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  • Daily Berlin Corona update: Friday, June 12 – Sunday, June 14


Daily Berlin Corona update: Friday, June 12 – Sunday, June 14

Sunday's Unteilbar demo largest protest since Corona outbreak, police disperse noisy teen crowd in Gleisdreick and airports face €1.5bn black hole. Plus: more museums set to reopen.

Image for Daily Berlin Corona update: Friday, June 12 - Sunday, June 14

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

Weekend update:

  • On Sunday night, the count of confirmed Berlin Corona cases was 7321. 6656 had recovered, the death toll lies at 208.

On Sunday Unteilbar, an organization committed to combating racism, anti-Semitism, exclusion and climate injustice, hosted a demonstration featuring a human chain stretching 9km from Brandenburg Gate to Hermannplatz in Neukölln. On Unteilbar’s social media channels organizers reminded demonstrators to maintain social distancing and wear masks.

According to Berlin police, 8000 participated while organizers spoke of 20,000 participants, making it the largest demonstration in Germany since the beginning of the Corona crisis.

Reacting to the demo plans, SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach warned that “the risk is far too high”, although he shares the concern of demonstrators to send a signal against racism, exclusion, climate justice and equality. In a similar vein, Berlin’s Mayor Michael Müller reminded participants: “Don’t be reckless”. Police were satisfied with protestors, who kept distance and wore masks. Thilo Cablitz, spokesperson for the Berlin police said the protest was “exemplary”.

On Friday night over 500 youths partying at Gleisdreieck Park were dispersed by police officers due to noise complaints. Bottles were thrown at the 130 police officers who told the crowds to disperse. Fifteen people were arrested and six officers were slightly injured.

Friday’s news:

  • There have been 7251 confirmed cases in Berlin to date.
  • So far, 6609 people have been declared recovered from Covid-19.
  • Of those infected so far, 3576 are male, 3672 are female. Three did not specify their gender.
  • 126 people are currently in hospital as a result of the virus, 42 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 0.96, 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.

Corona concern ahead of weekend demonstrations, child payment date confirmed, citywide transport tax considered

Berliners’ current desire to protest is “somewhat strange”, Senator of the Interior Andreas Geisel (SPD) has said. As 20,000 more people are expected to come together this Sunday for the Unteilbar (“Undivided”) demonstration, the SPD politician said he was surprised “that especially during a pandemic so many people are demonstrating.” The comments, made to RBB Inforadio this morning, come amidst rising discomfort amongst politicians at the numbers of people protesting across Germany in defiance of physical distancing rules. Today Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) said that while demonstrating is “an important basic right,” he was concerned by images of crowds gathering in cities to protest. Organisers of Unteilbar, which begins at 2pm on Sunday, are hoping to maintain three metres distance between protesters with a human chain stretching across the city. 

The €300 one-off payment for all parents in Germany will be paid in September and October, Federal Family Minister Franziska Giffey (SPD) confirmed today. The Kinderbonus payment – paid per child directly to parents – is part of a €130bn package of measures intended to revive the economy in the face of the Corona crisis and boost consumer spending. Parents will be paid in two instalments of €150 per child on what Giffey said would be a “good day for families.”

All Berliners could be required to pay an annual fee to fund public transport, under plans being considered by the city government. The so-called “Citizen’s Ticket” is one of several ways Berlin might fund its trains, buses and trams in the future, according to a study commissioned by the SPD-Left-Green coalition. As Corona continues to hit the BVG hard, politicians are looking for ways to secure the financial future of the city’s transport network and encourage drivers to leave their cars at home. Under the proposals, everyone would pay the compulsory fee – essentially a hypothecated tax – and be able to use public transport whenever they wanted. Another plan to raise money being considered is a congestion charge for cars entering the city, which the study says could generate up to €660m for local transport. 

Image for Daily Berlin Corona update: Friday, June 12 - Sunday, June 14

Berlin airports authority faces financial oblivion, further schools hit by Corona 

The operator of BER will require €1.5bn in public funds as it continues to haemorrhage money. Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg (FBB), which runs the Tegel and Schönefeld airports as well as the city’s soon-to-open hub, expects to lose €300m this year alone after passenger numbers collapsed as coronavirus spread throughout Europe. And with allegations that FBB management are not being up front with the figures Anton Hofreiter, Green Party leader in the Bundestag, is demanding the state-owned firm be audited. “We cannot afford to have a billion-euro bottomless pit in Schönefeld,” Hofreiter said. Berlin’s airports were laden with debt even before the crisis, and with future forecasts for passenger numbers now being slashed, that black hole will only grow.

There were 17 Covid-19 cases reported at 11 Berlin schools this week. Today 12 new cases of Corona were reported at eight schools and two Kitas in Neukölln, Mitte and Charlottenburg. In Mitte, four students at four schools have tested positive for the virus, the Berliner Zeitung is reporting. In Neukölln, five cases have been confirmed at three schools – one primary and two secondary – with two cases at two Kitas in the district. In Charlottenburg, a pupil also contracted the virus at the Schiller Gymnasium secondary school. Local school boards are investigating which children and classes need to go into quarantine.

Image for Daily Berlin Corona update: Friday, June 12 - Sunday, June 14

More museums reopen, Corona field hospital continues preparations, blood donations down 

Five more state museums are to reopen their doors this month, as cultural institutions across Berlin continue to welcome visitors again. From June 19, you can get a glance at Nefertiti at the Neues Museum on Museum Island and visit the Kupferstichkabinett and Kunstbibliothek once again. Also opening their doors this month are the Museum für Fotografie (June 25) and the Museum of European Cultures (June 27). With this latest wave of openings, most of the Museum Island institutions can now be visited, with the Alte Nationalgalerie, the Altes Museum and the Pergamon-Panorama already having opened last month.

As the number of new infections continues to level off, staff at the emergency Corona clinic at Berlin’s exhibition centre are pressing on with preparations. Hospital workers are being trained how to work in the field hospital’s unique environment. “The idea behind it is to help staff orientate themselves within the exhibition hall,” nurse manager Ulrike Goymann told the Morgenpost. The current programme for nurses, doctors and support staff includes training in areas of fire protection and hygiene specific to the clinic, which stands ready to come online within a week should it be required.

The number of people giving blood has fallen after a wave of donations made in solidarity during the height of the Corona crisis. “In some regions, the willingness to donate has declined sharply,” said Patric Nohe, spokesman for blood donation at the German Red Cross (DRK). The DRK, which does not pay people to donate, is considering offering to reimburse donor expenses to shore up its supplies. You can find places to give blood on the DRK website.

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