Tuesday morning, 10 a.m., crisis response center of the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. The first meeting of the day begins in one of the old vaults of the former Deutsche Reichsbahn between meter-thick steel gates. In normal times, computers and telephones are waiting for the next crisis in the basement of the house on Werdersche Markt. Since the Corona outbreak, the lights go out for a few hours at night.
Nine wall clocks show what time it is in the different time zones on earth. The first thing that comes in the morning are the crisis management staff who are responsible for Southeast Asia, and the last thing is that the South American people go at night. Around 50 employees gathered for the 10 a.m. meeting, some sitting at the U-shaped tables, the others crowding around the walls. It is narrow, the minimum distance of one and a half meters is hardly kept. Till Knorn, open shirt collar, dark blue sweater, welcomes everyone. He stands in front of a white board that lists around 50 countries. In addition, it is handwritten in red, green and blue colors how many Germans have been stranded in the respective country and how many have already made it back home. Around 200,000 Germans stuck abroad have been identified by the officials, 130,000 have already returned on this day, so 70,000 still have to "drain", as Knorn and his officials call it.