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BERLIN

Berlin declared Covid-19 hotspot as infections spike

On Thursday afternoon the German capital exceeded the 'critical value' of new coronavirus infections, putting it in the Robert Koch Institute's (RKI) classification of a risk area.

Berlin declared Covid-19 hotspot as infections spike
A face mask lays near Berlin's Brandenburg Gate. Photo: DPA

The number of coronavirus cases in the capital reached 52.8 per 100,000 residents in the last seven days, according to the Berlin Senate. 

That puts the whole city-state in the classification of a risk area, which the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) defines as more than 50 cases per 100,000 residents within a seven-day period. 

READ ALSO: MAPS: Where are the current Covid-19 hotspots right now?

Usually travellers coming from such areas are subject to a 14-day quarantine within Germany.

As of 4:30 pm, 498 people were confirmed to be infected with the virus over the last 24 hours, according to RKI data. 

The district of Neukölln still has the highest seven-day incidence value, currently at 114.3 per 100,000 residents, followed by Mitte with 78.3 and Tempelhof-Schöneberg with 72.4. 

Within the past 24 hours alone, Neukölln reported 150 new infections, followed by 59 in Mitte and 65 in Tempelhof-Schöneberg.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 17,112 people in Berlin have become infected with the virus, 13,965 who have reported themselves to have recovered from the disease. A total of 233 people have died.

Currently there are reported to be 2,914 people in Berlin infected with the virus.

In response to the growing number of infections, Berlin’s Senate has mandated that bars, restaurants and other establishments close between the hours of 11pm and 6am. The new measure and others will come into effect this Saturday.

Travellers from Berlin’s most highly infected districts are also no longer allowed to stay at hotels or pensions around Germany, with the exception of Bremen and Thuringia. 

READ ALSO: Around Germany: What you need to know about current Covid-19 travel restrictions

 

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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.

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