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HEALTH

UPDATE: Coronavirus cases in Germany rise over 150 as Berlin reports first patient

The first coronavirus case in the German capital was confirmed on late Sunday evening, bringing the total number of cases countrywide to 157.

UPDATE: Coronavirus cases in Germany rise over 150 as Berlin reports first patient
Charité hospital in Berlin. Photo: DPA

This article was updated Monday at 5:30 pm.

The case involved a young man from Berlin-Mitte, Health Senator Dilek Kalayci (SPD) said Monday morning.

He is now isolated in the Charité hospital, where he was admitted on Sunday night, and remains in stable condition.

The man is said to have had recent contact with ten people, all of whom authorities have ordered to stay isolated at their homes in Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia.

The man had initially come to the now closed-off emergency room of the Virchow-Klinikum with symptoms not typical to the virus. But since the Charité combines flu with coronavirus tests, the infection was detected by chance.

“Without this internal regulation to conduct a parallel test, the patient would probably still be at home unrecognized,” said Charité board member Ulrich Frei.

 It is not known how the man became infected with the coronavirus

“There is a quiet lead to North Rhine-Westphalia,” said Frei. The man's parents live there and had visited him.

Ten out of the 16 German states have had confirmed cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of reported infections in Germany to 157 as of Monday afternoon, according to the Robert Koch Institute, up from 150 in the morning. 

READ ALSO: Coronavirus: Number of cases in Germany doubles to 129

The search for additional people the man may have had contact with is underway, said Kalayci, who will provide further details on the case Monday at noon. 

The major Berlin hospitals, the state-owned clinic group Vivantes and the Charité, consider themselves well prepared for patients with the coronavirus. 

In the nine Vivantes hospitals throughout Berlin, there are about 1860 rooms that can be isolated, the group informed dpa at the weekend.

Cases throughout Germany   

More than half are in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state where an infected couple attended carnival celebrations. The Heinsberg district, with 65 cases, is particularly hard hit.

Earlier this weekend, the first cases of infection in Bremen, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein were also confirmed by the states' health ministries.

In Baden-Württemberg, four more cases of infection were confirmed late Sunday evening, bringing the total number of cases in the southwestern state to 20.

READ ALSO: MAP: The parts of Germany most affected by the coronavirus outbreak

In Hesse, two more cases of corona infection were diagnosed, raising the number of cases there to ten, according to the central state's Ministry of Social Affairs.

The head of the German Police Union (DPolG), Rainer Wendt, complained of a “fragmented competence” in the fight against the coronavirus.

He told the newspaper “Augsburger Allgemeine” on Monday that no strategy could be discerned as to how Germany as a whole would react to the threat.

“Appeals to the population to remain calm will not suffice, because in many places the uncertainty is palpable”.

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CULTURE

‘People liked the silence’: How Berlin’s club scene is struggling after lockdowns

Berlin's clubs are suffering from staff shortages, a lack of guests... and neighbours who've grown used to the silence, representatives for the scene say.

'People liked the silence': How Berlin's club scene is struggling after lockdowns

Some operators from Berlin’s club scene are bracing themselves for a difficult autumn. For months now, people have been allowed to dance again and life has returned to normal in the dark corners of Berlin’s famous nightlife scene.

But the clubs have far from recovered from the pandemic. They face staff shortages, rising prices and the prospect of a return to Covid restrictions in the autumn.

“We go into the autumn with huge fear, because the omens are totally unfavorable,” said association head Pamela Schobeß.

Spring and summer went anything but smoothly, she said. “There has been an oversupply of events. People aren’t going out as much, and some are still afraid to move around indoors.”

Money is also an issue. “A lot of people are afraid of rising energy prices.”

The industry lost workers during the pandemic and it’s hard to convince them to come back with the outlook for the autumn looking so gloomy, Schobeß says.

Her colleague Robin Schellenberg tells a similar story. People have switched to various other jobs and would even rather work on a supermarket checkout, which may have been considered less sexy in the past. Now, he says, some have learned to love not having to work nights.

READ ALSO: 

Schellenberg runs the Klunkerkranich, a small club on a parking garage deck in Neukölln. Because a number of things have become more expensive, they have also had to increase their admission prices.

His impression is that people are going out less often and are deciding more spontaneously. In addition, people in the neighborhood are now more sensitive to noise. “Many people found the silence very enticing,” he said.

Some in the industry wonder what will happen next. Will club admission have to become much more expensive? Will that exclude people who can no longer afford it? And what happens if Covid infection numbers rise sharply?

If masks become mandatory indoors in October, Schobeß believes that would be bad for the clubs. “Even if we don’t get shut down by the state, we’ll actually have to close down independently ourselves,” she reckons.

Masks take all the joy out of the experience, she says. People have drinks in their hands and are “jumping around and dancing” and then security guards have to tell them “please put your mask on.”

The federal government is considering whether states should be able to make masks mandatory indoors starting in October. Exceptions should be possible, such as at cultural and sporting events, for people who have been tested, recently vaccinated and recently recovered.

In the event that Covid numbers soar, the states could then be allowed to tighten the rules and eliminate all exemptions.

READ ALSO: German court declares techno to be music

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