Daily Host Nation Stories for June 23, 2020
Gütersloh district returns to lockdown
After the corona outbreak at the meat processor Tönnies, the authorities are now severely restricting public life in the Gütersloh district. For the first time in Germany, a district is returning to the protective measures that applied just a few weeks ago because of the corona infection, said NRW Premier Armin Laschet. In the district of Gütersloh, this is the “largest infection incidence” in NRW and in Germany so far. (NTV, June 23)
Berlin reports another corona outbreak
While the Senate of the State of Berlin decides to abolish contact restrictions, there is now apparently another case with dozens of infections following the corona outbreak in the Neukölln district. According to the newspaper “Tagesspiegel,” several families in a block of flats near Ostbahnhof in the Friedrichshain district are said to have contracted Sars-Cov-2. The newspaper refers to information from the neighborhood. The Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district office has not yet commented on the report. (NTV, June 23)
RKI says to not overestimate a higher infection rate
According to the Robert Koch Institute, the rate of infection in Germany has risen sharply due to individual local outbreaks. This is the reason why the R-value recently rose to over two, said RKI head Lothar Wieler. This means that on average, one infected person infects more than two others. However, since the number of new infections is still relatively low, this should not be overestimated. From 137 districts, no new case has been reported in the past weeks. (Robert Koch Institute, June 23)
Lufthansa offers scheduled flights to China again
After the compulsory break due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Lufthansa Group is resuming scheduled flights to mainland China. According to the airline, there will be a weekly connection from Frankfurt to Shanghai starting Wednesday. Another flight is scheduled every Friday from Shanghai to Frankfurt. According to Lufthansa, these are the group’s first regular flights to mainland China since the end of January. As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the People’s Republic had suspended visas and residence permits. Currently, entry is only possible with special permits. (Spiegel, June 23)
Berlin decides on fine for mask refusers
Anyone who does not wear a mask on public transport in Berlin, despite being required to do so, will be fined in the future. this has been decided by the Berlin Senate, according to the newspaper “Tagesspiegel.” It has not yet been determined whether the fine will also apply to violations in supermarkets. According to a newspaper report, the amount will be 50 euros. (Tagesspiegel, June 23)
Corona-App soon also available abroad
Minister of the Chancellor’s Office Helge Braun expects that the Corona warning app will be available in other countries before the peak travel season. “We think that we can connect Austria, Switzerland and Italy, for example, before the main summer travel season, because they have a very similar concept to ours,” Braun said on Tuesday on Radio World in the Morning of Bayerischer Rundfunk. It is more difficult with France, for example, Braun continued. “Because, there, the data is passed on to the state and we must of course ensure that the exchange of contacts that we have between the apps of two countries does not result in a low level of data protection.” (Radiowelt, June 23)
Corona vaccine from Curevac seems to be compatible
The first volunteer who received the corona vaccine from the Tübingen company Curevac has been released home. “It looks very, very good in terms of tolerability and safety of the vaccine,” said study leader Peter Kremsner, Institute of Tropical Medicine on Monday. The next three participants should be vaccinated during the course of the day. The 29-year-old volunteer was vaccinated on Friday and then monitored as an inpatient for 24 hours. Now she talks to the doctors at the Institute on the phone daily and comes for regular check-ups. If the first vaccination is well tolerated, a second vaccination with a higher dose will follow one month later. Curevac was the second German company, after Biontec from Mainz, to receive approval for a clinical trial. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, June 23)
Corona infection rate has risen sharply
As a result of several outbreaks of the coronavirus in individual regions of Germany, the reproduction number (R value), which is important for the spread of the virus, has recently increased significantly. According to the Robert Koch Institute, the value rose to 2.88 (previous day: 1.79) as of June 21. This means that an infected person infects on average between two and three other people. The RKI reported that the increase is related to local accumulations, with the outbreak in North Rhine-Westphalia playing a particularly important role.
“Since the case numbers in Germany are at a low level overall, these local outbreaks have a relatively strong influence on the value of the reproduction number,” the RKI management report states. According to the report, a noticeable number of cases have been registered in the last seven days in the four city and district districts of Gütersloh, Warendorf, Magdeburg and Berlin-Neukölln. The RKI attributes the cases in the NRW districts of Gütersloh and Warendorf to the outbreak at the Tönnies meat processing plant. In Magdeburg, the number of cases increased because people at several schools tested positive for Sars-CoV-2. In the Berlin district of Neukölln, the increase was related to an outbreak “in the environment of a religious community.”
In each case, the R-value reflects the course of infection about one and a half weeks before. According to the RKI, the value reacts sensitively to short-term changes in the number of cases, caused, for example, by individual outbreaks. With regard to the nationwide corona infections, the local authorities reported 537 new infections to the RKI within one day. This means that 359 people in Germany have been demonstrably infected with Sars-CoV-2 since the beginning of the corona crisis in 190, as the RKI reported on Monday. 8,885 people infected with the virus have died in Germany so far – an increase of three compared to the previous day. According to RKI estimates, about 175,300 people have survived the infection. That is 400 more than the day before. The seven-day R also rose to 2.03 (previous day: 1.55) with data as of 21.6., 0.00 hours. It shows the infection occurrence from eight to 16 days ago. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, June 23)
Social media may have motivated violent offenders
At a press conference on Sunday, Stuttgart Lord Mayor Fritz Kuhn spoke of an urge for self-dramatization in the social media, which among other things would have led to the riots.
Communication scientist Diana Riegers is researching the effects of media, digital communication and media psychology at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. She puts the events on the night of the riots in a different light.
Did the profiling in the social networks possibly encourage the perpetrators of violence in Stuttgart?
Analyses from extremism research show that perpetrators display their crimes online before or after terrorist attacks. Incentive systems in extreme groups do work in such a way that perpetrators are celebrated for attention generated on social media. But I would most likely explain the events in Stuttgart with socio-psychological group phenomena. Such dynamics can also be reinforced by the consumption of alcohol. But the perpetrators of violence in Stuttgart may also have felt motivated by the crowd standing around and the smartphone cameras filming.
Stuttgart police chief Franz Lutz said that aggressive behavior against the police has been increasingly documented and celebrated on social media in the recent past.
Two things come together: a negative image of the police that is currently spilling over from the US to us, and the impression of a majority that posts very actively in social media, but which does not necessarily have to be the majority in quantitative terms.
How do social networks influence the willingness to use real violence? This question has not yet been very well researched. However, it has been shown that polarizing opinions in social media are more likely to be sought out and represented by people who already have certain extreme attitudes.
Are self-dramatization on social media and the real violence it stimulates a growing problem among young people? No, I am not aware of any research results on this. I see no evidence that this is a growing phenomenon among the younger generation. Rather, I observe that social media are again giving rise to more protest movements overall, and that is definitely a positive sign. Younger people are also finding a new way of political participation through social media; prominent examples are Fridays for Future but also the Black Lives Matter movement. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, June 23)
The invisible traces of the night of the riot
Hectic and cramped scenes took place on Monday in Stuttgart’s Königsstraße. A crowd of dozens pushed through the already busy pedestrian zone in the midday heat. Security men pushed journalists in front of them.
Deputy Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg Thomas Strobl invited Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer to join him and Minister President Winfried Kretschmann to get a picture of the destruction. They inspected a damaged police car at the scene of the rioting. The three politicians stood in front of a shop where windows were destroyed. There wasn’t much to see of the devastation on Monday. Passersby strolled along the shopping mile as if nothing had happened.
However, the night of the riot left enormous traces. Previously unknown scenes took place in Stuttgart. Hundreds of rioters devastated the city center, threw cobblestones at passing police cars, smashed shop windows on the Stuttgart shopping mile and looted shops.
Strobl calls the perpetrators a “militant mob.” He said that there had never before been such a scale of looting and violence in Stuttgart and that it should not happen a second time. What had happened was a particularly serious case of breach of the peace. “This is not Baden-Wuerttemberg. This is not Stuttgart.” After all, there is no Gorlitz Park here, he says. Seehofer spoke of an “excess of violence” and an “alarm signal for the constitutional state.” In recent years, there has been an increasing willingness to use verbal and physical violence against police officers, firefighters and rescue workers nationwide, Seehofer said. “The violence is bad enough,” but also the denigration and insulting of officials must stop. The vast majority of the population is behind the police, Seehofer said.
However, a small part apparently regards the security forces as enemies. Police officer Jana Wagner was hit in the back of the head. Wagner was on the move with her colleagues from Schlossplatz to Eckensee where the rioting against the police began. At the age of 25, in her fourth year of service, she experienced something that officers with almost ten times the number of years of service had never seen before. She recovered on Sunday. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, June 23)
Men beat passengers on S-Bahn
On Saturday, three young men beat and harassed two passengers on an S-Bahn train travelling from Stuttgart to Herrenberg. According to the police, a verbal argument between the two later victims and three young men allegedly took place in a train of the S1 line at about 1:15 a.m. An 18-year-old man had threatened a passenger using violence if the passenger would not give up his seat. Shortly afterwards, his friends are said to have beaten the two passengers with their fists. Witnesses called the police. When the S-Bahn arrived at Böblingen station, officers were only able to identify one of the suspected perpetrators. The two other men apparently left the S-Bahn shortly before at Goldberg S-Bahn station. The federal police is now investigating on suspicion of assault and battery. (Stuttgarter Zeitung, June 22)
Quick decision on the diesel driving ban?
On Friday, the State Government filed its announced countersuit against the extended Euro 5 diesel driving ban with the Stuttgart Administrative Court. This had been agreed in the coalition committee at the beginning of July, in order to avert the zonal driving bans in all inner-city districts, Bad Cannstatt, Zuffenhausen and Feuerbach, which are stipulated in the air pollution control plan as of July 1. The lawsuit is also accompanied by an urgent appeal, because the lawsuit itself cannot postpone the regulations from the Clean Air Plan. They result from the landmark ruling on diesel driving bans, which the Federal Administrative Court handed down in February 2018. The highest administrative court had even imposed a comprehensive Euro 5 diesel ban throughout Stuttgart from September 2019. The diesel driving ban for vehicles up to and including Euro 4 has been in force since the beginning of 2019.
“We are now hoping for a quick decision on the urgent application,” said a spokesman for the Ministry of Transport. The Regional Council has instructed the State Capital to procure signs for the new driving ban for around 160 locations. However, it would not be possible to obtain the metal signs in time, a city spokeswoman said. The state government wants to use the lawsuit to get the court to acknowledge the latest development in the exposure of citizens to air pollutants. The nitrogen dioxide levels on which the driving ban is based were below the EU limit of 40 micrograms per cubic meter of air this year, at least until the end of May. However, the limit value is valid for a period of twelve months. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, June 23)
How a visit to the outdoor pool works with the online ticket
You can’t get in without an e-ticket! Since last Monday, the five open-air swimming pools in Stuttgart are open again. The bathing operation has changed a lot due to the corona virus. Visits are only possible with an online ticket at special times. The ticket must be booked in advance. Last Monday, all of Stuttgart’s open-air swimming pools in Vaihingen, Möhringen, Sillenbuch, Killesberg and Untertürkheim opened under special conditions.
All Stuttgart open-air swimming pools open daily at two time windows. The first time window is from 7 a.m. to noon weekdays or 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekends; the second time window is from 3:30 – 8:30 p.m., Monday to Sunday. In between, the pool area is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
The number of bathers is limited for reasons of infection prevention. In order to be able to control this best, all bathers need an e-ticket for a time slot on a certain day. This also avoids long queues for access to the respective bath. The one-time online registration required for ticket purchase allows a possible chain of infection to be quickly traced.
The admission price is 3.30 euros. Students pay 1.90 euros per time slot. (STUGGI.TV, June 23)