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  • Daily Berlin Corona update: Thursday, June 11

Berlin

Daily Berlin Corona update: Thursday, June 11

Turkish airlines reactivate Berlin connections, traffic in the city back to pre-Corona levels and the BVG observes decline in mask-wearing diligence. Also: what the Corona tracking app will cost and pool operators crack down on pandemic deniers.

Image for Daily Berlin Corona update: Thursday, June 11

As of Thursday night, the officially confirmed number of Corona infections in Berlin lies at 7164.

  • There have been 7164 confirmed cases in Berlin to date.
  • So far, 6582 people have been declared recovered from Covid-19.
  • Of those infected so far, 3524 have been male, 3637 have been female. Three did not specify their gender.
  • 127 people are currently in hospital as a result of the virus, 41 are in intensive care.
  • The total number of casualties lies at 208, 14 of them were under 60 years of age. The average age of the deceased was 81.
  • Today’s R number* lies at 0.88, the number of weekly new infections per 100,000 Berliners is at 4.9, and only 3.3 percent of ICU beds are taken up by Covid-19 patients.

*The R number is the average number of people an individual with the virus infects. While a useful indicator of how fast Covid-19 is spreading, the number can be skewed by small local clusters of infections.

Border-free travel coming soon, another quarantine rule lifted and heavy traffic

The EU Commissioner for Home Affairs has called on all Schengen states to cease border controls by Monday because of the “ improved pandemic situation”. And while the German government has extended its travel warning for 160 countries including Turkey, Turkish Airlines subsidiary Anadolu Jet has reactivated its connections between Berlin and Istanbul as well as Ankara today. The world is getting larger (or smaller) again!

At the same time, the city’s Administrative Court has ruled that people travelling to Germany from outside the Schengen zone no longer have to enter a 14-day mandatory quarantine. A Berliner planning to return home from Mexico had complained about the rule. The judges argued the regulation could only apply to people who are sick or suspected of carrying the virus – a suspicion that cannot be legally applied to anyone coming from outside the EU. It’s a de-confining world out there.  

Back here in Berlin, traffic has almost reached its pre-Corona level, the Traffic Information Centre reports. On parts of Potsdamer Straße, for example it is back to its former level of congestion, while Leipziger Straße is among the streets that are the furthest from pre-pandemic levels, at about 90 percent. Frankfurter Allee is getting around 95 percent of its usual motorised traffic. Actual congestions mostly happen in the afternoon, while the morning commute is more spread out.

Image for Daily Berlin Corona update: Thursday, June 11

Plan B for schools under attack, demo de-escalation and Corona app pricetag

Not everyone is convinced schools will be sufficiently prepared in case Corona strikes again after the summer holidays. Yesterday the Senat’s Health Office sent out a six-page letter to schools, listing a set of standards they would have to adhere to, including, for example, a minimum of three hours’ worth of lessons per day for every primary school pupil. CDU opposition MP Dirk Stettner had a bit of a déjà-vu and criticised the Senat for, once more, leaving schools to make their own safety plans.

The Senat wants to cooperate with demonstration organisers to make protests in the city as safe as possible. The government has been criticised for not making sure protesters kept the 1.5m distance during Saturday’s anti-racism demonstration on Alexanderplatz. They are now offering to liaise more closely with demo organisers to find alternative routes or locations to ensure hygiene standards can be met. Sunday’s #Unteilbar protest against social injustice and racism shouldn’t be a problem: participants will form a long, socially distanced human chain from Alexanderplatz through Kreuzberg to Neukölln. 

The German government’s Corona tracking app will to cost €20 million – a good price for the complex application according to government sources cited by AFP.  Once the app is programmed (by Deutsche Telekom and SAP), operating costs will be €2.5 to €3.5 million per month, mainly for two hotlines: one for technical support questions and one for confirmation for when someone reports a positive test result. Man, will they be disappointed when privacy-conscious Germans opt out!

Image for Daily Berlin Corona update: Thursday, June 11

Pandemics sceptics and BVG observations

The BVG is monitoring passengers’ mask-wearing behaviour (through CCTV on platforms, estimates from ticket inspectors and other personnel) and sending a weekly report to the Senat. Over the last few weeks, they report decreasing diligence – depending on the time of day. Their last evaluation says that, on average, 78 percent of passengers wear their Alltagsmasken (85 percent on the U-Bahn and buses, 75 percent on trams). During rush hour though, it’s more than 90 percent. At least it’s not the other way around.

Public pool operators Berliner Bäderbetriebe are cracking down on pandemic sceptics: A Tagesspiegel reader reported to the paper that he’d witnessed a woman being kicked out of Insulanerbad in Steglitz for swimming too briskly (eight police were at the scene) and a man was turned out for going up the stairs on the wrong side of the staircase (four police got on the case). Bäderbetriebe told Tagesspiegel both were Corona deniers. Ah. Now it makes perfect sense!

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