In Brief: Eight Berlin districts are now coronavirus hot spots as cases continue to rise

Two of the city’s three coronavirus “traffic lights” are also now red. But new rules to counter the second pandemic wave here and across Germany are being widely criticized.

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

 

 

By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson and William Glucroft

The city of Berlin reports eight of its districts are now COVID-19 hot spots and that two of the city’s three coronavirus “traffic lights” are now red.

But new rules to counter the second pandemic wave here and across Germany are being widely criticized.

Berlin Mayor Michael Müller told public broadcaster ZDF on Sunday that a ban on people from German hot spots spending the night in other German states doesn’t make sense.

He pointed to the many commuters, who also may spread the virus, traveling daily between his city and Brandenburg and interacting at work, on public transit and in stores.

Müller and other top state officials will meet Wednesday to discuss next steps.

Four districts in Berlin are still at green levels and have infection rates less than 35 per 100,000 inhabitants over a seven-day period. They are Pankow, Lichtenberg, Marzahn-Hellersdorf and Treptow-Köpenick.

Berlin has a citywide infection rate of 63.2 per 100,000 residents. That places it in the red in the traffic light system, or at a level higher than 50 per 100,000 inhabitants. The other value in the red is the reproduction value, which is at 1.2, meaning every 10 people with the virus infect 12 others.

The third traffic light, or number of intensive care beds occupied by coronavirus patients, is still in the green at 3.5%.

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A new Australian study has found that the coronavirus lives longer on surfaces than previously thought.

Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, tested the virus on a number of surfaces and at various temperatures, finding it can survive up to 28 days — 10 days longer than the influenza virus.

The novel coronavirus lasted longer on non-porous surfaces such as glass and smartphone screens. It also lasted longer on paper money, rather than plastic.

Researchers said the virus thrives at 20 degrees Celsius, or 68 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about room temperature. They also found higher temperatures killed off the virus faster.

The study did not conclude how surface survivability relates to how infectious the virus is.

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News agency dpa reports the German government approved arms exports of more than 4 billion euros during the first nine months of this year. That’s a third less than during the same time last year.

The biggest recipient was Egypt, which bought 585.9 million euros in equipment, including submarines.

The sales are controversial because of human rights abuses in Egypt and because it is part of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen in a war that began in late 2014. The U.S.-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project reports more than 100,000 people have died in the war.

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

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