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ASTRAZENECA

What’s the current coronavirus situation in Germany post-Easter?

On Wednesday morning the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 9,677 new infections within the past 24 hours - much lower than the previous week.

What's the current coronavirus situation in Germany post-Easter?
A man trains in a fitness studio in Orscholz, Saarland, which just opened on Tuesday to those who can present a negative Covid-19 test. Photo: DPA

There were also 298 deaths from or with the coronavirus over the past day, according to the RKI.

Exactly one week ago on Wednesday March 31st, the RKI had recorded 17,051 new infections and 249 new deaths within one day.

Yet the decrease is likely attributed to fewer tests being carried out over the Easter holidays, which stretched from Friday April 2nd to Monday April 5th. Testing is not expected to return to comparable levels until after the coming weekend in most states, according to the RKI.

As of Wednesday, a total of 4.6 million people (or 5.6 percent of the population) had been completely vaccinated, according to the German government’s ‘Vaccination dashboard’.

On Tuesday alone 322,039 vaccine doses were administered, as family doctor practices around the country gave out jabs for the first time.

On Wednesday afternoon German Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) was set to discuss how to proceed with second AstraZeneca jabs for those who had already received their first vaccines, and were advised against the substance.

The Standing Commission on Vaccination (Stiko) recommended last week that people under 60 years who have already received a first Covid-19 vaccination through AstraZeneca should switch to another vaccine for their second dose.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why has Germany restricted the use of AstraZeneca in under 60s?

Seven-day incidence also decreases

According to the RKI, the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants reported within seven days was 110.1 nationwide on Wednesday morning. The previous day, the 7-day incidence stood at 123.

Many states around Germany have been enforcing a ‘Notbremse’ (emergency brake) to tighten restrictions as the 7-day incidence climbs above 100. 

However, other states such as Saarland, have opened up more businesses this week with increased testing.

READ ALSO: ‘Taste of freedom’: German state begins reopening public life despite rising Covid cases

In February, the countrywide 7-day incidence had temporarily dropped below 60 before rising sharply again. A week ago, the 7-day incidence was 132.2.

The following graph from DPA shows where in Germany had the highest infection rates as of Wednesday. Figures remained highest in the eastern state of Thuringia.

The nationwide 7-day R value was 0.81 on Tuesday evening ( down from the previous day of 0.9), according to the RKI. This means that 100 infected people infect on average 81 more people. 

A drop in the R value could also be related to the Easter holidays, the RKI wrote in its situation report. “The values can only be assessed in a few days.”

The total number of recorded Covid-19 cases in Germany since the start of the pandemic increased to 2,910,445, according to the RKI, with a total of 77,401 people who have died from or with the virus.

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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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