SHARE
COPY LINK

BERLIN

UPDATE: Berlin cancels large cultural events over coronavirus fears

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.

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

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

 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

COVID-19

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Since the start of Germany’s Oktoberfest, the incidence of Covid infections in Munich has risen sharply. Though a connection with the festival can’t yet be proven, it seems likely.

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Two weeks after the start of Oktoberfest, the Covid numbers in Munich have more than tripled.

On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an incidence of 768.7 for the city of Munich, though updated figures for the end of the festival are not expected until later in the week. Usually, on weekends and public holidays, there is a delay in reports.

In the entire state of Bavaria, the incidence value on Sunday was 692.5.

According to Munich’s public health officer, Beatrix Zurek, bed occupancy in Munich hospitals has also increased. Two weeks ago, 200 beds in Munich were occupied by Covid patients, whereas there are now around 350.

Though a relationship between the sharp rise in infections with Oktoberfest, which ended on Monday, can’t be proven at the moment, it seems very likely, according to experts. A significant increase in Covid incidences has also been shown at other public festivals – about one and a half weeks after the start. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, around 5.7 million visitors came to this year’s Wiesn according to the festival management – around 600,000 fewer than at the last Oktoberfest before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) took to Twitter to comment on the rise in incidence in Munich during the Oktoberfest. “This would not have been necessary if self-tests had been taken before admission,” he said.

“Compared to the price of a measure of beer, €2-3 (for tests) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.

Even before the start of the Wiesn, he had spoken out in favour of people taking voluntary self-tests. Lauterbach stressed that now is the time for special measures against Covid.

“The development shows what will happen if the states wait too long with the mask obligation in indoor areas,” he added.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

In neighbouring counties, where many Oktoberfest visitors came from, the number of Covid cases has also risen noticeably.  Beatrix Zurek said that it is unclear, however, how much of a role Oktoberfest played in these figures, as people are currently much more active socially overall, with concerts and other events also taking place throughout the state.

Christoph Spinner, an infections specialist at Munich’s Klinikum, has urged people not to be alarmed by the rising numbers.

“We had expected rising incidences here. We knew that there could be a doubling, tripling, even quadrupling,” he said.

He said that this is no cause for concern, as many people have been vaccinated or have also recovered from previous Covid infections, so any new infections are therefore usually mild.

The virologist advises people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions to get a second booster vaccination, but otherwise said people shouldn’t be alarmed by the rising incidences.

SHOW COMMENTS