Daily Host Nation Stories for June 4, 2020
An overview of the current easing of restrictions in Baden Wuerttemberg
The federal states are now all pursuing their own strategies in the corona pandemic. Here is an overview of which rules currently apply in Baden Wuerttemberg.
Important: As a rule, the easing of restrictions is subject to conditions such as distance and hygiene regulations. In addition, the nationwide mandatory wearing of masks in shops and public transportation continues to apply. Restaurants, pubs and bars are allowed to open. You may only sit at a table with your own and another household. It doesn’t matter how large the households are, but you should bear in mind that the restaurants have to observe strict rules regarding the distance between the tables and may not be able to offer as many seats as before the corona measures. The extended family may only meet in separate closed groups. Holiday apartments and camping sites may open again, as may hotels, but still without the wellness/spa areas. Amusement parks may open, open-air swimming pools under certain conditions to be determined as of June 6.
Up to ten people from several households may gather in private rooms. In the case of relatives and members of the same household and their life partners there may even be more people. Until 15 June, one may only be alone in public, with members of one’s own household and with members of another household. Gyms/Fitness studios may open again. Sports clubs are now also allowed to train in halls again. Meetings are permitted, with conditions to ensure protection against infection; for example, at intervals or with maximum numbers of participants. Schools and daycare centers: As of mid-June, all pupils are to receive attendance lessons again, at least temporarily. Daycare centers are to reopen completely by the end of June at the latest. So far, a maximum of 50 percent of the children who normally attend the facility may be looked after at the same time. (Stuttgarter Nachtrichten, June 3)
394 new infections in Germany
According to the Robert Koch Institute, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rises by 394 to 182,764 within 24 hours, and another 30 people have died as a result of Covid-19. This brings the number of deaths in Germany to 8581, according to official figures. 167,800 people have already recovered, almost 600 more than the day before. (Robert Koch Institute, June 4)
Is a second wave coming?
Will there be a second wave of infection with the coronavirus? After the summer holidays or next autumn/winter? The experts are not in agreement. After a majority of them were still sure last month that the number of cases will increase again, a different opinion now prevails: A second wave can be prevented if the population behaves attentively and responsibly – even outside of government restrictions – and pays attention to distance and possible own symptoms. (NTV, June 4)
8,444 people are without a job in May, drastic cut in open positions
In May 2020, 8,444 people were unemployed in the Böblingen district. This means that the unemployment rate has risen by 0.3 percentage points since the previous month and currently stands at 3.8 percent. Compared to the same month last year, 2,378 more people are unemployed in the district of Böblingen – a total of 8,444 men and women (plus 39.2 percent). The unemployment rate has thus risen by 0.3 percentage points since the previous month and stands at 3.8 percent in May.
The number of new jobs was 903, which is still a high figure for the district, but it weakened slightly in May (minus 285 compared to the previous month). In May 2019, only 193 people lost their jobs. Last month there were again many unemployment reports from the trade, maintenance and repair of motor vehicles (136), temporary employment (129) and the manufacturing industry (127) as well as from the hotel and restaurant industry (74 additions). 400 men and women were able to take up new jobs in the district, with little difference compared to the previous month (minus six). (Böblinger Zeitung, June 4)
“Vaccine must reach every corner of the world”
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen believes that the European Union has a duty to address the issue of a corona vaccine. “In this corona crisis, it is important to coordinate well, but above all to show solidarity with one another, to care for one another,” said von der Leyen before an international donor conference. On the one hand, the European Commission had to ensure for European citizens “that we not only develop a vaccine, but that it is also accessible.” On the other hand, the neighbors must also be considered. As examples, von der Leyen mentioned Africa and the Western Balkans. (NTV, June 4)
Can the coronavirus also be transmitted via sweat?
Summer is coming and gyms are now open again in some regions. Some people ask themselves the question: Can I actually also get infected with Corona through sweat? We asked the SWR science editorial office.
“I am not aware of any studies that clearly show that the novel coronavirus would also spread via sweat. There is, however, a study from 2004 on its close relative, the sars virus. Chinese scientists claim to have found the Sars virus in the sweat glands of deceased patients in tissue samples,” said SWR science editor Uwe Gradwohl.
At the time, the Chinese researchers suspected that the pathogens could also be transmitted via sweat, according to the 2004 report on the Sars virus. However, these findings are probably not directly transferable to the novel corona virus. If a so-called PCR test – i.e. a highly accurate corona test – were to work on a sweat sample, it could only contain fragments of viruses. These are then no viruses capable of reproduction. Then the sweat would contain viral material, but it would not be infectious. However, experience has already taught us that sweat, if at all, can only play a very, very minor role in transmission. (SWR, June 3)
Can the city block the Schlossplatz stairs?
Blocking popular places to avoid a crowd of people standing or sitting too close together is only the ultimate solution for the City of Stuttgart. This was announced by a city spokesperson upon request. At the weekend, the steps up to the Kleiner Schlossplatz have been too crowded. A good 500 people are said to have sat on the stairs at Schlossplatz, a classic meeting place for mild summer evenings, last weekend. But in corona times, this was too much. The police intervened and asked people to leave, as they were said to have been much too close together. This led to riots, insults and bottles being thrown at the police. “We are in close contact with the police enforcement service regarding the unlawful gatherings as well as the incidents on the Kleiner Schlossplatz. In the event of violations of the Corona Ordinance, the public order office and the state police will take consistent action if, as on Saturday, a mass phenomenon is involved,” said a spokesman for the city. Such a square would only be closed in an emergency, “because alternative sites can be found quickly.” Legally, the closure is possible if there is a danger to public safety. That would be the case if there were a large number of violations of the contact ban that still exists. (Stuttgarter Nachtrichten, June 3)
What does the “Q” mean on the signs?
The changes are easy to overlook. They’re just short strips of black tape. On the speed-60 signs, a Q was made from the zero. Someone made this effort all over the country. You can see the manipulated signs on the roads from Asemwald towards Tränke and between Steckfeld and Möhringen. “Does this have anything to do with the QAnon conspiracy myth?” a woman from Hohenheim asks our newspaper.
QAnon, or simply Q, is a conspiracy theory that originated in the USA and apparently has many followers there. According to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the movement began in October 2017, when supposedly exclusive information was published via an Internet forum, according to which Donald Trump was waging an internal war against the “Deep State”, i.e. against hidden elites in politics and society. The letter Q is a reference to the Q-Clearance, the highest clearance level for secret information of the U.S. Department of Energy, which the unknown writer wants to possess. Anon stands for anonymous. The publications are usually cryptic messages that leave a wide scope for interpretation. Many things sound bizarre. For example, children are supposed to be tortured and murdered in underground camps in order to extract an elixir of life from them.
Apparently, only signs in the immediate vicinity of the Kelley Barracks have been tampered with. In Germany, QAnon appeared for the first time on a larger scale in the course of the corona demonstrations. Nationwide, the followers were seen at protest events. Celebrities like musicians Xavier Naidoo and Sido had recently shown a certain support to the theories. According to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, QAnon also offers points of contact for rightwing extremist ideologies, for example by claiming that the acting elites of the “Deep State” are leftists or Jews. There are indications that individual rightwing extremists, as well as a number of “Reichsbuerger” or citizens of the Reich, are adherents of the QAnon theory.
In Stuttgart, on the other hand, it is striking that apparently only signs directly next to the Kelley barracks were changed. A spokeswoman informs the responsible press officer Lawrence Reilly that the QAnon movement is not known. “We have not noticed the Q symbol anywhere on our facilities, nor have we heard from Americans on the facilities about the symbol and its possible meaning, and we are not aware of any connection to US personnel living in Stuttgart,” he said in a written statement.
In the town hall, the topic causes astonishment. Martin Thronberens, an administrative spokesman, announced that the whole thing would be looked at on site and the original condition of the signs would be restored. Going out again is quite risky for the person responsible. “The damage or defacement of street signs is damage to public property and therefore punishable by law,” he clarifies. However, the perpetrators must be caught in the act.
It is not clear how many followers the Q-movement has in this country. It is not monitored by the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution, so no statements can be made about activities, says Julian Illi, a spokesman. Nevertheless, he also points out that such conspiracy theories can develop into a danger if anti-Semitic or violent acts directed against political functionaries are legitimized with the claim of a threat by the “deep state.” There is no evidence that such motives have existed in Germany to date, for example in the case of anti-Semitic crimes. (Stuttgarter Nachtrichten, June 4)
Gas station employee thwarts robbery with bread knife
A courageous gas station employee made an armed man in Sindelfingen (Böblingen district) flee with a bread knife and thus prevented a robbery. The unidentified man fled the incident in Mahdentalstraße on Wednesday around 4:15 am without any loot, police said. The officers are now investigating for attempted predatory extortion.
In the morning, a man entered the salesroom of the gas station in the east of Sindelfingen. He allegedly threatened the saleswoman with a small knife and demanded cash. The employee was on the bakery side next to the cashiers, and was holding a huge bread knife. With her big knife, the courageous employee forced the culprit out of the gas station, ignoring his demands. The suspect then ran away in the direction of the residential area “Viehweide.”
The police searched in vain for the suspect with a helicopter. The man is said to be about 20 to 25 years old, slim in stature and about 5 foot tall, wearing a black scarf over his face, a beige baseball cap, a black hoodie, black sweatpants and white gloves. Police ask witnesses to call 07031-13-00.(Stuttgarter Nachtrichten, June 3)
German automobile market drops by half
The German car market recorded a further slump in May. According to the Federal Motor Transport Authority, new passenger car registrations dropped by 49.5 percent to 168,148 vehicles. In the period from January to May the decline was already 35 percent to 990,350 cars. The German brands were all deep in the red in the month under review. BMW, for example, recorded a decline of 62.1 percent. Volkswagen recorded a minus of 51.5 percent. Small consolation: the British car market was hit even worse. Car sales there plummeted last month by 89 percent compared to the same month last year. Only 20,247 vehicles were delivered, following 183,724 in May last year. This means that the past month was the worst May since 1952. (NTV, June 4)
Demonstrations against racism planned in Stuttgart
Street protests following the death of George Floyd have reached Stuttgart. Two demonstrations on the subject of racism and Black Lives Matter are planned for Saturday in the capital of Baden-Wuerttemberg and have been approved by the city. Both demonstrations are scheduled to begin at 2 pm in the castle garden and have been registered by private individuals. The organizers of the demonstrations entitled “Against Racism” are expecting 700 participants, according to the city. This rally is located in the Upper Castle Garden, while the second demonstration will have the motto “Black Lives Matter” and will be held in the Lower Castle Garden with 100 people expected. Both events want to do without a march through the city and hold their protest on site. The demonstrators want to express their solidarity with the US-American protest movement and the worldwide victims of racism with a Silent Protest. “Our collective rage, grief and helplessness leave us speechless, which is why we have launched the Silent Protest in Germany, in order to set an example together,” says a digital flyer. In the letter, the protests also clearly distance themselves from violence. (Stuttgarter Nachtrichten, June 4)
Man fires blank gun inside his apartment
A special task force (SEK) of the police arrested a 28-year-old man in Weil der Stadt (district Böblingen) on Wednesday. According to police reports, the allegedly mentally ill man fired a gun in his apartment. A neighbor called the police at about 23:15 and reported that the man was rioting in his apartment. A patrol went to the apartment building and was about to talk to the neighbor when the officers heard shots from the apartment and a smoke alarm went off. The police called for reinforcements, surrounded the house and called for a SEK team. When it arrived, the man left his apartment and was approached by the police in the stairwell. He then tried to return to his apartment and was brought to the ground by SEK officers after considerable resistance. After his arrest, the officers found two bread knives in the suspect’s trouser pockets. A blank gun and partially fired ammunition were found in the apartment. The man was taken to a psychiatric institution. (Stuttgarter Nachtrichten, June 4)