Daily Host Nation Stories June 30, 2020
Baden Württemberg State Government will not finance Corona tests for everyone like in Bavaria
Stuttgart – Baden-Württemberg will continue to neither offer nor finance corona tests for everyone, as in Bavaria. “The overwhelming majority of all well-known epidemiologists and health experts do not think much of unlimited testing,” said a spokesperson for Social Minister Manfred Lucha (Greens).
Rather, they pleaded for targeted and intelligent testing of specific groups of people and in the vicinity of local or regional outbreaks. Nevertheless, Baden-Württemberg at least wants to introduce an extended testing strategy for the region. Minister of Social Affairs Lucha wants to present his plans to the cabinet on Tuesday.
Bavaria’s strategy of tests for everyone is currently a bone of contention. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) criticizes mass tests without a systematic approach as not target-oriented and an unnecessary burden. Lucha’s spokeswoman called comprehensive testing a possible deceptive package. This is always only a tiny snapshot and therefore has no lasting benefit.
Bavaria’s Minister President Markus Söder rejects the criticism. “This is the only serious option, otherwise there will be too little testing,” replied the CSU leader in Munich. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, June 30)
Bundestag decides to reduce the value added tax
The Bundestag has passed important parts of the economic stimulus package, which is intended to boost consumption and the economy during the Corona crisis. The chamber of states voted unanimously for the package, which will come into effect on July 1. Less taxes when shopping and a child bonus of 300 euros. A reduction in the value-added tax is intended to strengthen purchasing power again, which has been weakened by the corona pandemic and reduced working hours. By the end of the year, instead of 19 percent, only 16 percent VAT will be charged on purchases. The reduced rate, which applies to many food items and goods for daily use, will be reduced from seven to five percent. Many supermarkets, car and furniture stores have already announced that they will pass the savings on to their customers one-to-one. In some cases prices were already reduced at the beginning of the week. (Welt.de, June 30)
Schools re-open with reduced hours
Stuttgart – For the first time since the lockdown, all Elementary school children will receive at least four hours of daily classes again. However, significant changes to the daily routine have been made. During recess, only a fraction of the students are allowed to participate at any one time, teachers and supervisors wear masks, and lessons are held at different times and in fixed class groups.
Principal Christina Seeger clarified that the school grounds are still closed and strict hygiene regulations still apply. Only students, teachers, and supervisors are allowed in. Parents and guests must stay outside. “Our first priority is to ensure that we can guarantee that the virus does not spread.”
Although parents and children are very happy about the opening of the school, timetable is sobering when it comes to the number of hours for which lessons can actually be offered. The epidemic has exacerbated the already existing teacher shortage. With the reduced lessons, the current teacher capacities are apparently sufficient at all 71 primary schools in Stuttgart. Only four small primary schools had to ask for support due to lack of staff. They had been helped by delegations or returnees. The lack of music and sports lessons had also freed up capacities. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, June 29)
Corona cases accumulate at elementary school
Seven people in the district of Neu-Ulm have been infected with the coronavirus in the past week – and they all may have something to do with the Neu-Ulm Weststadt primary school. Two classes of students had to be sent into quarantine because the suspicion of an infection with Covid-19 had been confirmed there. In addition, an after-school care group was also closed, which is attended by the same children. The public health department has now carried out comprehensive tests in the affected classes and in the after-school care center. The spokeswoman for the district office could not say how many children were affected. At least a large part of the seven corona infections that are currently still registered in the district are thus connected to the Weststadt school. The public health department had “immediately” begun to find contact persons in order to quickly break possible chains of infection. (Schwaebische.de, June 29)
Problems with free running dogs in the forests
Waldenbuch – In Corona times, the forest is a popular place of retreat from which one hopes for peace and relaxation. But because more and more people are romping around under the green canopy of leaves, conflicts cannot be avoided. Walkers, cyclists, mushroom pickers, geocaching fans on a treasure hunt, and dog owners with their four-legged friends have to get along with each other on the narrow paths. The important question is whether your dog should be kept on a leash or can he run around freely in the forest. What is actually allowed and where are the limits?
Forest district managers Götz Graf Bülow and Daniel Berner say, “There are always situations in which dog owners do not have their four-legged friends under control. A large percentage behave exemplary, but the small percent provoke negative events and create a bad image for everyone.”
During their tours through the forest, the foresters also repeatedly encounter people whose dogs are off hunting in the undergrowth. The majority know that they can be fined for a runaway and poaching dog in the forest. In Baden-Wuerttemberg, dogs are allowed to run unleashed in the forest. However, the prerequisite is that they remain within the sphere of influence of their owner and can be immediately recalled. Anyone who does not follow the rules commits an administrative offence, which can lead to a €150-350 fine.
In order to avoid conflicts, the forester recommends a positive approach. If you call your dog back in time, and put him on a leash, you are sending a signal to the other person that you care about their safety and enjoyment too. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, June 29)
Attempted playground kidnap
Disturbing scene at a playground in Berlin. Passers-by interrupted a man in what appeared to be an attempted kidnap of a small child on a playground in Berlin while the mother was distracted. The perpetrator was arrested, but then released as intent could not be proved. (Ntv, June 30)
Car struck by a thrown rock in the Böblingen district
Böblingen – A 20-year-old man was very lucky on Sunday shortly before midnight. An unknown person struck his car windshield with a thrown rock on the road from Böblingen to Renningen shortly before the Grafenau exit. The six kilogram stone hit the middle of the windscreen, but the laminated glass held, and the driver was not injured. After the 20-year-old brought his vehicle to a halt, he alerted the police. The officers immediately searched the scene with a police helicopter, but could not find anyone. The police are asking for witnesses. The telephone number of the criminal investigation department in Ludwigsburg is 070 3113 00. Drivers are repeatedly the targets of such attacks, and few are as mild as those on Sunday. Many perpetrators are severely punished, because the charge is usually attempted murder. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, June 30)
Stumbling blocks for former Sindelfingen citizens
Memorial stones, known as “stumbling blocks,” to the victims of National Socialism are to be installed in Sindelfingen. More than 25,000 stumbling blocks already exist in 25 countries. The motion was signed by representatives of all parliamentary groups and factions represented in the municipal council: CDU, Greens, SPD, Independent Voters, FDP and Left Party. The stones, each of which is reminiscent of a particular person, are financed by sponsors. Anyone who wants to participate can pay for a stone, which costs 120 euros.
The Stolperstein-Initiative was founded in 2006 by the artist Günter Demnig. The names and dates of people who were victims during the Nazi era are engraved onto square brass plaques attached to the stones. These stones are then embedded in the ground, in places to which the person concerned had a connection, for example, in their former hometown.
Such stumbling blocks already exist in Böblingen, Holzgerlingen and Waldenbuch. In Sindelfingen there are other monuments that remind us of the fates of people who were persecuted during the Nazi era. The stumbling blocks provide the opportunity to remember the fate of these people by name. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, June 30)