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  • Daily Berlin news update: Wednesday, July 29


Daily Berlin news update: Wednesday, July 29

Corona testing starts at Tegel, police break up more park raves, Corona deniers plan demo on Saturday and tracking customers after outbreak at Neukölln bar proves difficult. Here’s the day’s news.

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Corona testing starts at Tegel, police break up more park raves

A Corona test station for travellers returning from high-risk areas has been set up at Tegel Airport. Starting today at Terminal A, passengers will be able to be tested for the virus without charge. The same is planned for Schönefeld at Terminal L from Thursday. It’s easy to see why the tests are needed: only a few days ago, a couple returning from Manchester on a Ryanair flight tested positive for Covid-19 six days after they arrived back in Berlin. At least 50 of their close contacts are now in quarantine. Outbreaks have increased all over Germany, so the testing stations are installed with the hope of identifying infections early and containing the virus.

The police have had to break up more illegal parties in Berlin’s parks. Last night, 250 teenagers gathered in Volkspark Friedrichshain for an illegal party that was broken up by the police by 2am. This was shortly after about 1200 people gathered in Hasenheide to listen to performing musicians. This, too, was shut down by the police, who say attendees weren’t keeping the necessary distance and largely didn’t wear face masks. These events follow a 3000-person rave in Hasenheide that was broken up by police over the weekend.

Corona deniers plan demo on Saturday, tracking customers after outbreak at Neukölln bar proves difficult

A demonstration along the Straße des 17. Juni to celebrate the “end of the pandemic” is planned for this Saturday. Organisers claim around 500,000 people will turn up for “Freedom Day”, including the many who will use one of the 3000 buses that have been scheduled to bring protestors from all over Germany. An eclectic crowd of conspiracy theorists and virus deniers, along with a strong far-right element, is expected, according to the organisation’s spokesperson Stephan Bergmann. He claims Corona is a “fake virus” made up by “fake scientists” who aim to instantiate a communist state. Though the march is officially ideologically neutral and single-issue, Pegida’s Thorsten Schulte will speak and the NPD are expected to be present. Many anti-facist demonstrations are also planned to counter the right-wing presence. 

At least 18 Covid-19 infections have been traced back to the Neukölln pub Brauhaus Neulich. Around 70 people have now been placed in quarantine, but the health department is still trying to track down 41 other customers who came to the venue between July 16 – 18, the dates visitors contracted the virus. Those 41 cannot be found because they gave incorrect information to the bar, or did not give enough details. The management appears to have been very slack in ensuring customers filled in the required forms. 

Confusion over school rules, Senat to release rent index for 2021

Summer holidays for school children will end in less than two weeks, but it’s unclear what conditions students will return to at school. Right now, all we know are a few rough measures: classes will take place in person, without distance measures. It’s still unclear if parents should be allowed to decide to keep their kids at home or if face masks will have to be worn inside the school buildings. 

The Berlin Senat has announced the development of a new rent index for 2021. They will release the new index despite the Mietendeckel, which will keep the rent (for most properties) at the rate it was in June 2019 for the next five years. The rent index guides the cost of rent for an area according to a home’s size, age, furnishing and location. It regulates rent prices, as rent may only be 10 percent above the location’s usual rent. The new index is supposed to replace the one from 2019 and provide an updated and accurate portrayal of Berlin’s rent situation.