Letter from Berlin

By Kira Nübel

Berlin has arrived in summer 2021: pleasant temperatures and a mild breeze invite you to linger on the banks of the Spree and in the countryside. Outdoor restaurants and Berlin’s neighbourhoods are bubbling over with good humour and atmosphere. The colourful hustle and bustle has returned to the capital. This is also due to the decline in the number of Corona cases in recent months – they were even below an incidence value of 10 – the first time in a good year.

Now, however, the incidence values are rising again, and the fourth wave seems to be in full swing.  The 7-day incidence in Berlin is only just below 50, while it is 25.1 across Germany. The federal and state governments have now decided on new measures again. These include restrictions for the unvaccinated that will make it much more difficult for them to participate in the newly resurgent social life. Because from mid-October there will be an increased obligation to test in certain rooms, and Corona rapid tests will no longer be free of charge for the majority of citizens. In this way, more people are to be brought to the Corona vaccination. In Berlin, about 62% of citizens have received their first vaccination so far; about 55% are fully vaccinated.

In addition, the question of Angela Merkel’s successor dominates political Berlin. However, in view of the upcoming federal elections on 26 September – the outcome of which seems to be completely open at the moment – it can be assumed that there will be no further lockdown. However, it is impossible to predict what will happen in detail, both regarding the Corona pandemic and the important election in September. Nevertheless, the progress in vaccination gives hope that Berlin will weather the fourth wave well.