Berlin News

Berlin news update: Wednesday, November 11

Berlin plans vaccination centres, hospitals search for nurses, RKI launches new study, cucumber harvest devastated as rail traffic between Germany and Poland restricted.

Article image for Berlin news update: Wednesday, November 11

Berlin plans vaccination centres, hospitals search for nurses

Following the news of BioNTech and Pfizer’s successful coronavirus vaccine trials, the Senat Health Administration has announced that up to six vaccination centres are planned for Berlin. Combined, they will be capable of giving up to 20,000 immunisations per day, with priority given to health workers, the police and fire departments and staff at schools and daycare centres.

Berlin hospitals are in a desperate search for nurses to staff the city’s intensive care units. Advertisements calling for former nurses have been running since last week, but have so far only resulted in 72 extra staff for Charité – the hospital says it needs at least 100 more. The main reason for the shortage is the increasing number of nurses who are sick or self-isolating. Spokesperson Marc Schreiner says hospitals are also dependent on day-care centres and schools staying open. “If things continue like this, we will really reach our limits with the staff at the beginning of mid-December,” Schreiner explained.

RKI launches new study, rival gangs clash across Berlin

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has launched a study to learn more about the sources of coronavirus infections. At the moment, at least 75 percent of new coronavirus cases are from an unknown source. The study will interview those currently infected with Covid-19 about their activities for the ten days up until the onset of the disease. The study will pay special attention on what kind of situations the those who tested positive encountered, and try and determine if bars and restaurants are indeed especially risky.

Police are warning of potential feud between rival gangs after brawls in Neukölln and Gesundbrunnen. On Saturday evening, young men wearing disguises stormed a späti on Neukölln’s Wildenbruchstraße with knives, chairs and shishas, leaving three people injured. Later than weekend, police say, two revenge attacks took place in Gesundbrunnen, resulting in several knife injuries. It’s been widely reported that those involved were from different Chechen and Arab-German families.

Weather and Corona devastates cucumber harvest, rail traffic between Germany and Poland restricted

A combination of bad weather and the pandemic is leading to what some farmers have called the worst-ever year for cucumber harvest. This year’s harvest generated a total of 24,000 tonnes of pickled and peeled cucumbers, down from around 26,000 tonnes in 2018 and 2019. Farmers say a May frost and a series of storms damaged the plants, while coronavirus hygiene measures increased workloads and costs for staff. 

Train travel between Germany and Poland, including routes departing from Berlin, has been restricted, with several daily trains cancelled. The move follows a spike in coronavirus cases in Poland, which has once again closed cinemas, theatres, museums and many stores. The restrictions will be in place until at least November 26.