couchette beds, reclining seats as well as regular seats for the journey.

Das Gaswerk Schˆneberg Gasometer ist Zeugnis der Gasversorgungsgeschichte Berlins und steht unter Denkmalschutz. Der Gasbeh‰lter IV ist Wahrzeichen des Ortsteils Schˆneberg und Symbol f¸r die Schˆneberger Insel , dem ehemaligen Arbeiterwohnquartier 2020-11-15 *** The Schˆneberg Gasometer is a testimony to Berlins gas supply history and is a listed building The Gas Container IV is the landmark of the Schˆneberg district and a symbol of Schˆneberg Island, the former workers residential quarter 2020 11 15

The iconic gasometer in Schöneberg is to become office space after the local authority gave development plans its blessing. Photo: IMAGO / Massimo Rodari

Thursday, June 24

On Thursday there were 37 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 6.5 cases per 100,000 people

Senat confirms free kids’ swimming 

Berlin’s under-13s will be able to visit open-air swimming pools free of charge during the school holidays, the Senat has confirmed. As the city’s school children break up for the summer, €760,000 has been made available to the Berliner Bäder-Betriebe which will allow it to offer free tickets to any youngsters that want to swim. But whether kids will be able to secure slots at the city’s baths is an open question: demand at many venues is outstripping supply. The pools operator promised this week to increase capacity so more youngsters will be able to hit the water.

Green light for gasometer development

Schöneberg’s gasometer is to be rebuilt as an office tower after the district’s local assembly approved development plans for the historic structure. Local residents and politicians had been fiercely opposed to the scheme – which will see the 110-year-old gas holder filled in with offices – due to the structure’s architectural significance. On Wednesday, members of the “Gasometer retten” initiative protested outside Rathaus Schöneberg as the ruling was being announced. Located on the Euref science campus, the gasometer once supplied much of the area with gas and since closing has become a popular tourist attraction. Work has already begun on filling in the centre of the iron tower, which is set to house Deutsche Bahn’s “digital rail” division. 

Signalling problems ruin U-Bahn record attempt

Held up at the lights: an attempt to travel to all stations on Berlin’s U-Bahn network in record time failed on Wednesday after a red signal on the U8 left the challengers waiting. Lorenz Wünsch and Till Rasche from Frankfurt set out at 5.40am for their attempt at the Berlin version of the Tube Challenge, where keen London Underground passengers compete to travel to all stops on the network. Progress for the pair was good until 11am, when their train got held up at Gesundbrunnen for three minutes. The delay meant the duo would never be able catch up with record-holder Adham Fisher, who travelled to all of Berlin’s 175 metro stations in just six hours and 53 minutes in 2014.  

Mitarbeiter desinfiziert Gelaender im Freibad Kreuzberg in Berlin am 27. Mai 2020. Das Freibad der Berliner Baederbetriebe faengt die Badesaison mit verschiedenen Restiktionen wegen des Coronavirus Covid-19. Freibad Kreuzberg startet Badesaison *** Employee disinfects railings in the Kreuzberg outdoor pool in Berlin on 27 May 2020 The outdoor pool of Berliner Baederbetriebe starts the bathing season with various restictions due to the coronavirus Covid 19 Outdoor pool Kreuzberg starts bathing season

Children are to be given free entry to Berlin’s outdoor pools in proposals being discussed this week. Photo: IMAGO / Emmanuele Contini

Tuesday, June 22

On Tuesday there were 41 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 7.1 cases per 100,000 people

Restrictions on gatherings to be scrapped

The Senat is set to scrap all limits on private outdoor gatherings in another easing of the lockdown rules due to be agreed on Tuesday. According to a draft proposal, the current 10 person, five household limit will in future only apply to indoor gatherings. The change will mean that individuals can gather outside with as many people as they like, and is likely to anger the cultural sector for whom strict limits on open-air events still apply. Also in the draft law is a proposal to loosen mask-wearing rules for shops, gyms and events so that people only need to wear a medical mask instead of a FFP2 covering. The final measures are set to be agreed at a meeting of senators on Tuesday afternoon. 

Senat debates free summer swimming

Berlin’s school children are to be able to swim for free at the city’s outdoor swimming pools and lidos under plans being considered by the Senat on Tuesday. In a drive to get youngsters in the water after a Covid-induced break, children and young people will be given free entry to all facilities operated by the Berliner Bäder-Betriebe. The city’s schools begin their six-week summer holiday this Thursday. The proposal is set to be given the green light by the city government this week.

18.06.2021, Brandenburg, Gemeinde Oberkr‰mer Waldbrand bei Bˆtzow, Mehrere Heltar Wald brennen, Es kommt derzeit zu einer erheblich starken Rauchentwicklung. Zahlreiche Feuerwehr sind im Einsatz, Luftaufnahmen von Bˆtzow. *** 18 06 2021, Brandenburg, municipality Oberkr‰mer forest fire near Bˆtzow, Several Heltar forest burn, It comes at present to a considerably strong smoke development Numerous fire-brigades are in the employment, Aerial photographs of Bˆtzow

Firefighters were battling a blaze in a Brandenburg forest at the weekend as temperatures in the region soared. Photo: IMAGO / CHP

Monday, June 21

On Monday 1 new Covid-19 infection was reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 7.5 cases per 100,000 people

Firefighters tackle wildfires as Berlin bakes

Firefighters in Brandenburg were battling to control wildfires over the weekend as the region experienced some of the hottest June weather in living memory. By Friday afternoon temperatures had hit 36 degrees celsius in Mitte, with continued nighttime heat providing apartment dwellers little reprieve. North of Berlin, firefighting crews spent the whole weekend fighting a forest fire in Bötzow; as of Monday morning the blaze continued to burn. The hot weather brought Berliners to pools, lakes and rivers in droves, while water use soared. According to the Berliner Wasserbetriebe, the city consumed 911,000 cubic metres of drinking water on Thursday – the highest daily usage in 20 years. 

Injuries in Wedding shooting

Three people were seriously injured in a shooting in Wedding on Sunday night. Scores of heavily-armed police officers attended a shisha bar on the corner of Müllerstraße and Transvaalstraße at around 11pm, cordoning off a large area. The injured men were taken to hospital; according to DPA reports one of the victims had been shot seven or eight times. Police have yet to identify a suspect.

Flotilla demonstration for club freedoms

Demonstrators from Berlin’s nightlife scene took to the water on Sunday to protest against strict Covid-19 limits placed on clubs. In a part-demonstration part-party, dozens of inflatable boats and larger vessels gathered for a “Rave-o-lution” on the Landwehrkanal and drifted through Kreuzberg and Neukölln. The city’s nightlife industry has been frustrated by the 250-person limit the Senat imposed on outdoor parties in its easing of the lockdown rules this month. Club operators say the limit, as well as strict testing requirements, mean youngsters are being driven to unofficial parties in parks and warehouses where no safety rules are enforced. Police estimate around 150 people took part in the flotilla and said Covid rules were largely followed. A similar, larger gathering in May last year caused nationwide uproar after scores of people were seen celebrating on the canal in front of the Klinikum Am Urban hospital in Neukölln.

21.04.2021, Berlin, GER - Mensch betritt eine Impfpraxis. MRyes, Anschnitt, Beine, betreten, Coronaepidemie, Coronakrise, Coronapandemie, deutsch, Deutschland, Eingang, eintreten, Europa, europaeisch, Gesellschaft, Hinweis, Hinweisschild, Immunisierung, Impf-Praxis, Impfpraxis, Impfstrategie, Impfung, Impfzentrum, Mensch, Person, Pfeil, QF, Querformat, Schild, Wegweiser, Westeuropa, Wirtschaft 210421D001BERLIN.JPG *** 21 04 2021, Berlin, GER man enters a vaccination practice MR yes, cut, legs, enter, corona epidemic, corona crisis, corona pandemic, german, germany, entrance, enter, europe, european, society, notice, sign, immunization, vaccination practice, vaccination strategy, vaccination, vaccination center, human, person, arrow, QF,

Half of all Berliners have now received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Photo: IMAGO / Frank Sorge

Friday, June 18

On Thursday there were 63 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 8.4 cases per 100,000 people

Half of Berliners now vaccinated 

Fifty percent of Berlin’s population has now been vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the latest figures. Announcing the news on Thursday, health senator Dilek Kalayci talked of a “gratifying milestone”, with 1.8 million people in the capital having received at least one dose of the vaccine. Just under 1 million city residents are now fully vaccinated – equating to 27 percent of the population. But Berlin still has some way to go: the Robert Koch Institute says that 80 percent of the population needs to be immune to the virus (either through vaccination or having been infected) for normal life to resume.

Outdoor cinemas call for easing of rules

Mandatory Covid-19 testing for outdoor cinema visits should be scrapped, Berlin’s largest open-air theatre operator has said. In an open letter published on Wednesday, Piffl Medien, which operates outdoor screens in Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg and Wedding, said the rule was inconsistent with the Senat’s decision to end testing requirements for outdoor dining and drinking. Unlike restaurant guests, visitors to open-air films still have to provide evidence of a negative Covid test or vaccination upon entry. “What is the basis for categorising the risk of infection as higher than in beer gardens or at public [sport] viewings in front of bars?” the operator says. The letter calls on the city to revise the rules by Monday, when cinemas return to normal operations following the Berlinale.

New lockdown rules come into force

Berliners were enjoying fresh freedoms on Friday as newly-eased lockdown rules came into force. Big changes from June 18 include the ending of mandatory mask-wearing on busy streets and the reopening of clubs. Here’s an overview of the new measures:

  • Masks: the requirement to wear a face mask on busy streets has been scrapped. The exception is when queuing and in instances where social distancing is not possible. Demonstrators must also cover up
  • Clubs: nightclub venues are allowed to host outdoor dance events for up to 250 people. Guests must wear a mask and show proof of a negative Covid-19 test, vaccination or previous infection upon entry
  • Alcohol: the ban on late-night sales of alcoholic drinks has been lifted. Pubs, restaurants and Spätis are now allowed to sell drinks throughout the night (previously there was a curfew at midnight) 
  • Outdoor events: the attendance limit for Covid-safe open-air events (but not club nights) has been increased to 1000 people (previously it was 500)
  • Indoor events: the attendance limit for seated indoor events has been increased to 250 people (previously it was 100)
  • Private gatherings: outdoor limits remain the same: a maximum of 10 people from five different households can meet. Indoors the rules have been eased, with 10 people from three households now allowed to gather 
  • Hairdressers: the requirement to show a negative Covid test has been scrapped
  • Pools and saunas: indoor swimming pools, saunas and spas may now reopen. Guests are required to show a negative Covid-19 test or equivalent evidence
Polizei im Einsatz in der Rigaer Strasse 94 in Berlin Polizei im Einsatz in der Rigaer Strasse 94 in Berlin Berlin Rigaer Strafle 94 Berlin GER *** Police on duty at Rigaer Strasse 94 in Berlin Police on duty at Rigaer Strasse 94 in Berlin Berlin Rigaer Strasse 94 Berlin GER

Police forcibly entered the Rigaer 94 squat in Friedrichshain on Thursday after months of legal tussles. Photo: IMAGO / Bernd Elmenthaler

Thursday, June 17

On Thursday there were 63 new Covid-19 infections reported in Berlin. The seven-day incidence currently stands at 10.7 cases per 100,000 people

Police enter Rigaer 94 squat

Police forcibly entered the Rigaer 94 squat in Friedrichshain on Thursday following a month-long legal standoff over an inspection of the house’s interior. As occupants attempted to barricade themselves in, officers used chainsaws and angle grinders to force their way into the building before gaining access at around 12.30pm. Police subsequently announced that the planned fire safety inspection had been carried out by representatives of the block’s landlord. Rigaer 94 residents and their supporters had been promising fierce resistance to the inspection, leading police to mount a huge presence with over 1000 officers and other emergency service workers deployed to the area. On Thursday morning occupants made a last-minute offer to allow inspectors access to the building without a police presence, but this was rejected by the landlord. Instead the operation went ahead as planned with residents resisting police with fire extinguishers and paint. According to the police, a total of 21 officers were injured during the operation.

Clubs to reopen dance floors

Berlin’s clubs are preparing to reopen their dance floors this weekend after the Senat gave outdoor parties the green light on Tuesday. From Friday, clubs with outdoor space will be allowed to host “Tanzlustbarkeiten” (“dance festivities”) for up to 250 guests with strict Covid rules in place, including mask wearing and mandatory testing. Venues including Club der Visionäre, Ritter Butzke, ://about blank and Sisyphos are set to open their open-air spaces, though ravers hoping for an all-nighter will be disappointed: most of the events are set to end at midnight at the latest.

Feature Maskenpflicht Ein Schild an einem Laternenmast, dass auf das tragen einer Maske hinweist am 06.06.2021 in Berlin. Berlin Berlin Deutschland *** Feature Maskenpflicht A sign on a lamppost that indicates wearing a mask on 06 06 2021 in Berlin Berlin Germany

Mandatory mask wearing on Berlin’s busiest streets will be scrapped starting this Friday. Photo: IMAGO / Christian Spicker