By Nikki Motson, Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, Benjamin Restle and Monika-Müller-Kroll
In North Rhine-Westphalia another coronavirus patient has died bringing the number of deaths across Germany to three. In Berlin, officials have now banned large gatherings with more than 1,000 participants until at least after the Easter school holidays.
The Senate Department of Health announced the new prohibition on Wednesday.
Berlin Senator Dilek Kalayci says it’s important to slow the spread of the coronavirus by restricting the number of major events in the city.
The ban includes sporting events, like the upcoming soccer match between Union Berlin and FC Bayern on Saturday, which will be played in an empty stadium. Neighborhood public health officials are calling for additional bans to be placed on smaller gatherings.
Several schools and daycare centers are closed. The Senate also postpones the start of the lecture period at all Berlin universities until April 20. State Secretary for Science Steffen Krach tweeted, “A further postponement of the start is to be expected.”
— Steffen Krach (@SteffenKrach) March 11, 2020
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is pushing for an updated refugee deal that provides Turkey with more funds and more access to Europe ahead of the EU summit on March 26.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said Turkey is ready to engage in “constructive work” towards reviving the refugee deal struck with the European Union in 2016.
Last month, Turkey announced it would no longer prevent asylum-seekers from heading for the EU until its demands are met, including easing visa requirements for Turkish citizens and providing more funding. Tens of thousands of people have since massed along the Greece-Turkey border.
Starting today, the BVG is ordering all bus passengers in Berlin to board at the back of buses.
The front doors will remain shut and tickets will not be sold on board by the drivers. The BVG says that this will reduce the drivers’ risk of being infected with the coronavirus.
The transit agency is advising passengers to buy their tickets in advance, or electronically with a smartphone.
This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.