Local news translated – April 14, 2021

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Click here for details on how the local coronavirus rules affect the USAG Stuttgart community.

Daily Host Nation Update, April 14, 2021 

Fight against the coronavirus – Stuttgart imposes night curfew

Stuttgart – The city of Stuttgart is now also imposing a night curfew. This is to apply for the first time in the night from Thursday to Friday.  With an increase of 267 new infections compared to the last report, a very high and unprecedented daily increase, the seven-day incidence in the state capital rose from 129.6 to now 149.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.  The decision should also be seen in light of the fact that, with the exception of the Böblingen district, all surrounding counties announced the enactment of exit restrictions on Monday. Unlike Stuttgart and the district of Böblingen, these had already exceeded the incidence mark of 150 cases, in some cases significantly. According to the state, curfews were previously to be issued from this value or if the incidence had increased by 25 points or more within three days. The latter was the case in Stuttgart yesterday. The curfew restrictions will also limit the wide range of commuter traffic between Stuttgart and surrounding counties.  The curfew is to apply from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Since, according to the regulations, the order will come into force only on the second working day after publication by advertisement in the newspaper, the restriction will be effective from 0 o’clock on Friday.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, April 14)

Shopping in Böblingen now only possible via mouse click

Böblingen – The shopping fun lasted five weeks in the Böblingen district, which was longer than anywhere else, apart from model projects such as in Tübingen. For ten days, the stores were fully open, but since March 18, they have only been open by appointment. However, even this offer was very well received by customers, says Edip Özerol, center manager of the Mercaden shopping center at the train station in Böblingen.  In Sindelfingen’s Breuningerland, customers have also come for appointment shopping, “However, we would like to emphasize that Click & Meet is only a small way out and, of course, not a complete substitute for a regulated opening of retail.”  Due to the increased incidence, i.e. the number of people infected with Corona per 100,000 inhabitants, has also exceeded the magic limit of 100 for three consecutive days in the Böblingen district, the emergency brake had to be pulled and strict rules apply again. Many stores have to close. Which shops are still authorized to open? In principle, stores for everyday use, which includes everything that is important for basic supplies. In addition to grocery stores, this includes pharmacies, opticians and hearing aid stores, drugstores and medical supply stores, gas stations and newsagents, flower stores and garden centers. Currently, DIY stores are still allowed to sell. The Toom market in Böblingen and Hornbach in Sindelfingen had opened normally on Tuesday. “But we don’t know how long,” they say when you call the markets. On the new list of the Federal Government, which is not yet approved, the DIY stores are apparently no longer considered as basic suppliers. Who is authorized to open according to the click & collect principle? Click & collect means that customers can order their goods in advance by phone or online and then pick them up at a fixed date and time. All stores that are not on the list of basic suppliers are authorized to do this. However, store owners decide whether it’s worth it. What about the big shopping malls? The same rules apply to shopping malls as to everyone else. The basic suppliers are allowed to open normally, therefore the shopping malls are accessible. The other stores in the malls can sell according to the click & collect principle. Edip Özerol from the Meracaden expects that less than half of the stores will participate: “It’s not worth it, especially for the textile industry. Customers prefer to order from Amazon.” Also on the homepage of the Breuningerland Sindelfingen were listed on Tuesday only ten stores that participate in click & collect shopping. In addition, about 40 basic suppliers in the mall open normally, including hairdressers (with appointment) and a dry cleaner. Other body-related services, such as nail salons, are no longer authorized to offer their services. Only necessary medical services such as physiotherapy treatments can continue to be offered. What about furniture stores? The emergency brake in the Böblingen district also affects furniture stores. They, too, may no longer open for customers. They, too, mostly offer the click & collect service. That is, customers order by phone or online and can then pick up the goods at an agreed date. At Ikea, the collection takes place in the parking garage. The service costs ten euros. All the information can be found clearly on the company’s website. The furniture store XXX-Lutz on Böblingen’s Hulb also offers shopping by mouse click. Möbel Hofmeister in Sindelfingen also advises customers by telephone. Goods can be picked up there Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – by appointment only. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, April 14)

EU does not want to extend contracts with J&J and Astrazeneca

According to a media report, the EU Commission does not want to extend vaccine contracts with Astrazeneca and Johnson & Johnson. Brussels instead wants to focus on the mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccines such as those from Pfizer/Biontech and Moderna, reports the newspaper La Stampa with reference to the Italian Ministry of Health.(Stern, April )

Denmark to allow Germans to take summer vacation

Denmark is gradually easing its travel restrictions in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Danish Ministry of Justice. Among other things, the goal is to allow foreigners to visit Denmark again. The restrictions will be eased in four phases, the first of which begins next Wednesday. Phases two through four are targeted for May 1 and 14, and presumably June 26. The final phase is expected to be accompanied by the introduction of an EU-wide Corona passport. From that point on, it is said, it will be possible to take summer vacations in Europe and receive tourists in Denmark under the condition of being able to prove negative tests, vaccinations or survived infections. (Ntv, April)

More than 530,000 vaccinations in one day

Daily vaccination numbers are picking up again this week: According to the vaccination monitoring of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 530,537 people in Germany received a vaccination dose on Tuesday. Of these, 464,701 were first-time vaccinations and 65,836 were second-time vaccinations. That’s a total of more than 80,000 more vaccinations than a week ago Tuesday. This means that just over 14 million German citizens have now been vaccinated at least once. Around 5.2 million have already received a second vaccination. (Robert Koch Institute, April) 

Coronavirus in Baden-Württemberg – Ministry recommends to install contact-tracking “Luca App” despite criticism

Stuttgart – Despite criticism of the Luca app, the Ministry of Social Affairs recommends that people in Baden-Württemberg use the contact-tracking technology for Corona infections. “The Luca app is one of many important building blocks to combat the Corona pandemic,” said a spokesperson in Stuttgart. The most important thing for the state, he said, is that the app can be used on all standard smartphones and is free of charge for all citizens and participating businesses. In addition, the app meets the high requirements of data protection. The Baden-Württemberg State Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information had confirmed this to the ministry twice.  Luca is trying to put an end to the paperwork at restaurant visits and other events, where people have usually had to sign in on paper lists up to now. The check-in app from the Berlin-based startup Nexenio allows users to sign in under a false name. However, it is difficult to cheat when entering a cell phone number, because this is confirmed with an SMS. This way, the health authorities would at least know how to reach someone.

The makers of the Luca app promise that the entries would only be viewed by the health authorities in the event of an infection, and, only if the users agree to it. The process is secured by double encryption.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, April 14)

Mandatory Corona testing at schools

Stuttgart: All students who want to participate in face-to-face classes in the State of Baden-Württemberg must be tested – provided they go to school in a city or county where the seven-day incidence per 100,000 population is above 100. The testing requirement applies to all grade levels and schools. If the incidence is below 100, testing is not mandatory. (Stz, April 14)

Note: This story refers only to German schools, not DoDEA

Non-Corona News

Lloyd Austin – U.S. defense secretary makes flying visit to Stuttgart

Stuttgart: A high-ranking visitor getting off a plane at Stuttgart Airport on Tuesday evening; it is Lloyd Austin, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, who has made a flying visit to Baden-Württemberg’s capital. The question is: why did he come?  Three and a half months after U.S. President Joe Biden was sworn in, this is the first visit to Germany by a minister of the new U.S. administration. Austin had previously met German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer in Berlin, and then continued his visit to Stuttgart.  There, he wanted to speak with soldiers at U.S. command centers for troops in Africa and Europe. The visit is intended to usher in a return to close military coordination with Germany, which was very limited in the era of President Donald Trump.  U.S. President Trump actually wanted to withdraw 12,000 troops from Germany. His successor, Biden, quickly halted the plans. However, that’s not all. Biden’s Defense Secretary Austin has a big surprise in store during his visit to Germany.  The U.S. is adding 500 troops to its force in Germany this fall. “These troops will strengthen deterrence and defense in Europe,” U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced Tuesday during his inaugural visit to Berlin. The soldiers will be stationed in Mainz and Darmstadt in September and October, bringing 750 family members with them to Germany. The decision takes a surprising turn in the debate over U.S. troop presence in Germany and Europe.  The U.S. command centers for troops in Europe and Africa are stationed there. Trump actually wanted to move both to other European countries. So this part of the trip can also be seen as a sign that the U.S. has finally said goodbye to Trump’s withdrawal plans. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, April 14)

New telephone scam

On Tuesday morning, a senior citizen from Holzgerlingen received a call from a supposed employee of the public health department. The woman pretended to want to arrange the second vaccination appointment with the 75-year-old. At first, the caller’s statements seemed credible to the senior citizen, so she provided her personal data. In the further course the caller communicated that the health office would co-operate with the district savings bank, in order to keep an overview of the inoculation participation. In this context, she would also have to ask for the senior’s account details. Ultimately, however, the 75-year-old became suspicious. After the conversation ended, she turned to the district savings bank and the public health department. She had her account blocked. However, the unknown perpetrators had probably already managed to withdraw money from this account beforehand. The investigation is ongoing. (BBheute, April 13)

Sindelfingen fire department praises exemplary behavior of a boy

Smoke filled a three-story apartment in Maichinger Straße at 9:24 a.m. on Wednesday morning due to forgotten meals on the stove top that had been turned on. A 14-year-old boy, who was still in the apartment, noticed the dangerous situation and rescued himself to the smoke-free area on a balcony.

The fire department, which had been alerted in the meantime, then forced its way into the apartment and was quickly able to find the young man on the balcony. Immediately an escape hood was put on him, whereby he could leave the dwelling briskly, accompanied by the fire-brigade. Subsequently, he was handed over to the rescue service for further examination. At the same time, the food was removed from the stove and the apartment was ventilated. After completion of the measures, the apartment could be handed over to the owners.

The Sindelfingen fire department was on site with 8 vehicles and 40 emergency personnel. Also the DRK (Red Cross) local associations Sindelfingen and Maichingen, the rescue service and the police were at the scene. (BBheute, April 13)