Berlin cancels large cultural events over virus fears: official

Large cultural events in Berlin's theatres, operas and concert houses will be cancelled from Wednesday to prevent coronavirus contagion, authorities in the German capital said.

The measure will remain in place until April 19th, and will also affect concerts at the renowned Berlin Philharmonic, Berlin's pointman on culture, Klaus Lederer, said Tuesday, adding that it was "regrettable but one must assume the responsibility".

Organisers of smaller shows in locations holding up to 500 people will have to decide individually if their events will go ahead, in accordance with guidance given by the federal disease control centre Robert Koch Institute.

Health Minister Jens Spahn had recommended that events with more than 1,000 people should be scrapped until further notice, after coronavirus cases in Germany soared past 1,100 this week.

Several Bundesliga games will be played without spectators, while other huge fairs including Berlin's ITB travel show and the Hannover Messe technology event have been scrapped.

Germany's biggest cluster of infected patients are in the country's most populous state North Rhine-Westphalia, where 323 cases have been reported in the district of Heinsberg alone.

Two people have also died of the virus in the state.


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