German district left dependant on fax machine to report COVID infections

German district left dependant on fax machine to report COVID infections

Amid rising infection numbers across the whole of Germany, one district in Berlin has recently been reporting a seven-day incidence rate of 0,0. Could this be a sign of the pandemic losing its grip? Well, not quite: the district has just been unable to transmit data due to technical issues.

IT issues leave Berlin district unable to report infection data

Despite a recent focus on digitisation, Germany is known for being somewhat behind when it comes to technology. A local health office in the Marzahn-Hellersdorf district of Berlin exemplified this technological ineptitude perfectly when it was recently left with only a fax machine to record coronavirus data

Although the problem has since been rectified, the district was for several days unable to transmit the correct number of coronavirus infections to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and the State Office for Health and Social Affairs (LAGeSo). The health office confirmed that it had been unable to report the correct number of cases since January 8.

Initially, the issue was simply down to an IT problem, with the district's database struggling to process the huge amount of coronavirus data being recorded. According to District Mayor Gordon Lemm, these problems were fixed on Thursday 13. However, technology soon failed the authority again and only infection numbers transmitted to the office via fax machine were being recorded. 

6.000 cases still need to be recorded

Lemm told reporters that experts were called in on Monday to fix the health office’s technological woes. However, the delay in reporting has had an impact on Berlin’s overall incidence rate since. As of Thursday, the seven-day incidence rate in the city-state was 1.154,1, but will presumably rise significantly once the missing cases from Marzahn-Hellersdorf are transmitted. 

It is reported that around 6.000 cases still have to be recorded.

William Nehra


William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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