UPDATE: Berlin cancels large cultural events over coronavirus fears

AFP/The Local
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UPDATE: Berlin cancels large cultural events over coronavirus fears
Cars drive past Berlin's Staatsoper on Unter den Linden. Photo: DPA

Large cultural events in Berlin's theatres, operas and concert houses will be cancelled from Wednesday to prevent coronavirus contagion, authorities in the German capital said.


The measure will remain in place until April 19th, and will also affect concerts at the renowned Berlin Philharmonic, Berlin's pointman on culture, Klaus Lederer, said Tuesday, adding that it was "regrettable but one must assume the responsibility".

The measures apply for all events of more than 500 people, the capital announced on Wednesday.

Berlin's famous Berghain nightclub also announced on Wednesday that it was shutting its doors until April 20th

Organisers of smaller shows in locations holding up to 500 people will have to decide individually if their events will go ahead, in accordance with guidance given by the federal disease control centre Robert Koch Institute.

Health Minister Jens Spahn had recommended that events with more than 1,000 people should be scrapped until further notice, after coronavirus cases in Germany soared past 1,100 this week.

As of Wednesday morning, there have been a total of 58 coronavirus cases confirmed in Berlin, and growing fears after it was reported that one person spread the virus to 16 others at a nightclub in the capital's Tiergarten neighbourhood.

Several Bundesliga games will be played without spectators, while other huge fairs including Berlin's ITB travel show and the Hannover Messe technology event have been scrapped.

On Wednesday it was also announced that the Bundesliga match between Union Berlin and Bayern Munich on Saturday will be played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus scare.

"The match will be played without spectators," the city deputy health chief Dilek Kalayci told Spreeradio station despite Union Berlin's statement Tuesday saying the match would be open to an expected 22,000 fans.

Also behind closed doors this weekend are matches at Werder Bremen v Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund v Schalke 04, Fortuna Düsseldorf v Paderborn, Augsbourg v VfL Wolfsburg and Cologne v Mainz 05.

Germany's biggest cluster of infected patients are in the country's most populous state North Rhine-Westphalia, where 323 cases have been reported in the district of Heinsberg alone.

Two people have also died of the virus in the state.

READ ALSO: Germany urges events with more than 1,000 to be cancelled over coronavirus



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