North German state places four Berlin districts on quarantine list

North German state places four Berlin districts on quarantine list
People enjoy the sun at the Carl-Zuckmayer-Brücke in Schöneberg in March 2020. Photo: DPA
Schlewsig-Holstein added the Berlin district of Schöneberg to its domestic risk area list on Monday, a move slammed by federal Health Minister Jens Spahn.

High rates of new infections mean that Schöneberg-Tempelhof joins Neukölln, Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain and Berlin-Mitte on the list of Berlin districts the northwestern state considers risk areas.

People travelling to Schleswig-Holstein who have been in those districts in the past 14 days will now have to provide two negative tests, spaced out by five days, in order to avoid going into quarantine.

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Spahn responded to the move by calling for Schleswig-Holstein to treat the capital city as one region, rather than breaking it up into boroughs.

“Berlin is a big dynamic city. Everyone here travels through several districts on a daily basis,” said Spahn. “I really wish that it would be treated as one contiguous city.”

He added that the coronavirus rules needed to be “understandable and easy to follow for every single citizen.”

In the entire capital the number of new cases over the last week still lies well below the limit of 50 per 100,000 inhabitants at 34.5 per 100,000. But in the four districts named above that number now lies above 50.

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Berlin’s health minister, Dilek Kalayci, also appealed to other parts of the country to stop designating domestic areas as “risk regions.”

“There is no use in finger pointing. We need to act, we are running out of time,” she said.

There is concern that Schleswig-Holstein’s decision could disrupt family holidays during the autumn break. Many Berlin families have relations in the north.

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‘Enforce the rules’

Spahn has also been highly critical of Berlin for what he describes as a lack of willingness to enforce coronavirus restrictions.

The Health Minister said he couldn't understand the fact that illegal parties were still happening in the capital and that in some restaurants masks wearers were looked at as if they had just come down from the moon.

“It isn’t a problem with a lack of rules,” he said. “It is a problem with the fact that rules aren’t being enforced all over the place – I think there is room for improvement in our beautiful capital city.”

 

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