Daily Host Nation Stories for June 10, 2020
Face masks could prevent second wave
The widespread wearing of a mouth guard could reduce new infections with the coronavirus to a controllable level, according to a study. Further waves of the pandemic could be prevented in combination with lockdowns, according to a study by scientists from the universities of Cambridge and Greenwich. Curfews alone could not stop a resurgence of the new corona virus, but homemade masks could drastically reduce transmission rates if enough people wore them in public. The World Health Organization said on Friday that it is now recommending that everyone in the public wear fabric masks to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. (NTV, June 10)
State government criticized on communication
An important and far-reaching relaxation to the regulation on how many people may meet in public has come into force almost silently to the irritation of the opposition party and the police.
In Baden-Wuerttemberg, not only two, but up to ten people are now allowed to meet in public according to the current Corona Ordinance and also on the website of the state government. However, in its weekly press conference on Tuesday, the state government remained silent making no separate announcement.
A government spokesperson said that everything had been communicated “to 90 to 95 percent” at the right time during the crisis. That there are mistakes here and there is unavoidable. It was the price the government was paying for acting very quickly in the pandemic.
Andreas Stoch, from the opposition party in the state parliament of Baden-Württemberg, said that the decisions would not reach those who would have to implement them early enough. The police fear citizens no longer know what they are allowed to do. The state chairman of the police union in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Ralf Kusterer, responded that the information policy of the state government has become worse with every relaxation. He said that citizens often no longer know what they are allowed to do and what they cannot do. Even the police, who are supposed to control how the regulations are being observed often learn of changes late. (SWR, June 10)
Germany does not even use half of its test capacity
In Germany, 350,000 to 400,000 people per week were recently tested for the coronavirus, according to the Ministry of Health. The maximum possible capacity is more than one million, said a spokeswoman of the ministry. (NTV, June 10)
R-value remains above critical level
Although the reproduction value has fallen minimally, it remains above the critical 1.0 mark as of June 9, according to the Robert Koch Institute. The current R-value is 1.10; the day before it was 1.11. This would mean that ten infected people would infect eleven more every day. (Robert Koch Institute, June 10)
Travel under difficult conditions
The German government wants to extend the travel warning due to the coronavirus for more than 160 countries outside the European Union until August 31. The cabinet intends to pass a corresponding resolution today.
However, exceptions for individual countries are possible. They are to be made with the help of an assessment procedure that includes criteria for possible relaxation. These include, for example, the extent of infection, the efficiency of the respective state health care system, but also the question of how reliable the data provided by states are. According to the news agency DPA, test capacities, hygiene rules and travel restrictions of the respective countries are also examined.
According to DPA information, the federal government continues to strongly advise against cruises. Several cruise ships had problems finding a port to enter in March due to corona infections on board. (ARD, June 10)
Poland abolishes entry restrictions
According to information provided by German authorities, Poland is opening its borders with Germany. Entry restrictions due to the corona pandemic will be lifted at midnight on Friday night. The Polish Ministry of the Interior has informed Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke, who is also the coordinator for Poland for the German government. A spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior in Warsaw did not want to comment on this information. Woidke said that this was an important step in the return to European normality. They had been waiting a long time for this. Thousands of Germans and Poles could now again visit their family members, friends and neighbors via Oder and Neisse, tourism and economy could develop freely again. (diplo.de, June 10)
Number of overnight stays by visitors drops by almost 90 percent in April
Due to the corona pandemic in April, the number of overnight stays by guests in Germany has fallen more sharply than it has done for decades. As the Federal Statistical Office announced on Wednesday on the basis of preliminary results, there were only 4.3 million overnight stays by domestic and foreign guests in accommodation establishments. This was a drop of 89.3 percent compared to the same month last year and the largest decrease since the beginning of the time series in 1992. The reason for this was the ban on accommodating private travelers that has been in effect since mid-March. Business travel was also severely restricted in the period in question. Already in March, there had been a 52.7 percent decrease compared to the same month last year. (NTV, June 10)
State government adapted its measures against the spread of the corona virus
From Wednesday, June 10, further relaxations of the Corona Ordinance will apply.
The main changes: Private parties at restaurants or any event locations, such as clubs or community centers are now authorized again with a maximum of 99 participants. The Corona Ordinance for private events regulates the conditions under which such celebrations can take place.
In future, it will be permitted to stay in public spaces in a group with members of up to two households or with up to ten people from different households.
At events and other gatherings outside public space, up to 20 persons from several households are now allowed to meet. More people may come together if the persons participating are exclusively direct relatives (grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren) as well as siblings with descendants or if the persons belong to their own household. Likewise included are the life partners of the persons named.
The Ministry of Social Affairs can now also issue regulations for events with up to 500 participants.
From June 15, the operation of tourist coaches in tourist traffic will be permitted again, if and insofar as the operation is permitted by statutory order.
The Corona Ordinance of the state is extended until June 30.
Measures that remain the same are: wherever possible, a minimum distance of at least 1.5 m must be kept from other people in public. And masks must still be worn in shops, shopping centers, public transport, at all train and bus platforms, on long-distance trains operated by Deutsche Bahn, and in airport buildings. (City of Boeblingen press release, June 9)
Stuttgart thinks about reducing fines for violation of corona ordinances
The city is rowing back in at least one case concerning the corona fine: The case of six young people who had been fined 790 euros each by the Office of Public Order for violating the Corona Ordinance of the State could apparently get off lightly.
In any case, the mayor of the city, Martin Schairer, said that the Office of Public Order would “find a fair solution that takes into account the economic situation of the people concerned.” At the same time, the mayor asked for understanding if there were “inconsistencies of evaluation in the corona regulations” for which the City of Stuttgart was not responsible.
On the evening of May 3, the students, trainees and a pupil had sat together around a campfire on a private property in the Rotenberg district of the city and drank beer while observing the distance rules. According to the version of the Corona Ordinance in force at the time, however, only five of them were allowed to meet. No sooner had the sixth member of the group, who had driven his brother to the meeting by car, joined the group for a short time, then two municipal police officers appeared out of the dark.
The young people were informed that they would be fined, but the comparatively minor offense and the income situation would be taken into account, as one of the participants in the meeting of our newspaper had described. Two weeks later, the fine of just under 800 euros each arrived their homes. Because they considered the sum to be completely exaggerated, the six lodged an appeal through a lawyer. By way of comparison, the framework set by the Ministry of Social Affairs provides for a maximum fine of 1,000 euros for violations. The Office of Public Order had initially justified the fine and, with regard to the amount of the sum, had based it on, among other things, on the “severity” of the violation. At the same time, however, it had announced an examination of the economic circumstances of the participants. This could possibly lead to a reduction of the fine or even to the termination of the proceedings. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, June 10)
First flights from Stuttgart take off to Mallorca
Spain will welcome the first German tourists after the coronavirus break on June 15, two weeks before the official opening of the country’s borders on July 1. The Spanish government has approved a corresponding pilot project. According to this, the Balearic Islands will be the first region to which tourists from abroad will be allowed to travel again. The handling of tourists will then be rehearsed on site. The aim is to test whether the security precautions at the airports and in the hotels, among other places, are working properly, they said.
Majorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera will therefore not be completely open from next Monday onwards. Only just under 11,000 holidaymakers from Germany will be allowed to enter the country – and only those who had booked for the second half of June before the corona crisis or who are still booking at short notice. The project was planned by the Balearic government together with four local hotel chains, the “Mallorca Zeitung” reported. On the German side, the tour operators Tui, DER Touristik and Schauinsland Reisen are involved. “One of the planes to Palma de Mallorca will take off from Stuttgart on Wednesday, June 17,” said Tui press spokesman Aage Dünhaupt. “There are still free seats available.”
According to Spanish media reports, Germany was chosen for the project because the epidemiological situation there is very good and similar to that on the Balearic Islands. A two-week quarantine, as currently still prescribed for all foreigners entering Spain from abroad, will not be applied on the Balearic Islands. Dünhaupt is generally positive about the situation in the travel industry, also in view of the Majorca project: “Tui is optimistic. Although it is not yet clear how strong the backlog demand for travel among Germans will be, “the volume of bookings is increasing. For Mallorca, he said, “a fill level of 40 percent has already been reached for the summer, and at sometimes even 80 percent.”
Since every country regulates the end of its corona barrier a little differently, travel enthusiasts must be sure to inform themselves. Nevertheless, according to Heinen, it won’t be the case that after June everyone will suddenly be on the road again. “At the moment we don’t know exactly what the travel advice will be and what is actually possible. People will remain cautious.” The tour operators are currently working closely with the destinations, the hoteliers and the airlines and would first have to “re-tie their packages.” The DRV spokeswoman has certain reservations about holidays in her own country: “Germany is the Germans’ favorite destination. But we assume that demand will far exceed capacity in Germany this year, especially during the holiday season.” (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, June 9)
Masked armed men trigger major police action
Four men armed with soft air weapons were at a shelter for people in need at Falkentorstraße in Hildrizhausen (Böblingen district) on Tuesday afternoon, triggering a major police operation. Investigations into the background have begun.
According to the police, witnesses had observed that several probably masked and armed persons were on the premises of a subject residence. The police arrived and surrounded the building.
Two men were found in the garden. The officers approached them and asked them to lie down on the ground. The interior of the house was then searched piece by piece. The police found two more men and a total of three soft air long guns and one soft air pistol.
The four men were provisionally arrested and taken to the Böblingen police station. The firearms were confiscated. “Whether the suspects are residents of the home and why they had stayed on the premises wearing masks and armed is the subject of the investigations,” said a police spokesman.
During the operation, Falkentorstrasse was closed until around 4.40 p.m. The investigations are continuing. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, June 9)
Man attacks and injures police officers with knife
A policeman suffered cuts and stab wounds during an operation in Esslingen. The officer had been called to a domestic quarrel with three colleagues, police reported on Tuesday. At the scene, a 30-year-old man barricaded himself in a room and was not willing to come out. When two officers opened the room door, the allegedly drunk man attacked them with a knife. A 50-year-old police officer was injured in the incident on Monday night. His colleague and the assailant were slightly injured. All three were taken to a hospital and were able to leave that same evening.
Before that, the mother of the attacker had alarmed the police, because the 30-year-old had not wanted to leave her apartment after an argument. Her son was arrested. He is already known to the police for other violent crimes. He is now being investigated on suspicion of attempted manslaughter and assault on police officers. The 30-year-old was brought before a judge on Tuesday and is now in custody. Esslingen – A policeman has suffered cuts and stab wounds during an operation in Esslingen. The officer had been called to a domestic quarrel with three colleagues, police reported on Tuesday. At the scene, a 30-year-old man barricaded himself in a room and was not willing to come out. When two officers opened the room door, the allegedly drunk man attacked them with a knife. A 50-year-old police officer was injured in the incident on Monday night. His colleague and the assailant were slightly injured. All three were taken to a hospital and were able to leave that same evening. (Stuttgarter Zeitung, June 9)