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New Berlin airport has 66,500 problems

Berlin's new international airport took another step towards never being finished on Tuesday when it emerged that more than 66,000 problems still need to be fixed.

New Berlin airport has 66,500 problems
Photo: DPA

The BZ newspaper reported that technical head Horst Amann was dealing with a report listing 66,500 problems, after an eight-month assessment of the troubled multi-billion BER airport project.

The paper said it had seen the concluding reports for the most important areas of the airport, which shows that 34,000 were relevant to getting permission to open, while 5,845 were listed as critical by the report.

The most tricky problems are connected with the fire alarm system – something which was blamed for the cancellation of the opening last June.

The north pier section, which BER chief Hartmut Mehdorn hopes to open ahead of the rest of the airport, still has 8,500 problems, including severe ones with the fire alarm system, cabling system and building plans, the BZ said.

CLICK HERE to see photos of the troubled airport and its problems

Meanwhile, the main north pier section has 10,400 problems, including missing walls which were deemed necessary for fire protection. The fire resistance rating of 462 walls just in this section of the airport was also been found to be wrong.

The main pier in the middle of the airport has 24,900 problems, with the “sheer mass” of badly closed-off pipes and cables said to be so large that this in itself could prevent the airport opening. Around 80 percent must be re-done. Fire alarms in the check-in and shopping areas have not been fitted properly – so should fire break out there, no alarms or sprinklers would be activated.

The main south pier has 13,700 problems – including lifts which should, in the event of fire, take people to smoke-free areas, missing the crucial software. Without a fix people stuck in lifts could suffocate if a fire broke out.

The south pier has 9,000 problems, including some smoke detectors being installed within a few millimetres of ventilation and heating vents meaning, the BZ said, that the smoke detectors, when switched on, would be constantly activated.

Last June’s delayed cancelled opening had been treated as certain, with posters dotted around the capital announcing the opening date, and international airlines including it in their schedules.

But not only did the June 2012 date crash and burn, so did later estimates – as well as the date for when parts of the new airport could start working. The last best guess was for the north pier of the airport to start handling planes in spring 2014, while the rest of the project could open in early 2015.

Initial cost estimates of €1.2 billion have long been ditched, and the entire project is now expected to cost around €5 billion.

READ MORE: New Berlin airport ‘just for easyjetters’

The Local/hc

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BERLIN

EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

Shops
If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

Leisure
2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

Hairdressers
For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

Transport
3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.

 

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