By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, Kate Brady and Sylvia Cunningham
Germany’s federal and state governments decided yesterday to continue banning most large gatherings like beer and wine festivals through the end of October.
Bavarian Premier Markus Söder told reporters yesterday evening that events should not take place if hygiene protocol cannot be followed and if contact tracing is not possible. He said this was a compromise and allowed states some flexibility to interpret the rule.
Other state leaders meanwhile have made clear they’re not happy with a Germany-wide approach to fighting COVID-19.
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Premier Manuela Schwesig told public broadcaster ZDF yesterday morning that under no circumstance should there be another, nationwide “lockdown.”
She added that coronavirus measures need to be viewed from a regional and local level.
In Berlin, a controversial cap on rent, which limits rent to no more than what was charged on June 18 of last year, is largely being adhered to.
Any increases since that date are invalid and must be refunded.
Most landlords seem to be abiding by the rules, with public broadcaster rbb reporting that Berlin districts have initiated fewer than 300 proceedings over alleged violations.
Online portals Immowelt and ImmobilienScout24 nevertheless warn that the cap could lead to landlords selling or withdrawing older properties from the rental market because the cap makes them unprofitable.
Critics of the cap say that’s a problem in a city with an already severe rental shortage. The rental cap is also being challenged in German courts.
Story and audio updated on Thursday, June 18 at 5:00 p.m.
As Germany pushes people to download its new COVID-19 contact tracing app, some iPhone users are frustrated about its accessibility.
One issue they raised on social media is that the app is only available if you have a German Apple account.
A spokesman for the tech company SAP, one of the developers of the “Corona-Warn-App,” said though Apple would allow the app to be released in multiple countries’ stores, the federal health ministry and the Robert Koch Institute, the country’s disease prevention authority, would have to approve it.
Another complaint is that the app requires the latest operating system for iPhone users, which counts out people with older models.
Android smartphone users, meanwhile, need to activate Google Play Services and have at least Android 6 installed.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn tweeted yesterday that the “Corona-Warn-App” was downloaded about 6.5 million times. He wrote: “Every app user makes a difference.”
Clarification: In an earlier version of this story, the SAP company spokesman mistakenly said Apple had decided not to allow the German contract tracing app in other countries’ app stores.
This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.