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DARMSTADT

Bus driver in Germany attacked after asking passenger to wear face mask

A woman in Darmstadt, near Frankfurt, assaulted a bus driver repeatedly after being asked to stick to coronavirus rules and wear a face mask, according to police.

Bus driver in Germany attacked after asking passenger to wear face mask
A sign urging people to wear masks on buses in Frankfurt in Hesse. Photo: DPA

Everyone in Germany is required by law to wear a covering over their face and mouth while on public transport as well as in shops.

On Wednesday police in the city of Darmstadt in Hesse said a bus driver was struck by a passenger and injured after she pointed out the rules.

The female passenger, said to be between 20 and 30-years-old entered the bus with three men and child. No members of the group were covering their mouths and noses.

The bus driver warned the group repeatedly to comply with this regulation. However, police said the group insulted the driver.

At the end of the journey, the suspect then entered the area next to the driver and struck her several times.

The group then fled the scene.

Police are searching for the suspect and have asked witnesses to come forward.

It's the latest in a series of violent attacks on bus drivers. In England last week a driver was attacked for not allowing someone on the bus because they were not wearing a mask.

Earlier this month, a bus driver in France died after being beaten up by passengers who refused to wear face masks.

Meanwhile, several teenagers attacked police and bus drivers recently during a mask check in Friborg, Switzerland, leaving two officers injured.

Bavaria sets up test centres in railway stations and on motorways

Coronavirus test stations for motorists at the Bavarian border as well as for rail travellers at Munich and Nuremberg main stations are scheduled to go into operation on Thursday.

According to the health ministry in Munich, interim test centres are planned near the border crossings Kiefersfelden, Walserberg and Pocking at the rest stops Inntal-Ost and Heuberg, Hochfelln-Nord and Donautal-Ost. The Bavarian state government had decided on Tuesday to set up the test centres.

READ ALSO: Bavaria to offer free coronavirus tests at train stations and motorways

Police break up parties in Berlin

And in Berlin, hundreds of people flouted coronavirus rules by partying in city parks. Up to 1,200 people gathered in the Hasenheide park in Neukölln on Tuesday, according to police.

Police said music was played loudly and people were not following the required 1.5 metre distance rule.

In Volkspark Friedrichshain, about 250 young people gathered on Tuesday night to drink alcohol. Police said bottles were thrown at officers when they tried to break up the gathering.

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COVID-19

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Since the start of Germany’s Oktoberfest, the incidence of Covid infections in Munich has risen sharply. Though a connection with the festival can’t yet be proven, it seems likely.

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Two weeks after the start of Oktoberfest, the Covid numbers in Munich have more than tripled.

On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an incidence of 768.7 for the city of Munich, though updated figures for the end of the festival are not expected until later in the week. Usually, on weekends and public holidays, there is a delay in reports.

In the entire state of Bavaria, the incidence value on Sunday was 692.5.

According to Munich’s public health officer, Beatrix Zurek, bed occupancy in Munich hospitals has also increased. Two weeks ago, 200 beds in Munich were occupied by Covid patients, whereas there are now around 350.

Though a relationship between the sharp rise in infections with Oktoberfest, which ended on Monday, can’t be proven at the moment, it seems very likely, according to experts. A significant increase in Covid incidences has also been shown at other public festivals – about one and a half weeks after the start. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, around 5.7 million visitors came to this year’s Wiesn according to the festival management – around 600,000 fewer than at the last Oktoberfest before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) took to Twitter to comment on the rise in incidence in Munich during the Oktoberfest. “This would not have been necessary if self-tests had been taken before admission,” he said.

“Compared to the price of a measure of beer, €2-3 (for tests) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.

Even before the start of the Wiesn, he had spoken out in favour of people taking voluntary self-tests. Lauterbach stressed that now is the time for special measures against Covid.

“The development shows what will happen if the states wait too long with the mask obligation in indoor areas,” he added.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

In neighbouring counties, where many Oktoberfest visitors came from, the number of Covid cases has also risen noticeably.  Beatrix Zurek said that it is unclear, however, how much of a role Oktoberfest played in these figures, as people are currently much more active socially overall, with concerts and other events also taking place throughout the state.

Christoph Spinner, an infections specialist at Munich’s Klinikum, has urged people not to be alarmed by the rising numbers.

“We had expected rising incidences here. We knew that there could be a doubling, tripling, even quadrupling,” he said.

He said that this is no cause for concern, as many people have been vaccinated or have also recovered from previous Covid infections, so any new infections are therefore usually mild.

The virologist advises people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions to get a second booster vaccination, but otherwise said people shouldn’t be alarmed by the rising incidences.

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