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Berlin’s famous Admiralspalast theatre reopened its doors on Thursday as a coronavirus testing station, as Germany was facing a record rise in the numbers of infections.

Hygiene instructions and requests to keep a safe distance could be seen among the placards advertising past performances in the historic venue.

The facility was set up to take rapid antigen tests, which are normally ready in approximately 15 minutes, according to doctor Amin Zair.

Benjamin Fockersperger, who organised the theatre’s transformation into a test centre, explained that the idea arose because “the official PCR test stations from the Berlin government, the laboratories, they are all completely overwhelmed, and this is partially why one must wait two or three days for an appointment.”

“Admiralspalast was very attracted to the idea, because they themselves had applied to be a vaccination station, and so that’s why it was very quick to make a partnership,” he added.

The theatre, like other cultural venues, had been forced to cease operations due to COVID-19 restrictions.

On Thursday, Germany’s Robert Koch Institute reported a record 23,679 new cases in the past 24 hours, the country’s highest daily number since the start of the pandemic.

SOT, Amin Zaid, doctor (English): “They take about fifteen minutes so we swab, like, the nose of the patients, or in this situation, clients. We do the test behind me and after fifteen minutes they get their results directly per email. And then they can use them for travelling or for their own information. Our tests have a high sensitivity and we are offering this quick service and we are here in the heart of Berlin.”

SOT, Benjamin Fockersperger, founder of testing station (German): “It is very difficult to get a test in a short time. The official PCR test stations from the Berlin government, the laboratories, they are all completely overwhelmed, and this is partially why one must wait two or three days for an appointment. And that’s why we opened a rapid testing station here in Admiralspalast.”

SOT, Benjamin Fockersperger, founder of testing station (German): “And the Admiralspalast was very attracted to the idea, because they themselves had applied to be a vaccination station, and so that’s why it was very quick to make a partnership.”

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Video ID: 20201210-048

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