No action will be available in Germany’s capital from now on, after Berlin shut down all public venues in an attempt to halt the spread of the deadly coronavirus in central Europe’s most populated city.
The decision was announced by Berlin’s authorities on Saturday. All venues such as bars, clubs, cinemas, theaters and even brothels have been closed, while citizens are effectively prohibited from forming any groups of 50 or more.
“The Berlin Senate decided today that from now on all public and non-public events in Berlin with 50 or more participants are forbidden,” the city’s authorities said in a statement.
Some 216 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Berlin so far, while nationwide Germany has over 3,400 registered cases and eight resultant deaths.
Germany’s system of government is highly de-centralized, so lockdown announcements lie in hands of local authorities. Shortly before the capital’s, a similar move was made by the city of Cologne.
While the coronavirus epidemic has seemingly lost momentum in its country of origin –China– the disease has been spreading rapidly worldwide in the past few days. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the hotspot of the outbreak has shifted to Europe and the daily numbers there already surpass those in China. So far, Italy has experienced this the worst among the European countries – its total number of cases reached over 21,000 and the death toll has surpassed 1,400.
Earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called upon the citizens to minimize social contact, namely urging children to abstain from visiting grandparents. However, she spoke against tougher border controls, such as those implemented by Germany’s neighbors, to slow down the virus spread. For Germany, closing borders is “not an appropriate response to the challenge,” she argued.