Local news translated – Tues, Aug 10, 2021

Host Nation Update, August 10, 2021

Two municipalities close to 35 mark
The number of new Corona infections in Baden-Württemberg initially was not increasing since the start of the week. The seven-day incidence was 17.3 on Monday (as of 4 p.m.), as it had been the day before, according to the State Health Office in Stuttgart. On Saturday, the value had still been at 17.0 and last Monday at 14.5. 

Looking at the values in the 44 urban and rural districts, none of the municipalities is still above the threshold of 35 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in a week. However, Mannheim (34.4) and the Main-Tauber district (34.0) are close to this mark.  The number of confirmed corona cases since the start of the pandemic has risen by 158 to 508,179. One more person has died from an infection with the corona virus or in connection with it; the number of deaths has thus risen to 10,432. 494,064 people are considered to have recovered. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Aug 10)

New corona resolutions – Corona tests become more important – and expensive
The German government, the chancellor and the 16 state prime ministers are apparently getting serious about increasing the pressure on the unvaccinated and those unwilling to be vaccinated. According to a paper from the Chancellor’s Office, which serves as the basis for a decision at the Conference of Minister Presidents (MPK) that took place today, it was decided that starting October; the costs for Corona tests will no longer be covered.

Therefore, the offer for free COVID testing will expire in October. Exceptions will be made for people who cannot be vaccinated, and for whom there is no general vaccination recommendation, i.e. primarily pregnant women, and children and adolescents under 18, for them there will still be the possibility of a free antigen rapid test.  While tests must be paid for in the future, it is obviously intended to create an additional, and financially quite considerable incentive to get vaccinated now.

For a number of cases, there will be “an obligation to submit a negative rapid antigen test that is not older than 24 hours or a negative PCR test that is not older than 48 hours to be introduced as a prerequisite.    Mandatory testing will include: visits to hospitals, retirement and nursing homes, facilities for the disabled, as well as access to indoor catering, participation in indoor events,and celebrations, cultural or sporting events, as well as participation in religious services or other religious gatherings indoors. Also: the use of services such as hairdressing, cosmetics and body care, visiting indoor sport facilities, such as gyms, swimming pools or sports halls.  For visiting lodging establishments, testing should become mandatory upon arrival and twice a week during the stay.

These restrictions are based on the Infection Protection Act as a legal basis, based on the determination of an “epidemic situation of national scope.” This decision was made by the parliament, but with a not to exceed date of September 11, 2021. Recently, a discussion had begun about whether this time limit should now expire. However, the paper from the Chancellor’s Office proposes to declare the epidemic situation beyond September 11.  All prime ministers fervently advertise that all citizens to get vaccinated. “Those who want to have their full vaccination protection in the fall must start vaccinating now,” the draft resolution says. The promise to offer every citizen a vaccination offer by summer has now been fulfilled. Therefore, access to vaccination offers are now even more facilitated: the thought is apparently, to offer vaccination at “vaccination buses” before visiting events.  The magic words here are “outreach” services. The philosophy behind it: If you don’t want to come to the vaccination station, then the vaccination station will come to where you are.”  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Aug 10)

Tuebingen’s Lord Mayor – Corona tests in Tübingen to remain free of charge
Tübingen – Regardless of the discussion about an end to free corona tests, free rapid tests will continue to be offered in Tübingen. According to emergency physician Lisa Federle, who with her team had made the “Tübingen Model” known nationwide, Lord Mayor Boris Palmer (Greens) has agreed to this proposal. “We don’t get any money from the city, but finance ourselves from donations and the money we have already received for the tests,” Federle said on Monday. Especially in view of the expected colds in the fall and winter; with sore throats, coughs and sniffles there needs to be a low-threshold test offer to distinguish this from Corona, he said. Vaccination also remains important.  Within the framework of Tuebingen’s test model “Open shops and restaurants safely”,  citizens in Tübingen had been able to visit outdoor gastronomy, retail and cultural events from March onwards with a proof of a negative Corona test. Federle and her team have been offering these tests since last fall.  Mayor Palmer wrote on his Facebook page over the weekend: “According to the will of many politicians, tests should no longer be free. This, however, is pressure on the wallet of many people who are not vaccinated. If people with low incomes are largely excluded from society, or do not take a test because it is too expensive for them, and they then pass on the infection, then that is much worse, than paying for tests by the general public.” (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Aug 10)

Non-Corona related news:

Rail disruptions Wednesday and Thursday as many Deutsche Bahn drivers strike

Members of the German Locomotive Drivers union (GDL) have authorized a strike which will affect passenger train traffic nationwide on Wednesday and Thursday, August 11 and 12.

Many long distance and regional trains operated by Deutsche Bahn (DB) will be canceled, and passengers are asked to delay non-essential travel if possible. Tickets for trips booked between August 11-13 can be canceled free of charge or used flexibly through August 20.

The Stuttgart S-Bahn will attempt to run hourly intervals on its main lines using a replacement timetable. Up-to-date services are searchable using the DB Navigator app.

S-Bahn lines S12, S15 and S30 do not run. RB 11 is canceled along with RB 64, but a replacement bus service will operate for the latter route between Kirchheim and Oberlenningen.

Due to construction, S-Bahn trains stop at tracks 1 to 5 at the Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof.

According to information from DB, ICE/TGV trains on the Stuttgart – Strasbourg – Paris route are not expected to be affected.

(Stuttgart Citizen transportation editor, Aug 10)

On Wednesday on the “Green Square – Music session ends season at Sindelfingen cultural tent
Sindelfingen – For the finale in the Culture Tent on Grüner Platz, IG Kultur will once again present its “Wednesday Session” on Wednesday, August 11, at 6 p.m. after a long forced break. The open concert and jam format was a regular part of the program in Sindelfingen before the outbreak of the pandemic.  IG Kultur hosts this session series together with Matthias Ostertag, known as the bassist of the Shakin’ Daddes Band and guitarist of the Blues Revolution. All musicians and music lovers are invited, no matter what instrument they play or what type of music. For the session, Ostertag is putting together a “basic lineup” that can take over the part of a backing band if needed. A professional sound system and the large stage are available in the Kulturzelt. Musicians can also register in advance by emailing Ostertag at: admin@thebluesrevolution.de.

The Wednesday Session is free of charge for participants and visitors. However, to cover the costs, the organizers of IG Kultur welcome a small donation. No proof of vaccination, testing or recovery is required; visitors’ contact information will be taken at the time of admission.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Aug 10)