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  • Daily Berlin Corona update: Monday, May 4

Berlin

Daily Berlin Corona update: Monday, May 4

Senat's health committee discusses restaurants' future, a federal 'immunity pass', testing and more. Berliners get their hair cut, eat bread and get ready for church while police bust a stoner-Corona party.

Image for Daily Berlin Corona update: Monday, May 4

As of Monday night, the officially confirmed number of Corona infections in Berlin lies at 6036.

  • There are 6036 confirmed cases in Berlin.
  • So far, 5154 people have been declared recovered from Covid-19.
  • Of those infected, 2986 are male, 3041 are female. Nine did not specify their gender.
  • 484 people are currently in hospital as a result of the virus, 145 are in intensive care.
  • The total number of casualties lies at 154, 11 of them were under 60 years of age. The average age of the deceased is 81.5.

Today at the Abgeordnetenhaus: restaurants, ‘immunity pass’, testing and more

Mayor Michael Müller (SPD) has spoken since last week of wanting to present the gastronomy sector with a plan. In anticipation of Wednesday’s federal debate and press conference, Berlin’s Senator of Commerce Ramona Pop (Greens) has criticised neighbouring state Niedersachsen for announcing all their restaurants will be allowed to open on May 11, along with hotels on May 25. Pop said Berlin had, together with Berlin restauranteurs, prepared a step-by-step plan to be discussed on Wednesday. Opposition parties CDU, FDP and AfD all demanded steps to reopen asap. 

Berlin Health Senator Dilek Kalayci (SPD) has rejected German Health Secretary Jens Spahn’s (CDU) suggestion to introduce a Covid-19 ‘immunity pass’ for those who get positive Corona-antibody test results. Kalayci called Spahn out for bad timing and said she’ll pass on the ‘pass’ because it could lead to social discrimination of at-risk groups, encourage self-infection and Corona parties and, perhaps most embarrassingly for Spahn, it’s not even clear how long immunity against the virus lasts once a patient recovers. Instead, Kalayci is pushing for more testing (without specifying who or how).

Antje Kapek, head of city parliament’s Green group, has put the idea of an inner-city toll back on the table. In a Tagesspiegel interview she pointed out the BVG’s great Corona losses and that an extra source of money for the city’s public transport was needed. She said it could be a toll or general public transport fee. Not so long ago, the government was thinking aloud about free public transport for all. Corona stinks!

Police operations, mask shortage and BVG news

According to the Berlin medical association (Ärztekammer), the mask shortage continues. Board member Thomas Werner told the city parliament health committee that FFP2 and FFP3 masks are still in short supply. Meanwhile, the resident doctors’ association reported only one doctor’s office in the city is currently closed. In March they reported 100 offices out of service – either because of quarantined staff or a lack of protective equipment. The association reported having purchased gear worth €20 million and distributed it to Berlin doctors. (For the whole mask saga, click here.)

The Landeskriminalamt (State Office of Criminal Investigation) continues to search for the attackers who assaulted a ZDF crew shooting for the satirical Heute Show on Friday. The camera team and reporter were collecting footage of a demonstration against the anti-Corona measures near Alexanderplatz. Three of the six arrested suspects are known members of violent leftist groups, and four were Berliners.

Stoner party busted: On Sunday afternoon police were called to an apartment building on Kreuzberg’s Planufer (right next door to Maybachufer) – the scene of what B.Z. and others have identified as a ‘Corona party’. Apparently, several people had been using the building’s communal terrace to do drugs and get criminally close to each other. Needless to say the party was over.

The BVG is back on track: All U-Bahn and bus lines are running on their usual non-crisis, non-holiday schedules. The only line that’s not running is the U55, but we doubt many will miss it. On the bus, you’ll still need to hop on in the back. Tickets can be bought from machines or the app, distancing rules apply and, of course, don’t forget your Alltagsmaske (and learn all about it here).

Crisis to-do list: Eat bread, get hair cut, pray

The state of hair emergency is over, as of today Berliners can finally go to the hairdresser’s again – provided their salon of choice isn’t too popular and already booked for weeks (some were already taking appointments over the phone) or has a queue going down the street. People are clearly excited about this particular ban being lifted. Some nail studios even opened their doors in the frenzy, likely not realising they’re not yet allowed. Dry cuts, beard trimming and other beauty treatments are not permitted and both the stylist and client must wear a mask.

Another fact the Corona crisis has already taught us about Berliners is that, when the world goes to pieces, they/we better eat some more bread. The head of the city’s bakers’ guild told the DPA that while stockpiling has stopped (he said individual customers would buy 10kg of the good stuff), bread sales are still up above average. Cakes and pies are less popular these days. Well, let them eat bread! 

Church congregations are getting ready for the first services post-Corona ban with up to 50 attendees this week. There will be no singing, no sacrament, no holy water, no more than two acolytes and two-to-four helpers making sure everyone disinfects their hands for at least 30 seconds upon entering. Protestant churches also strongly recommend wearing Mundschutz. But truly devoted churchgoers won’t mind the extra hassle, right?