Prime Minister Michael Muller (SPD) struggled on Tuesday to dampen expectations of what can be expected from the authorities. His message after the Senate meeting: Everyone ultimately had to decide for himself which risk to take – whether he was going to a Hertha Bundesliga game in full S- and U-Bahn. “Public life will and must go on,” said Muller. According to health senator Dilek Kalayci (SPD), the population has to adjust to “that we live with this virus for several years and learn to deal with it””.

Muller, who for the first time expressed himself on a larger scale about the coronavirus in the Senate press conference, also spoke out against a general 14-day closure of all schools, which a virologist from the University of Halle had already pushed for on Monday. “Are there flu holidays?” Muller asked back. Such actions would only suggest security that could not exist. The medical director of the Charite, Ulrich Frei, said of the demand: “The colleague always comes up with original ideas.”

However, the head of government supported the concrete closure of three Berlin schools, which had contact with one of the five Berlin coronavirus infections known until Tuesday afternoon. “It is very important for us not to take any additional risks.” But he announced, “that we want to get back to normal school operations quickly – that cannot be a permanent condition.”


Muller emphasized several times that decisions should be made in each individual case. From his point of view, it makes a big difference whether hundreds of thousands of people would have been crowded all day long in poorly ventilated halls at the canceled ITB tourism exchange or whether tens of thousands were standing together in a Hertha game in the open air. Even for an Alba basketball Bundesliga game that can last an hour and a half or longer, Muller saw no reason to cancel. “We assume that sporting events can take place,” he said.

Health Senator Kalyci’s assessment is primarily about saving time and slowing the spread of the coronavirus – “that’s the only thing we can do.” Everyone is asked: “We just have to change our behavior.”

Kalayci urged older people to get vaccinated against whooping cough and pneumococci. Although this does not protect against the virus, it does stabilize the lungs. The five previously known Corona cases in Berlin, they say, have “nothing to do with each other”. A total of around 200 people have been identified as contact persons and are in quarantine

Stefan Alberti

Strikes endanger health

The third warning strike by Charite Facility Management (CFM) employees, which should have continued until the night shift on Wednesday at the Virchow Clinic in Wedding, was stopped on Tuesday at the direction of the Verdi federal executive board. Negotiator Marco Pavlik cited the reason for the fact that “in the hospital areas there are no uncontrollable spreading spots” from the coronavirus.

According to the press release of the Verdi operating group of the CFM, all ongoing industrial disputes “for the protection of human life” are interrupted with immediate effect. In addition to the strike at the CFM, the strike planned for the workers in the laboratories at the Lahn-Dill clinics in Wetzlar, Dillenburg and Braunfels (all in Hesse) has been suspended for one week.

A protest tent in front of the Virchow Clinic planned by the “Campaign against outsourcing and temporary employment” was nevertheless set up on Tuesday. In addition to members of the campaign, political student groups, activists from the women strike, but also from the neighborhood initiative “Hands off Wedding” were on site. In speeches and personal conversations, it became clear that there was no shared satisfaction with the decision to interrupt the strike.

“In no case does the strike endanger human life, on the contrary, the normal state is dangerous to health,” says Stefan Schneider, for example, of the campaign against outsourcing and temporary contracts, alluding to the working and equipment conditions that regularly lead to industrial disputes in hospitals nationwide,

Solidarity campaign for the employees of the CFM in front of the Virchow Clinic in WeddingPhoto: Roberto-Antonio Sanchino Martinez

It is more common to say that the decision to continue the strike should have been made by the workers. In fact, almost 200 signatures against the demolition were spontaneously collected on Monday.

It is unclear how exactly the future of the CFM workforce will continue. “We have to rebuild the strike,” it said in another speech. The Verdi Group’s press release also says that negotiations should resume. The next round of tariffs is scheduled for March 16. However, it is only possible to fight with all our strength as soon as “light comes into the dark corona theme”. It remains to be seen when that will be.

Roberto Sanchino Martinez

A bizarre thing

Since Tuesday morning, allegedly coronavirus infections have been tested in Mittelallee 1 in a Wedding. This separate contact point was set up to relieve medical practices and emergency services. In addition, the personnel does not have to be put under general suspicion after an examination, since the tests are screened. Four to six additional contact points are to be opened in Berlin.

At 10.40 a.m., first impressions: a white tent, hidden, behind the Charite investigation site. About ten people with breathing masks are standing in line, keeping a distance from each other, thickly wrapped up with a scarf and hood. A doctor with a special breathing mask and blue protective clothing, who is expressly not available for the press, distributes breathing masks and waiting numbers.

A short time later there are more and more people and the senior doctor refers to the tent. The suspected cases are close together. He now explains that it has to wait about an hour before the suspected cases, each in groups of three, are brought to the examination center. There they would first be asked, for example about stays in risk areas, before the test was then carried out.

The potential infected would only get the result the next day – until then there was strict quarantine in their own four walls. The suspected cases are responsible for this themselves – a rather reckless way of imposing quarantine.

A young woman says that her family doctor referred her to the contact point because she had symptoms and was at a Paris airport. Another woman says that she is an educator and therefore has to be tested. “Well prepared,” she says and says that she dialed the number of the emergency medical service on the Federal Ministry of Health’s website – and didn’t get through. She then called the health department, which wanted to send her the official doctor over there. Then the office revised the statement: A medical officer would generally not be sent and the specific test would only have the Charite examination center anyway. “There was a lot of misinformation,” said the educator.

A man from the press photographs the event. The head doctor expressly warns him: “No photos!” “People have a right to information!” Calls the photographer. “But I have the house rights!” Answers the doctor and disappears into the contact point.

Alissa Geffert

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