In Brief: New restrictions on Berlin hospital visits begin Saturday to curb spread of coronavirus

Starting Saturday, patients can only receive one visitor per day for one hour. There are a few exceptions: Expectant mothers are allowed to bring a partner in for the birth, and no restrictions apply to the visitors of seriously ill or dying patients.

Photo by hoch3media on Unsplash

 

By Monika Müller-Kroll and Kate Brady

The Berlin Senate announced new restrictions for hospitals across the city to curb the spread of COVID-19. Starting Saturday, patients can only receive one visitor per day for one hour.

There are a few exceptions — expectant mothers are allowed to bring a partner in for the birth. And no restrictions apply to the visitors of seriously ill or dying patients.

The number of new infections reached a record high Thursday in Germany. More than 6,600 cases were reported by the Robert Koch Institute, the country’s disease control and prevention agency.

Some officials said increased testing may be contributing to the high number.

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Meanwhile, new rapid coronavirus tests were rolled out Thursday in hospitals and care facilities across Germany.

Similar to a pregnancy test from the pharmacy, these so-called rapid antigen tests can provide a result within just a few minutes.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said the tests should provide an additional layer of safety for care facilities.

The tests, which still have to be carried out by trained personnel, are being financed by the government.

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A test run that began earlier this year and lasted 47 days with about 9,000 participants ended Thursday at the Berlin Brandenburg International Airport (BER).

CEO Engelbert Lütke Daldrup said no serious defects were discovered during the trial period, but that check-in lines and terminal signs could be improved.

Officials said that German authorities will begin using the airport for government flights 10 days before its official opening on Oct. 31.

The new airport will open after a nine-year delay and billions in cost overruns.

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

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