Berlin hit by sudden second spike in coronavirus cases as Germany bans events

Berlin has been hit with a sudden spike in coronavirus cases with hundreds of homes urgently placed in lockdown.

The south side of the city is said to be the epicentre of the fresh outbreak where seven apartment buildings in the borough of Neukölln are said to have infected occupants.

Now all 369 households have been ordered into quarantine in order to halt the spread of infection further.

Neukölln mayor Martin Hikel said: “The special thing here is that it went so incredibly fast.

“We realised quite soon that whole apartment blocks were concerned and that we had to put them under quarantine.

“What’s also new and what is special is that the housing conditions are extremely tight and that it is not easy with eight people in a two-room-apartment to stay out of each other’s way or to be locked in for two weeks.

“These are now the very special and difficult challenges we have to face. And that makes the work here very difficult and it is a huge challenge to defuse and pacify the situation on site.”

It comes as Berlin has seen nearly 400 cases of Covid-19 and 209 deaths since the outbreak began.

Nationwide the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has shot up by 345 to 187,184, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday.

Germany, a nation of 84 million, will extend a ban of large events, including fairs, until at least the end of October, broadcaster n-tv reported on citing a document prepared for a meeting of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet.

Now residents been encouraged to download Germany’s smartphone app to help trace coronavirus infections.

The app, which launched Tuesday, has been downloaded 6.5 million times in the first 24 hours since its launch, the chief executive of software company SAP said on Wednesday.

Berlin hit by sudden second spike in coronavirus cases as Germany bans events

CEO Christian Klein said: “It’s a big success, it scales, it’s user friendly and it helps society.”

Germany joins European countries like Italy, Poland and Latvia in launching apps which use Bluetooth wireless to measure contacts between people and issue a warning should one of them later test positive for Covid-19.

Although the technology is untested, governments have rushed to deploy it in the absence of a cure for Covid-19, seeking
instead to achieve a kind of digital “herd immunity” against the flu-like disease.

Widespread take-up is needed, however, to increase the chance that both people in a risk event spending 15 minutes within two metres of each other use the app.

At the same time Germany as eased travelling restrictions, with holiday makers already jetting off for their summer breaks to Spain.