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Host Nation Update, Aug 2, 2021
“Vaccination booster starting September 1”
Stuttgart – Manfred Lucha, Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of Social Affairs, expects restrictions in the fall for all unvaccinated people when visiting restaurants, cinemas or doing sports. For him, incidence as the sole benchmark for restrictions no longer has a future. It must be supplemented by new criteria, he says. He will demand to start with booster vaccinations from September 1. The fourth wave is rolling in, and at the same time we have free capacity in our vaccination centers that we need to use. We urgently need a recommendation from the Standing Commission on Vaccination as to which groups we can start with. We are thinking here primarily of those over 70 years of age and the previously ill who had received their first vaccination at the beginning of the vaccination campaign. Other important topics are child and adolescent vaccination and the discussion on new leading indicators in pandemic management in addition to incidence. However, the course will ultimately be set on August 10 at the Conference of Minister Presidents. A general duty to vaccinate is not currently up for debate. Nevertheless, we have to keep an eye on the situation, especially against the background of possible further and potentially dangerous virus variants. For example, measles vaccination is already mandatory in schools and daycare centers. There are few reasons not to get vaccinated. It is already foreseeable that there will be restrictions for non-vaccinated adults starting in the fall. For non-vaccinated adults, access to restaurants, cultural programs or sports will then only be possible with a negative test result.” (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 31)
Incidence in southwest rises to 15.0
Stuttgart – The number of Corona infections in Baden-Württemberg continued to rise over the weekend. The state health office registered 79 new infections on Sunday, up from 296 on Saturday, meaning that 506,034 people have so far been proven to be infected with the virus in the southwest. The number of deaths linked to the virus remains at 10 395, with no further cases reported on Sunday. The seven-day incidence, which indicates the registered new Corona infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week, was 15.0 on Sunday – up from 14.9 the previous day. This continues the slight increase in the number of cases and incidence since early July.
Two of the 44 urban and rural districts are above the politically relevant incidence mark of 35: Mannheim (35.1) and Heilbronn (41.1). The value is important for relaxation, for example, for visits to outdoor swimming pools, outdoor restaurants and cultural events. The lowest value is achieved by the districts of Tuttlingen (1.4), Schwäbisch Hall (3.0) and Sigmaringen (3.1). In Baden-Württemberg, 59.6 percent of people have now received at least one Corona vaccination. 52.3 percent of the population was fully vaccinated, according to the Robert Koch Institute (as of 8 a.m. Friday). (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, August 2)
Travel returnees – Tightened corona test obligation
Stuttgart – Many travel returnees may have noticed little on Sunday at the borders. Passing over “Europabrücke” (the Europe bridge) between Kehl (Ortenaukreis) and Strasbourg, for example, drivers could drive in the afternoon completely undisturbed, the federal police was not to be seen. In order to prevent a further spread of the coronavirus at the end of the summer vacations, a stricter testing obligation has been in force since Sunday. All people over the age of twelve must be able to prove that their risk of transmission is reduced when they enter the territory of Baden-Württemberg: with proof of vaccination or as a recovered person or a negative test result. Such a requirement already existed for all airline passengers. Now it applies to all means of transport, including those arriving by car or train. When staying in areas with new, worrying virus variants, proof of testing is mandatory. Proof that a person has recovered or been vaccinated is not sufficient in this case. The authorities had announced “random” checks. “There are random checks. But we try with our forces to check as many entrants as possible,” said the spokesman for the federal police in Pirna, Holger Uhlitzsch, referring to the Saxon borders with Poland and the Czech Republic. The focus of the checks, he said, is on the autobahns and federal highways, as well as on the Prague-Berlin train route. However, no one would be turned back at the borders. No fines will be charged directly. Instead, in the case of violations, the report of a misdemeanor will be forwarded to the appropriate authorities, explained the spokesman for the Federal Police. In Bavaria, border guards check the borders with Austria and the Czech Republic. In Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, there are checks in a radius of up to 30 kilometers on the German side, according to a spokesman for the federal police in Koblenz. In Bavaria, too, Schleierfahnder are checking at the borders with Austria and the Czech Republic to see if people are abiding by the new entry rules. At the German-Austrian border in Kiefersfelden, the checks went off without a hitch, a spokeswoman for the federal police said: “The travelers are well prepared.” There were also no problems at Selb in northern Bavaria, on the border with the Czech Republic. “Things are running smoothly,” said a spokesman for the federal police. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Aug 2)
Open-air series starts on August 12 – “Open Air Culture”
Gärtringen – The outdoor pool in Gärtringen is undergoing extensive renovation; therefore the swimming pool is closed this year. However, in order to fight boredom, The organizers of the series “Open Air Culture” want to provide entertainment, and have therefore planned a total of eight events from August 12 to 22.
Visitors can expect a mix of concerts, cabaret and party entertainment. The duo Graceland, which specializes in the music of Simon & Garfunkel, will kick things off on August 12. In Gärtringen, the cover musicians will be joined by a string ensemble, performing songs like “Bridge over Troubled Water” or “The Boxer”, and give them a special touch. The performance of the band Lancelot on August 13 promises a reunion with seasoned local heroes. The group, which originated in Gärtringen decades ago, will rock the lawn with its original line-up. Magician Julius Frack has already thrilled the audience at the last guest performance on the festival lawn in Ehningen. Now the world champion of illusion wants to amaze big and small spectators again with tricks. Fans of Swabian dialect comedy are right at the place on August 15 with Hämmerle & Leibssle alias Bernd Kohlhepp and Eckhard Grauer with the program “Culture from the caravan – the return of the bar knights”. On August 19, the “Glücksmoment” concert with Markus Holder and Jürgen Ammann promises more reflective sounds. At this benefit performance, the songwriters will play original compositions in the style of Phillip Poisel, Reinhard Mey and Hannes Wader. They will donate their entire fee to a good cause. On August 20, the stage belongs to singer John Noville. The Rasta man with the strong voice has already left his calling card in the third season of the casting show “The Voice of Germany”. On August 21, the band Captain Dance will spread a party atmosphere like in the 90s around the swimming pool. On August 22, Fast Eddy’s Blue Band will close the outdoor series in Gärtringen: with blues at its best. Tickets are available at www.kulturimfreien.de and at advanced booking offices at “Reservix”. (BB.heute Aug 2)
One less detour on the A 8
Stuttgart- On the weekend of August 6 to 8, traffic on the A8 Autobahn near Stuttgart Airport in the direction of Munich will once again be tight. At times, only one lane will be available – so that traffic can flow unhindered on three straight, new lanes from August 9. The A8 will then return to its old route, so to speak, now that the shell of another tunnel section of the Stuttgart 21 project has been completed.
As part of the Stuttgart 21 project, a new transportation hub is being built at the airport, which, according to a press release from the rail project, will benefit up to 250,000 people on the Fildern in a few years. In order to reach the airport from the main train station in only 8 minutes instead of 27 minutes, a tunnel will have to be built there as well. The tunnel will be around two kilometers long and, according to Deutsche Bahn, more than 50 percent of it has already been completed, and it will also pass under the A8. For drivers, this meant a few more slight curves and therefore also a reduction in speed. The tunnel section under the Autobahn route is now finished as a shell, also the substructure of the freeway lanes with drainage system, communication lines and whatever else is needed along freeways. Asphalting work there has been in full swing for several days. According to the schedule, the A8 lanes in the direction of Munich will be completed on the old route on August 6 to 8, and traffic will be able to roll in this direction on the old route again from the morning of August 9. In the direction of Karlsruhe, the changeover is scheduled for the weekend of August 27 to 30. As construction work on the rail line continues, traffic in the area will be affected once again: work on the new Plieningen junction with new entrances and exits, road and rail bridges and noise abatement measures has already been underway since 2020. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, August 1)