In Brief: Health officials confirm coronavirus cases in 10 German states, including at least three in Berlin

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Tuesday he would do all he can to make sure people are kept informed about the spread of the virus and how to keep from catching it.

Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

Coronavirus has struck in 10 out of Germany’s sixteen states, including here in Berlin.

The first local victim is said to be a 22-year-old man from Mitte. Dozens of people who came in contact with him before he was placed in isolation were being evaluated.

The Berlin Senate Department for Health also confirmed two additional cases in Mitte and Marzahn-Hellersdorf, neither of whom had a connection to the 22-year-old.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn talked to reporters on the growing crisis.

He said he would do all he can to make sure people are kept informed about the spread of the virus and how to keep from catching it.

North Rhine Westphalia reports the most cases of coronavirus in Germany so far.

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Top German officials met with immigrant advocates at a Berlin summit to combat racism in response to last month’s fatal shooting in Hanau.

Nine people were killed there by a German man who had posted a racist video and screed on the internet. Most of his victims came from Turkish and Kurdish families that have lived in Germany for generations. The shooter and his mother were also found dead.

Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke at the summit where she stressed that Germany’s constitution protects all citizens, regardless of their skin color or religious beliefs.

But human rights advocates say pronouncements are not enough. They urged the government to step up its efforts to protect immigrants in Germany.

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On Wednesday, MPs in Thuringia will once again choose a premier after the first vote aided by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party caused a national uproar.

The former incumbent, Bodo Ramelow of the Left Party, is expected to win the new vote, but with a plurality rather than a majority. He is running against the AfD’s Björn Höcke, who infamously denounced the Holocaust Memorial as a “monument of shame.”

Chancellor Merkel’s CDU party in Thuringia agreed not to vote in exchange for early elections next year.

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There’s bad news for many wine lovers after German vintners announced they won’t be producing any ice wine this year.

The German Wine Institute says the mild winter is to blame.

Ice wine is made by freezing grapes before they are crushed. But without temperatures of -7 degrees Celsius, or 19 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s hard to make the sweet wine often paired with desserts.

Ice wine accounts for only a tenth of a percent of German wine production. Most of it goes to Japan, China, Scandinavia and the United States.

This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.

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