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  • Corona in Berlin: Hotline, testing and news — Everything you need to know

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Corona in Berlin: Hotline, testing and news — Everything you need to know

Hand-washing, home office, toilet roll rationing: life under corona lockdown has become the new normal in Berlin. While the city isn’t as badly affected by the pandemic as other capitals around the world, infections are rising and the situation remains serious and fast changing. 

Feeling overwhelmed by all the corona news? Here are the most important things you need to know about coronavirus in Berlin right now, in line with advice from the Robert Koch Institut, Germany’s disease control and prevention institute.

A statue wears a face mask on the bank of the Spree in Berlin on April 2nd, 2020 (Photo: imago images / Emmanuele Contini)

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

According to the World Health Organisation, the most common coronavirus symptoms are:

dry cough
difficulty breathing (severe cases)

It’s possible to have the virus for 1 to 14 days before developing symptoms. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.

Germany has rolled out large-scale testing to help control the spread of coronavirus (Photo: Imago/Trutschel/Photothek)

What should I do if I think I have coronavirus in Berlin? 

Firstly, in line with WHO advice: stay at home if you feel unwell. 

Berlin’s Senate health authority has set up a central coronavirus hotline. If you think you might have been exposed to coronavirus and are showing symptoms, you can call the hotline from 8am to 8pm each day on 030 90 28 2828.

They will advise whether you need to be tested or should seek medical treatment.

If you’ve had contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient in the past two weeks, you should stay at home and contact your local health authority.

The medical team at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, one of Europe’s largest university hospitals, have developed CovApp, a simple questionnaire-based risk assessment app designed to help determine whether someone should get tested for SARS-CoV-2. The responses provided can then be sent anonymously to Charité via QR code to help streamline treatment, if needed.

Berlin’s Charité hospital and non-profit Potsdam-based company Data4Life have created the CovApp questionnaire, which is intended to facilitate decisions on whether to have a corona test done (Photo: imago images / Klaus Martin Höfer)

Where do I go to get tested for coronavirus in Berlin?

If, after calling the designated hotline or speaking to a doctor, you’ve been advised to get tested for coronavirus, here are the eight assessment centres currently open in Berlin:

  • Charité – Campus Virchow-Klinikum in Wedding (Mittelallee 1; open daily from 8am to 4pm) 
  • Vivantes-Wenckebach-Klinikum in Tempelhof (Albrechtstraße, Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat/Sun 10am-5pm) 
  • Gemeinschaftskrankenhaus Havelhöhe in Spandau (House 16, Kladower Damm 221, open Mon-Fri 9am-8pm)
  • Vivantes-Klinikum in Prenzlauer Berg (Diesterwegstraße, Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat/Sun 10am-5pm) 
  • Evangelisches Krankenhaus Königin Elisabeth Herzberge in Lichtenberg (House 19, Herzbergstraße 79, Mon-Fri: 10am-7pm, Sat/Sun 10am-5pm), website 
  • DRK-Klinikum Westend in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf (House 10, Spandauer Damm 130, Mon-Fri: 9am-3pm) 
  • Vivantes-Klinikum Spandau (Neuendorfer Straße 69, not on the clinic premises, follow the signs, Mon-Fri: 10am-7pm, Sat/Sun 10am-5pm) 
  • DRK-Kliniken Köpenick (House 5.3, Salvador-Allende-Straße 2-8, Mon-Fri: from 9am – a maximum of 50 tests per day can currently be carried out here)
The coronavirus test centre at the Vivantes-Wenckebach-Klinikum in Berlin Tempelhof (Photo: imago images / Travel-Stock-Image)

For particularly vulnerable or immobile patients, the fire department and Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KV) Berlin have set up a joint transport service which can be reached by calling 116 117. Between 7am and 10pm, this service helps patients with severe colds who need a doctor at home or in nursing homes. 

What are the current restrictions in Berlin? Can I go outside?

Berliners are permitted to go outside for one of the following reasons:

  • to go to work (including volunteering) 
  • to go shopping for food and essentials
  • for sport or exercise — but only alone, with members of your own household, or with one other person 
  • for walking and gardening 
  • to visit the doctor 
  • visiting life partners, the elderly, sick or people with disabilities 
  • visiting terminally ill immediate family members or attend such a funeral
  • accompanying people in need of assistance, or minors 
  • to leave or and return to Berlin – but only on a direct route to or from your home or accommodation 
  • for official or court appointments that are urgent

An identity card or other official photo ID (in conjunction with proof of residential address) must now be carried at all times. Police or other authorities may ask to check this and can issue a fine for non-compliance.

Wherever you go, you must keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres from other people at all times.

A man exercises in the fresh air at Volkspark Friedrichshain (Photo: imago images / Sabine Gudath)

What is closed in Berlin?

On 22nd March, Germany’s federal and state governments introduced sweeping restrictions to daily life in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. The following closures are set to continue until 19th April, at which point they will be reviewed again.

Cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums, galleries and similar institutions, brothels, clubs, exhibitions, trade fairs, special markets, gambling arcades, casinos and betting shops are closed.

In addition, hairdressers, beauty studios, massage parlours and tattoo studios must close and cannot offer their services elsewhere. Medically necessary treatments like physiotherapy are still permitted.

Schools, day-care centres and children’s playgrounds are closed until after the Easter holidays (19th April).

Restaurants, bars, and shisha bars are closed. Restaurants can still offer takeaway and delivery services, but stringent hygiene rules must be observed and adequate distance between people waiting in line must be ensured.

Hotels and other providers of overnight accommodation are not permitted to provide accommodation for tourists.

Children’s playgrounds are also closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Photo: imago images / Emmanuele Contini)

What is still open in Berlin?

Retail outlets must remain closed, with the exception of food and drink stores – including Spätis, takeaway and delivery services, farmers’ markets, pharmacies, drugstores, medical supply stores, petrol stations, banks, savings banks, post offices, laundromats, newspaper kiosks, and bookstores.

Building and garden supply stores, pet supply stores, bicycle shops, funeral homes, trade supply stores, and wholesalers are also open.

These outlets are currently allowed to open on Sundays and public holidays from 12pm to 6pm to sell necessary goods for daily use until 19th April 2020.

Most public transport routes remain operational on a holiday timetable.

Supermarkets and other food and drink stores are allowed to remain open, often allowing a limited number of shoppers inside at any one time (Photo: imago images / Sabine Gudath)

All information up to date as of 8th April 2020. Follow the latest coronavirus updates from Berlin’s Senate and the Robert Koch Institut. Both have current information in English.

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