Local news translated, August 12

Daily Host Nation Stories – August 12, 2020

Thousands of corona tests conducted at the Stuttgart Airport

Anyone traveling back to Germany from a corona risk area must get tested for the corona virus since Saturday. Thousands of returnees to Baden-Württemberg have fulfilled this obligation within the last few days. The Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (Kassenärztliche Vereinigung) reported 1,100 tests at Stuttgart Airport on Saturday; 1,400 on Sunday, and 971 on Monday.

According to the latest situation report of the State Health Office, more than 430 cases were reported since the travel warning for EU countries. That is about 18 percent of all corona cases. More than every fifth (22 percent) of these foreign cases can be traced back to Serbia as the country of infection.

The number of corona infections worldwide has risen from 15 million to over 20 million in less than three weeks. Approximately half of the confirmed infections were reported in only three countries: the USA with more than five million infections, Brazil with more than three million, and two million in India. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, August 12)

German company “Curevac” to test Corona vaccine in Brazil

Brazil is a popular place for manufacturers to test Corona vaccines due to the high number of infections. Curevac had previously only carried out its tests in Germany. Tübingen’s Lord Mayor Boris Palmer (Greens) was among the approximately 180 volunteers to be tested. Meanwhile, according to President Vladimir Putin, Russia has become the first country to approve a vaccine against the virus for use. One of his daughters has already been vaccinated, Putin said. Although the decisive study on the effectiveness and safety of the substance has not yet been completed, Putin hopes to start mass vaccinations in Russia soon. The government considered the admission as proof of Russian scientific abilities. Putin hopes to start mass vaccination campaigns in Russia soon, while the crucial clinical trial on the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine is underway. The vaccine is to be named “Sputnik V”, said the head of the Russian state fund, Kirill Dmitriev, and spoke of a historic “Sputnik moment” a reference to the first satellite in space. With its successful orbit of the earth, the former Soviet Union demonstrated its lead over the USA in the race for supremacy in space. The head of the German Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt, has sharply criticized the release. “I consider the approval of a vaccine without the decisive third test series to be a high-risk experiment on humans”, he told the newspaper “Rheinische Post”. The World Health Organization was also skeptical in view of the shortened test procedures. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, August 12)

Fines issued for not wearing a mask

Recently cities are moving from verbal warnings to imposing fines on those people who refuse to wear masks. Freiburg started issuing fines in July and has since given out 81 tickets to people using public transport, visiting shopping centers, studios or other public buildings without wearing a mask. Metzingen, within the Reutlingen district also increased the fine to 50 euros on Aug 11. The amount will double in each case of multiple violations. The city can demand a maximum of 250 euros from those who refuse to wear masks. The City of Stuttgart has also tripled the minimum fine as of August 6. In the commercial sector it is even more expensive. Waiters, for example, who serve their guests without masks, will be fined 150 euros. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, August 12)

Non-Corona related news:

Darmsheim Tunnel closed for maintenance work

The Darmsheim tunnel will be closed on Monday, August 17 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon due to maintenance work in the direction towards Grafenau. Traffic from Sindelfingen will be directed via Mühlackerstraße to the B 464 using electronic display panels. From Döffingen, traffic can drive through the tunnel unhindered. One day later, the Darmsheim tunnel will be completely closed during the night from Tuesday, August 18 from 11 p.m. until Wednesday, August 19, 4.30 a.m. From Sindelfingen, as the day before, electronic display panels will guide you via Mühlackerstraße to the B 464. From the west, traffic in Weil der Stadt will be diverted via the B 295 to Renningen and on to the B 464 until the Darmsheim junction. (BB Zeitung, August 12)

“Fernpass” to Austria temporarily closed due to a crack in the tunnel

Traffic obstructions are on the rise this week on the route between Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the Austrian town of Imst in Tyrol. The reason is construction work on the B 179 at the “Fernpass” road. According to the State of Tyrol, a crack on a tunnel wall near Nassereith was discovered last week. For this reason, the “Fernpass” between the Mieminger Strasse junction and the Nassereith Nord junction will be closed for repair work until this Friday, Aug 15th. Drivers will have to accept long detours. Considerable delays and traffic jams are to be expected on the route, especially on the Bavarian side. One could re-route over B 2 to Mittenwald towards direction of Innsbruck. And traffic coming via Reutte will also be diverted via Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Many holidaymakers are already using the route. It therefore makes sense to drive around the closed area – for example via the A 8 and A 93 or via the A 96 to Lake Constance. From the weekend onwards, a lot of traffic is expected. However, on weekends, Tyrol has temporarily re-established a regional driving ban on alternative routes due to holiday traffic. Travelers are advised to avoid the area if at all possible until after Aug 16th. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, August 12)

Water supply in Stuttgart is safe

Stuttgart does not expect a  situation like what happened in Lower Saxony last weekend when residents were suddenly without water. “The city’s water supply is safe and unproblematic,” says Stuttgart’s Technical Mayor Dirk Thürnau. Currently, more than 200,000 cubic meters of water is consumed in Stuttgart every day. That is more than usual, but not yet a peak value. “There are no shortages, none are foreseeable,” says Thürnau. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, August 12)

Police warn against swimming in the Neckar River

Swimming in the river is tempting, but can be dangerous. The Corona crisis has many consequences, which also challenge the law enforcement agencies. Significantly more people than last summer are swimming in the Neckar River, due to the fact that swimming pools request booking in advance. Additionally, lakes are partly closed due to overcrowding of the shore areas, so some people are just looking for refreshment in the Neckar. However, this is simply dangerous. The Neckar River is not a designated swimming area, and, within Stuttgart’s city limits, swimming in it is prohibited; no one is authorized to swim close to weirs, locks, power stations, ship berths, harbor entrances and bridges. Dangers also emanate from the water quality. The water, which is discharged from sewage treatment plants, is mechanically and biologically purified. However, not all germs can be removed completely. However, the greatest threat is due to the shipping traffic. The Neckar is a federal waterway – a kind of “highway” among the shipping routes. Large cargo ships are not easily maneuverable, and the boatmen have a blind spot in front of the bow of up to 300 meters and is hard to stop the ship when detecting swimmers in the last minute. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, August 12)

650 “Eisenmann” employees will lose their jobs

The insolvent Böblingen family business “Eisenmann” will lay off 650 employees; 200 at the Böblingen site, 450 in Holzgerlingen are affected. However, they will be offered the opportunity to transfer to a so-called qualification company, where the employees can continue to be employed for a further three months until December 8, during which time they will receive 75 percent of their last net salary. During this time, the employees are also supported in their search for a new job. (BB Zeitung, August 12)

Plüderhausen lake closed to swimmers due to blue-green algae

The Plüderhäuser bathing lake is not suitable for cooling down. After blue-green algae proliferated there, the health department of the Rems-Murr district recommended closing the lake, said mayor Andreas Schaffer. There had been a warning about the algae for several weeks, after the last rain the infestation had increased extremely. Blue-green algae are not real algae, but so-called cyanobacteria that forms toxins. These can cause health problems in humans. Last summer, the lake was therefore already closed off. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, August 12)