By Sylvia Cunningham and William Glucroft
Saturday marks the 30th anniversary of German reunification, though pomp and circumstance this year will be more subdued than originally planned due to the pandemic.
An invitation-only ceremony in neighboring Potsdam will kick off on Saturday at noon. Both Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier are expected to attend and it will be aired on public broadcaster ARD.
There will also be “unity” events open to the public in the Brandenburg capital. Visitors over the age of 7 must wear masks in certain areas.
Oct. 3 is an official public holiday, so supermarkets and drugstores will be closed.
Take a listen to this recent episode of “Studio Berlin” exploring how connected Germans are really 30 years after reunification.
Berlin police say they’re investigating whether their officers took part in a far-right chat group.
A report by public broadcaster ARD’s “Monitor” alleges at least 25 officers were part of the chat group for several years. They reportedly exchanged racist and xenophobic remarks that a group leader did little to stop.
Sebastian Fiedler, who heads the Association of German Criminal Investigators, told ARD that independent oversight is necessary. He added officers should be encouraged to report illegal and unethical behavior within their ranks and be protected from retribution.
This is the latest of several reports of far-right sympathies among police in Germany. Last month, German authorities began investigating 29 police officers in North-Rhine Westphalia for allegedly sharing images on WhatsApp of Adolf Hitler and a fictional depiction of a refugee in a gas chamber
One of Berlin’s coronavirus “traffic lights,” the seven-day incidence rate, jumped to red this week for the first time since the system was introduced.
As of Thursday evening, the seven-day incidence rate citywide was 32.7 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, with several neighborhoods, including Mitte and Neukölln seeing higher spikes.
The last time the seven-day incident rate surpassed 30 was as the start of the pandemic.
But the other two factors — the reproduction rate of the virus and the number of available intensive care beds — are both still green.
Meanwhile, Germany’s Foreign Office lifted a blanket travel ban on most countries outside of the EU yesterday. The change just means travel warnings are once again country-and-region-specific.
Find out more about the latest changes to Berlin’s COVID-19 rules here.
This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.
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