1. GA-English

37 confirmed coronavirus cases in Bonn: "We are in a situation we have never experienced before"

37 confirmed coronavirus cases in Bonn : "We are in a situation we have never experienced before"

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Bonn has now risen to 37. Under certain conditions, children will continue to be cared for in the municipal day-care centres and schools starting on Monday. Meanwhile, the SWB is altering the frequency of its service.

37 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been recorded in the city of Bonn since Sunday afternoon. This is a further increase, but according to Susanne Engels, vice-head of the health department, none of the patients is seriously ill so far. In contrast, there are 529 cases of influenza, many of which are seriously ill and require intensive medical care.

On Saturday, the city was thronged with visitors to the newly opened coronavirus diagnostics centre on Gotenstrasse. Many people even came without an appointment and some did not even come from Bonn. Examinations are only carried out there if a family doctor or the medical on-call service has made an appointment beforehand. The two mobile teams of the centre took 28 swab tests over the weekend and 36 swab tests were taken in the diagnostic centre itself.

At a press conference in the Old Town Hall on Sunday afternoon, mayor Ashok Sridharan said a that municipal and independent day-care centres will continue to be open from Monday onwards. However, they will only care for children whose parents are both so-called key persons, which means that they work in professions that maintain public safety and order as well as medical and nursing care for the population and the maintenance of central functions of public life. This regulation also applies to single parents. For children who cannot be cared for, contributions are to be refunded, according to Sridharan.

Although parents can still decide on Monday and Tuesday according to their own conscience whether they work in the respective occupational groups, a confirmation from the employer will be required from Wednesday. School children in the above-mentioned group will also continue to be looked after up to and including Tuesday. The city announced the establishment of hotlines for questions concerning care in day-care centres and schools on Tuesday.

Shops will remain open

The head of Bonn’s city council appealed to all employers, whom he asked to be as flexible as possible in dealing with working regulations. Sridharan said “We are all together in a special situation, the likes of which we have never experienced before.”

Pubs, restaurants and shops in Bonn will remain open for the time being. “We’ll have to wait and see how things develop”, said the mayor. However, all swimming pools will be closed. Sridharan also announced that in view of the cancelled events in municipal leased event buildings such as the Brückenforum and Bad Godesberg Stadthalle, he would waive the lease payments for the time being.

Sridharan was sceptical concerning the Hofgarten concerts, at which Robbie Williams, Kraftwerk and the Fantastic Four are to perform. According to state decree, all events with more than 1,000 participants are prohibited. There is currently no far time limit for this, so that as long as the decree is not revoked, the concerts cannot take place.

The Lord Mayor of Bonn also appealed to all Bonn residents to refrain from panic buying. This was unnecessary, he said, and there was no reason to worry that the supplies to shops could not be maintained.

Will the local elections be postponed?

The coronavirus is also having an impact on politics in Bonn. For the time being, the city does not want to allow any committees of the city council take place until April 19, as a precaution against coronavirus infection. This also affects the city council meeting itself, which was scheduled for March 26. Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan has informed the local politicians of this by means of a council newsletter. Urgent decisions are to be made via urgent resolutions.

The cancellation also affects the regular Monday meetings of the Council faction and therefore, coronavirus has paralysed part of local politics. Due to the numerous cancellations of various party and election campaign events, a possible postponement of the date for the local elections in NRW is already being considered, the GA learned from insiders. The election of local politicians and mayors is currently scheduled for September 13.

The SWB is reducing the frequency of its service

The Stadtwerke Bonn wants to follow the actions of other public transport companies such as the KVB and will also reduce their servicces from Wednesday. Buses and trains will therefore run according to the Saturday schedule.

(Original text; Lisa Inhoffen and Laszlo Scheuch, translation John Chandler)