By Monika Müller-Kroll, William Glucroft and Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson
You may have noticed a large part of Friedrichstraße is off limits to cars this month.
The 500-meter stretch is open only to cyclists and pedestrians as part of a Senate project aimed at boosting the shopping experience.
But local business groups fear banning cars in the area could actually keep shoppers away, especially during the pandemic.
The car-free zone continues until the end of January.
African swine fever has been confirmed in Germany for the first time.
The virus poses no danger to humans, but it is almost always fatal in pigs and threatens Germany’s huge pork industry. One case was detected in a dead boar in Brandenburg near the Polish border, which German Food and Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner confirmed Thursday.
In a news conference, Klöckner said that until authorities have a better grasp of the situation, Brandenburg’s agriculture sector may face restrictions on the movement of people and goods to keep the virus contained.
Klöckner also announced a ministry crisis group to monitor and prevent a wider outbreak. Germany is one of the world’s largest pork producers, according to the German meat industry, with 55 million pigs slaughtered in 2019. China, the biggest buyer of EU pork, could ban imports from areas affected by the virus.
Berlin’s 16th Festival of Lights begins tonight, but it’s going to be different than usual because of COVID-19.
Some 90 Berlin landmarks will be lit up over the next 10 nights. Most are in Mitte, but this year the festival is being expanded to other districts to spread visitors out.
The pandemic is also leading organizers to offer a virtual tour as well as a warning that the lights at each location will be shut off if visitors don’t observe social distancing rules.
You can find more details on our website.
This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.