Berlin nightlife to witness first curfew in 70 years as Covid cases hike

New Delhi (NVI): Berlin’s nightlife is facing a closing time for the first time in 70 years as the party-loving German capital seeks to contain spiralling coronavirus infection rates.

From Saturday, bars, restaurants and off-licences will have to close their doors between 11pm and 6am as a large second wave of Covid-19 cases in the city threatens to taint Germany’s image as a pandemic role model.

With health authorities mainly blaming private parties and family meet-ups for the latest outbreaks, public gatherings of more than five people from more than two households, and private gatherings of more than 10 people, will also be banned under the new rules announced, according to media reports.

Berlin has since the start of October been recording more daily new confirmed infections than it did at the peak of the first wave in late March, when testing capacity was more limited.

On Tuesday, two of the three “traffic lights” that make up the city’s coronavirus warning system switched to red after authorities recorded 44.2 new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days.

The rate of new cases in the inner-city districts that host Berlin’s nightlife were higher still: of seven hotspots listed by Germany’s disease control agency as having a seven-day incidence of more than 50 cases per 100,000 people, four are in the heart of the capital.

While Berlin’s nightclubs remain closed for the indefinite future, bars were allowed to reopen in June with hygiene restrictions

Introducing a closing time, which revellers in the capital have not had to adhere to since 1949, would be counterproductive because people would continue to party in their own homes.

-CHK