- There are 4038 confirmed cases in Berlin, which is up by 176 from yesterday.
- Of those infected, 2042 are male, 1987 are female. Nine did not specify their gender.
- 505 people are currently in hospital as a result of the virus. 118 are in intensive care.
- 32 people have died from the coronavirus, their average age was 81 years, four of the deceased were less than 60 years old.
More help for businesses
Just when we thought medium-sized companies (10 to 250 employees) had really got the short end of the Corona stick, the city launches a new budget. Out of the €3 billion dedicated to crisis mitigation, €60 million is reserved for these companies that have been missing out so far. Of the new budget, €2.6 billion is kindly provided by the federal government. Mayor Müller announced the good news today, and mentioned the city’s kinos as a prime example of the beneficiaries. So far, he hasn’t said when and how the money will be accessed.
On top of that, Merkel and her ‘Corona-Cabinet’ ministers cooked up a programme to allow those same medium-sized businesses to get quick access to zero-interest loans from the state-owned KfW bank. The so-called “KfW-Schnellkredit 2020” will be worth three months’ turnover of the respective companies, capped at €800,000. The loan will be given based on past performance, not a projection for the future, and there will be no more personal liability for these loans. Sounds great, where do we sign?!
For freelancers, solo entrepreneurs and small companies with up to five full-time employees the available financial aid has shrunk: Whereas, until Wednesday last week, they could get up to €14,000, now the Senat-financed portion has been cut and they can apply for a maximum of €9000. (For companies with up to 10 employees it’s €15,000.) The Berlin Investment Bank (IBB) has also announced they will email everyone who got money so far and give them the chance to review their information before checks for fraud detection begin.
Maskgate and shopping-free holidays
Following talk of “inhumane and unacceptable acts” (Michael Müller) and “modern piracy” (Interior Senator Andreas Geisel), the Mayor has apologized for the “harshness” of the statements regarding the 200,000 masks that somehow landed in the USA instead of Berlin. He is, however, not taking back the accusation that the US government intercepted and redirected the delivery, pointing out that French politicians were making similar allegations against the Americans. Chancellor Merkel has demanded clarification and, as all of us, is waiting for the next chapter of mask gate.
Whatever the outcome, as Interior Senator Geisel told the Tagesspiegel: “In the current situation we have more important things to do than argue with the US government about masks.” And the Senat seems to have been working on the mask issue: The mayor has announced another delivery of “considerable volume” (including masks, medical gowns and other equipment) is due to arrive on the weekend. Lufthansa is supposed to fly the goods from Beijing and Shanghai.
You, dear reader, won’t need to wear your mask to the supermarket over the Easter holidays (i.e. Friday, Sunday and Monday)—there’ll be no shopping. Supermarkets will remain closed, so better get your Easter eggs ASAP before everyone goes on Thursday and Saturday.
If you would like to be a guinea pig for the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), get their new app! Through the ‘Corona Data Donation’ application, users of smartwatches or smartphones and fitness wristbands can share their data with the Institute, where scientists will use the info to look for symptoms of Covid-19. Users will need to provide their postcode and basic body data to give the RKI a more precise insight into the spread of the virus.
The Berlin branch of hotel and restaurant association DEHOGA has launched a search engine for restaurants offering delivery or takeaway during the Corona crisis. Enter your zip code and they’ll list your options. Alternatively, check out our recommendations by district – no duds there!
If even the most perfect weather can’t persuade you to go on a socially distanced stroll in the great outdoors, Berlin park operator Green Berlin has something for you: A video series where you can see (but not smell) the roses from afar or get gardening and workout tips. The first episode (Marzahn’s Gärten der Welt) premieres tomorrow. Or you could read our new Thursday column, appropriately titled “A walk in the park” and retrace our writer’s steps at your convenience.
Around 50 Berlin artists plan to show their work on balconies and in windows in Prenzlauer Berg, the DPA reports. The action is supposed to be a sign against social isolation and loneliness and motivate P’Bergers to go on a safe walk around their hood. Among the artists taking part are Documenta veteran Olaf Nicolai, Serbian video artist Marta Popivoda and German-Italian filmmaker Rosa Barba. Everyone lift your chins and happy balcony gazing!
Biesdorf brawl: Things got messy during a police operation last night, resulting in 43 policemen being officially quarantined. Their unit was called to help evacuate a refuge home in Biesdorf after a fire alarm was activated. The whole home had been quarantined because of suspected Corona cases, but when police tried to gather the residents outside, some reportedly resisted. Suffice it to say the 1.5m safety distance was not observed. There is a happy ending, though: all 43 police tested negative and can now go back to work.
It’s Spargel season! Come what may, Germans won’t forego their favourite springtime vegetable. Despite farmers struggling to harvest the white gold due to missing Romanian workforce unable to travel to the Brandenburg fields, the 2020 Spargel queen has officially opened asparagus season. As the Tagesspiegel reports, 40,000 seasonal workers will be allowed to travel to Germany during the months of April and May, so get your hollandaise ready!