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#36: Vaccinations, BER, new transport ticket
And the last time we mention fireworks. For now.
Hello 20 Percent!
This second corona new year feels a lot like a Monday. Like, ugh, are we really doing this again? I want to take my life savings and just wait this whole thing out on a foreign planet (Alderaan is not an option, obvs). And now not only is there news of yet another variant appearing in France (so new it doesn’t have a Greek name yet), nearly 20,000 turkeys are being slaughtered at a farm in eastern Brandenburg because of an outbreak of the H5N1 avian flu, which can also spread to people.
You see what I’m saying? Monday.
Anyway, I wish you all the best with your resolutions and godspeed to all of you attempting Dry January.
The Berlin corona stats for Tuesday, January 4
Fully vaccinated: 71.8% (71.6% Friday)
New cases in one day: +3,196 (2,777 Friday)
Total deaths: 4,020 (+4 over Friday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 286.7 (280.9 Friday)
🟢 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 3.0 (3.1 Friday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 18.5% (19.1% Friday)
Source: Berlin’s corona information page
Kids and vaccines
Schoolchildren in Berlin are now being tested daily over fears of an Omicron outbreak but education officials said Monday’s return to school didn’t yield a significant climb in cases. Daycares in Berlin will also soon begin testing kids three times a week instead of two because of the new variant. However, they’ll get some testing help with the widespread introduction of lollipop tests. Having once had small children, I feel for the teachers and parents having to wrangle them for tests.
No dancing, but vaccinations
Berlin clubs are spinning their second vaccination campaign this week. Sage Beach Club, Klunkerkranich, Mensch Meier and About Blank are all hosting vaccination days and you can sign up here. The Club Commission, a club lobbying organization, worked with the Berlin government in August for the first Long Night of Vaccinations campaign but the clubs organized this second round on their own in hopes of keeping club doors open - and maybe lifting the odd Footloose-era dancing prohibition.
This week’s BER news (government terminal edition)
New German finance minister Christian Lindner (FDP) wants to ground a planned €350 million government terminal at BER, probably because he knows it will take longer, cost more and just lead to hours long delays when it opens. The terminal would be used by German politicians and bureaucrats traveling on official business as well as foreign political visitors. The foreign office is currently conducting a cost/benefit analysis, according to newswire dpa, and politicians are making do with a €70 million temporary terminal that opened in October. The analysis will be complete at the end of the month.
The BVG and S-Bahn’s new ticket
Two years into the pandemic, Berlin’s public transport organizations are reacting to the changes in commuting behavior by offering what they call a “Flex” ticket - for €44 you get 8 24-hour tickets that have to be used within a month. Just in zones A and B, of course. A passenger group questioned the flexibility of the tickets in the Tagesspiegel because true commuters - who just take the train to work and then home - would save more money by using the discount offered when riders buy four tickets at a time. BVG head Eva Kreienkamp has also recently begun making noises about distance-based tickets - pity those who live outside the ring. That’ll probably take at least two years to implement as well. A recent study suggested the real way for public transport in Berlin to make money would be to introduce a first class in the S-Bahn so bougy business people wouldn’t have to deal with our smelly selves during commutes.
The Berlin cops had 1,600 extra colleagues on-duty during New Years and wrote 340 tickets, primarily for weapons violations (starter pistols are big during Silvester) and illegal fireworks. They also seized 92 starter pistols. The Unfallkrankenhaus Marzahn (Berlin’s main trauma hospital) treated 15 fireworks victims including two with “amputation injuries” (ouch). In pre-fireworks ban years, the hospital usually treated up to 75 on New Years, according to RBB24.
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See you Friday!