Updated Tuesday, July 7 at 3:00 p.m.
By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, William Glucroft and Dina Elsayed
The Berlin Senate today authorized the BVG transit agency to enforce mandatory masking aboard buses, trams and subway trains.
German police will continue to be responsible for masking compliance on S-Bahn trains.
Those who fail to cover their nose and mouth while riding public transit face a fine of 50 euros.The tabloid B.Z. reports, 200 BVG employees will begin enforcing the measure tomorrow.
Previously, it was left to German police to ensure compliance, because the Berlin transit agency said it didn’t legally have the right to make passengers cover up.
Berlin and its neighbor, Brandenburg, may be sticking with the masking requirements, but other states are leaning toward dropping them.
Saxony, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Lower Saxony and Saxony Anhalt reportedly may ease masking rules later this summer if infection rates remain low.
But like Berlin and Brandenburg, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn disagrees. He told Deutschlandfunk that masks help prevent outbreaks.
He said it can just take days, if not hours, for the virus to spread in places where measures to stop it are not taken seriously.
In an earlier tweet, Spahn said he understands the desire to return to normal life, but that extra caution is needed in closed spaces where social distance can’t be maintained.
German sniffer dogs are being tested to see if they can detect COVID-19 infections in humans.
In the western German town of Ulmen, 10 service dogs are taking part in a joint research study between the country’s military and the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover.
The study is investigating whether sniffer dogs that detect drugs and explosives are also able to sniff out humans infected with the coronavirus.
The different breeds taking part in the trial include sheep dogs, spaniels and retrievers.
The K9 training center told news agency dpa the Bundeswehr dogs so far are successful 80% of the time. They identified saliva samples in which the virus was rendered harmless.
This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.