Berlin News

Berlin news update: Friday, November 13

Charité professor says lockdown will succeed, court rejects restaurant appeals, more Berliners seeking mental health treatment, arrests after TV crew attacked and 106-year-old recovers from Covid. Plus: Matrix party at Babelsberg studios defended.

Article image for Berlin news update: Friday, November 13

Charité professor says lockdown will work, court rejects lockdown appeals

Germany’s partial lockdown will be effective in halting the growth in new Covid-19 cases, a professor from the Charité said today. Leif-Erik Sander, an expert on infections and lung conditions at the hospital, told ARD that the national restrictions introduced on November 2 should stabilise the number of cases in the coming weeks. Sander also urged public adoption of the anticipated Covid vaccines. “I would strongly recommend vaccination. But of course we have to wait for all the study results and the approval of the vaccine,” he said. The comments come following the announcement that a US-German vaccine had proved 90 percent effective in stopping people getting ill from coronavirus.

Efforts by business owners to overturn the lockdown via the courts appear to have come to nothing: this week Berlin’s Administrative Court rejected appeals by restaurateurs, artists, gyms and nail studios that would allow them to remain open. Rulings on Tuesday and today by the court against the appeals mean business will have to comply with the rules as laid out by states and federal governments and introduced at the beginning of the month. The current ban on opening is “appropriate in view of the increasing incidence of infection,” according to the ruling. The decision means businesses fighting the current closures have few legal options remaining.

Increased demand for mental health services, TV crew attacked in Mitte, 106-year-old survives coronavirus

More people are seeking emergency mental health care since the start of the pandemic according to the Berliner Krisendienst, an organisation that offers support for those in crisis. Demand for care has increased 20 percent since the second wave started in autumn, Krisendienst director Friedrich Kiesinger told RBB today. As with the initial epidemic in spring, Kiesinger reported seeing delays of around a month between the onset of an infection wave and increased incidence of mental health crises. Those seeking help were typically dealing with fear and uncertainty, both due to the virus and because of the lockdown and the economic situation.

On Thursday police arrested a man after he attacked a camera crew in Mitte. According to witnesses, the ZDF crew were filming on Friedrichstraße when the suspect came towards them and punched the 61-year-old camera operator in the face, leaving him with minor injuries. The attacker was restrained until the arrival of police, who arrested him. The 21-year-old, who was intoxicated and had a history of violent offences, was charged with actual bodily harm.

A 106-year-old woman has recovered from Covid-19, her Brandenburg hospital announced this week. The elderly patient has been admitted to hospital in Oranienburg, where she tested positive for coronavirus. Announcing her release from the clinic yesterday, staff said they were “delighted with this unique, successful treatment”. The patient is not the only elderly Brandenburg woman to survive Corona: a few days ago, a 97-year-old woman from the state recovered from the virus following a stay at a Berlin hospital.

Tempelhofer Feld welcomes endangered animals, Matrix film studio party defended

Tempelhofer Feld will be home to several rare domesticated species this winter. On Thursday, red mountain cattle joined the 60 “Skudde” sheep which have grazed the fields at the former airport since last year. Both the cattle and sheep are rare German species which are threatened with extinction. In addition, three Dülmen horses from Hellersdorf’s Kienbergpark are to join the herds in the coming days, helping to maintain the fields throughout the winter. 

Producers have defended an alleged party held this week to mark the end of filming the new Matrix film at the Babelsberg studios. Bild newspaper reported that a party involving hundreds of actors, including star Keanu Reeves, and extras took place on Wednesday night after filming, though a studio manager insisted that the gathering was for a scene in the movie. Studio Babelsberg’s CEO Christoph Fisser said that safety measures were in place. “The whole team was tested. Otherwise we would not have taken on the responsibility,” Fisser told the DPA.