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GA English on Sunday: News in Brief from Bonn and the region

GA English on Sunday : News in Brief from Bonn and the region

Significant drop in corona infection rates in NRW, Bonn city provides sports fields for Islam festive prayers, blood donation marathon held for second time at Bonn’s University Hospital, and fruit stalls sell local produce all over the city - here is our news in brief on Sunday.

Incidence rates in NRW drop significantly

The clear downward trend in new COVID infections is continuing in North Rhine-Westphalia. On Sunday morning, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 88.5 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in NRW over the past seven days.

In 35 of the 53 districts and independent cities, the so-called seven-day incidence rate has now fallen below the mark of 100, which means that after several days, outdoor restaurants are allowed to open. Only Hagen (201.9) and Leverkusen (165.5) are above 165, which is the threshold at which face-to-face classes may no longer be held in schools.

The city of Münster continues to have the lowest incidence rate with 21.9. In Cologne, the largest city in NRW, the figure on Sunday reached 89.8. In Düsseldorf, the state capital, the incidence rate has dropped to 75.1.

(Original text: dpa)

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Festive prayer on Bonn sports fields

BONN. On Thursday morning walkers at the sports field on Hohe Straße were presented with a striking sight: In the bright sunshine, almost 400 Muslims in colourful costumes had gathered on the occasion of Eid to say their festive prayers together. “We are grateful and delighted that the municipal authorities have allowed us to use the sports fields again this year,” said Mesud Gülbahar from the local association of the Milli Görüs Islamic Community (IGMG). Last year, the city had made four sports fields available because the mosques had to remain closed.

Participants had to bring their own prayer rug and provide their contact details at the entrance. The organisers instructed everyone to follow the hygiene and social distancing rules. A disinfection station was also set up at the sports field. After the "check-in", stewards led the worshippers to the marked prayer places on the field.

"Normally, the imam says that those praying should stand shoulder to shoulder so that more people can pray together," says Gülbahar. During the pandemic, however, this rule does not apply, the number of participants is limited, and masks had to be worn during prayers.

“Many people have not seen each other for a long time and want to talk after the prayers. This morning, the stewards have already broken up two or three groups in front of the exit, because we cannot take responsibility for that,” reports Gülbahar. For this reason, the organisers had also set up a separate entrance and exit for the participants.

Overall, however, the rules were well observed. “I think it's very nice to see that we Muslims have a place in this society, and in this way, we are even more connected to nature.”

(Original text: Abir Kassis)

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Bonn medical students organise blood donation marathon

BONN. Following the première last year, the University Hospital in Bonn (UKB) is taking part in the second nationwide blood donation marathon. Donations will be made at 16 locations across Germany.

The campaign, which launched on Monday and runs until 4 June, was initiated by Leonard Richter, who studies in Marburg and comes originally from Bonn. He contacted medical faculties at numerous German universities and asked them to organise the competition in order to mobilise as many donors as possible and thus save lives. “I came up with the idea for the competition last year in the context of the worsening pandemic and the massive shortage of blood reserves that accompanied it,” says the 24-year-old.

The number of blood donors has been declining for some years. At the same time, the average age of the donor continues to rise; it is currently just under 50 years. “The aim of the competition is therefore to encourage more young people to donate blood,” explains the medical student. As a future doctor, he sees it as his “duty to make blood donation attractive”. He has clearly succeeded in this: A total of 13,891 people took part in his competition last year and donated around 7,000 litres of blood. With just under 1000 donors, Bonn came in seventh place in the competition.

Monika Jakobs-Sackenheim is the public relations coordinator of the blood donation service and would like to be “among the best three”. After all, last year they started the competition a week late and still came seventh. Up to 1500 donors are expected this year. The corona pandemic should not affect this, as there are several measures in place to ensure that the blood is given safely. “There have been some changes since the beginning of the pandemic: We have introduced an entry check, body temperature is measured, we ask about contacts and everyone must wear an FFP2 mask,” explains Jakobs-Sackenheim.

Whereas before the pandemic most donors came by whenever they wanted to, now an appointment system has been introduced. Donors have to book an appointment by phone and are already asked questions, such as whether they have been on holiday, are vaccinated or suffer from certain conditions.

A new blood donation app has been created which also allows appointments to be booked online. The appointment system ensures that there are not too many donors on site at the same time and therefore that the corona regulations can be maintained. It also prevents the long queues in front of the donation centre that formed at the beginning of the pandemic.

(Original text: Thomas Leurs)

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Bonners bring their own containers to strawberry stands

HARDTBERG. Once again stalls can be seen all over Bonn selling freshly picked fruit and vegetables such as strawberries and asparagus, all grown locally. Most of them are cultivated at Schneiders fruit farm in Wachtberg. In addition to the two sales points that are open all year round, the family business operates 15 further outlets in various districts around the city which are open every day until July - even on Sundays and public holidays.

These stalls are usually located on private land. "We make sure that they are easily accessible and close to residential areas," explains Friederike Schneider. In response to a GA enquiry, the city explains that a “special use permit", is only required for stands on public ground.

The topic of sustainability is important for many consumers, something that Friederike Schneider has been experiencing for some time. Lots of customers bring their own bowls or dishes to the stands. "We really welcome this," says the master fruit grower from Wachtberg. Environmentally friendly packaging has long been important for the family business. “We only use cardboard bowls, chip baskets and paper bags,” she stresses.

The stalls are already well stocked despite the unfavourable start to the season. “We still had a lot of frosty nights during the spring, which meant that the plants were slow to develop. But these are quite normal stumbling blocks,” says Schneider. The ‘Clery’ strawberry was the first to start. “This early variety is particularly sweet. At optimal temperatures, it can be picked as early as May,” she explains.

At the beginning of the season, the berries ripen underneath a tunnel, but as soon as the temperatures become warmer during the day, harvesting begins in the open fields. “The secret lies in precise planning to catch the perfect picking time. We only pick when the berries are completely ripe." Normally, the strawberry harvest in NRW lasts until July. However, some farms still offer them up to October.

(Original text: Gabriele Immenkeppel)

(Translations: Caroline Kusch)