Daily Host Nation Stories for June 5, 2020
COVID-19: Baden-Württemberg’s number of infected people is 34,892, of which 32,326 people have recovered. There are currently 776 people now in the state still infected. Today, June 5, 49 more cases were reported. There have been 1,790 deaths in Baden-Württemberg.
Schairer calls for restraint in celebrating
Stuttgart’s Mayor for Security, Order and Sport, Dr. Martin Schairer, called to continue compliance with the guidelines for containing the coronavirus, May 5. The reason for his appeal was the incidents at the Kleiner Schlossplatz on the past Whitsun weekend. There were numerous violations of the Corona Ordinance and attacks on police officers.
“We have already achieved some success in the fight against the corona pandemic. The number of infections in Stuttgart is decreasing, so many restrictions that were necessary to contain the corona virus could be lifted. It is understandable that citizens want to return to normality after the hard cuts of the past weeks. However, we must not become careless in doing so,” said the mayor. The experiences of other cities, such as the current one in Göttingen, would show that the infection rates could rise again quickly if one is careless. “Even when celebrating, the rules of distance must be observed to keep the risk of infection low. Scenes like last weekend on the Kleiner Schlossplatz, where hundreds of people stood together without the prescribed minimum distance of 1.5 m, should not be repeated,” Schairer emphasized. He also appealed to bar and restaurant operators to ensure that their customers observe the prescribed distance rules. “We must continue to take the coronavirus seriously so as not to risk our past successes,” he said. (City of Stuttgart press release, June 5)
RKI reports 507 new infections
The health authorities in Germany reported 507 corona infections to the Robert Koch Institute within one day. This means that 183,271 people in Germany have demonstrably been infected with sars-CoV-2 since the beginning of the corona crisis, as the RKI reported in the early morning. According to RKI, 8,613 people infected with the virus have died in Germany so far, increasing the number of reported deaths by 26 within 24 hours. RKI estimates that about 168,500 people have survived the infection, which is 600 more than the day before. According to the latest RKI figures, the reproduction rate, or R-value for short, remains well below the critical mark of 1.0, namely at 0.57. This means that an infected person infects on average less than one other person. (Robert Koch Institute, June 5)
Hundreds of schoolchildren to be quarantined after corona outbreak
After a corona outbreak in Göttingen, several hundred school children will probably have to be quarantined for two weeks. The Goettingen schools are to resume operations on Monday under strict conditions after this week’s closure, said Petra Broistedt, head of the social department. However, the classes of children infected with the coronavirus will be placed in domestic quarantine. A city spokesperson was initially unable to say exactly how many boys and girls are affected. Among the 120 people infected with the virus as a result of rule violations at private celebrations of the Muslim Sugar Festival are 39 schoolchildren. In the mass test started today in a high-rise complex, which is considered the focus of the corona outbreak, a good 120 of the approximately 700 residents would have joined in by noon. (NTV, June 5)
Here’s what’s known about risk groups
In most people, infection with the coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 is mild. They get cough and fever. However, those who belong to so-called risk groups are more likely to develop severe Covid-19 infections. 18 percent of all detected infections are so severe that the patients are hospitalized. It is known that the risk of a severe course of Covid-19 increases noticeably from the age of about 50 to 60 years. Because of the less well-responding immune system, older people can become particularly ill after infection. Many lung patients are also at risk, especially those with chronic lung disease COPD. Cigarette smoking is also considered a risk factor, even though the data on this is still thin, as the German Society of Pneumology writes. In contrast, well-treated asthma patients do not have an increased risk of severe Covid-19 courses. Patients with previous cardiac diseases are clearly classified as a risk group for severe Covid-19 disease, as are overweight people. In the case of diabetes, the circumstances are also important. (NTV, June 5)
Swimming pool openings in Stuttgart established
After a long wait, the official start date for the open-air swimming pool season has now been fixed. On Monday, June 15, all of Stuttgart’s open-air swimming pools in Vaihingen, Möhringen, Sillenbuch, Killesberg and Untertürkheim will open. The date was originally set for June 6. However, since the municipal swimming pool companies first had to create the conditions for operation under corona conditions, the Stuttgart open-air pools will start one week later.
The start date is also to be officially published on the homepage of the Stuttgart pools today. The Sindelfingen Swimming Center has already published June 8 as the starting date.
The following conditions apply to the bathing season in Baden-Württemberg:
- The number of people in the swimming pools and on the sunbathing areas is limited to ten square meters per person.
- To avoid queues and crowds, admission is only available via online ticket booking.
- The opening of sanitary facilities and individual changing rooms is permitted. However, depending on their size, these may only be used by a few visitors at a time.
- In the showers, the restriction applies to a maximum of three people per 20 square meters. In addition, the showers may only be used before bathing. Showering after bathing is not permitted.
- A minimum distance of 1.5 meters must be maintained during the entire time spent in the outdoor pool. This also applies to entering and leaving the pool.
As with restaurants, visitors to the outdoor pools must leave their contact details, which are deleted after four weeks. (Stuggi TV, June 4)
Merkel criticizes carelessness of Germans
Chancellor Angela Merkel criticizes the increasing carelessness of Germans in the Corona crisis. “I get nervous when people think that we don’t need the distance measures any more. We need them,” Merkel said on ZDF. Measures such as keeping the distance must continue to be observed. “One meter fifty. Where it is impossible to keep them: Wear a mask. This is absolutely necessary,” said the Chancellor. (ZDF June 5)
No more quarantine after entry from outside Europe
Those who enter Baden-Württemberg from countries outside the Schengen area, i.e. outside Europe, no longer have to be quarantined as a matter of principle.
This was declared by the corona working group on Wednesday evening in Stuttgart. According to a government spokesperson, this is to apply as of this Friday.
The quarantine will only apply if a person enters from a country with more than 50 corona infections per 100,000 inhabitants.
However, the working group explained that exceptions were possible for certain occupational groups, for example, truck drivers. The two-week quarantine had already been lifted in mid-May for entries into Baden-Württemberg from EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Great Britain.
In addition, the working group announced more intensive controls by the authorities of collective accommodations in which construction site workers are housed. The aim is to avoid sources of infection there.
Tour buses are to be allowed to travel again from June 15. The ministries of transport and social affairs have drawn up a hygiene concept for this purpose. In other German states, bus travel is already permitted again in compliance with hygiene regulations; for example, in Saarland or North Rhine-Westphalia. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, June 4)
Corona regulations called controversial
More and more cases are coming to light where citizens have violated the Corona Ordinance and have been punished by police and regulatory authorities with heavy fines. State politicians are also dealing with the sanctions, which appear disproportionate and arbitrary to those affected.
For example, three young women from Stuttgart, Fellbach and Waiblingen must pay a fine of 528.50 euros each for having spent a Saturday afternoon in April at the Max-Eyth Lake. They were found sitting on a bench less than a meter apart, according to the reasons for the offense. A patrol had previously “observed them from the opposite side.” At the time, the stay in public space without a minimum distance was only permitted with another person not living in the household.
For politician Hans-Ulrich Rülke, there are now too many cases in which citizens have been subjected to harsh sanctions on the basis of a jungle of regulations that is difficult for them to understand. He insists on information from the government as to whether there have been recommendations for action and guidelines for the state and regulatory police authorities, and to what extent a fine will be waived for minor offences or first offenses, so that a warning can be issued. Rülke also wants to know whether this would create pressure “to identify the highest possible number of violations of the corona regulations,” and whether this would have a positive effect on the official assessment of individual officials. This was recently indicated by the state chairman of the Police Union (GdP), Hans-Jürgen Kirstein. The occasion was a fine of 1,000 euros for a family of five.
“With currently about three dozen regulations, the citizens in the country can hardly comprehend what they are allowed to do and what not,” Rülke told our newspaper. The restrictions are “often contradictory, arbitrary and disproportionate.” Minister of the Interior Thomas Strobl likened the role of the sheriff, who incites the neighbors to denounce when one person was there for a barbecue more than allowed. According to Rülke, the minister considers the high number of fines in connection with the corona ordinances a personal success of his policy. “With our application, we want to get answers from Strobl as to whether there were concrete instructions from the Ministry of the Interior to the police to act particularly petty in case of possible violations.” (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, June 4)
Case numbers decreasing in Germany, center of pandemic has shifted
There were 5,453 new cases on the first of April, 1,639 on the first of May, and only 333 on the first of June. Anyone who has kept an eye on the corona figures in Germany over the past few weeks feels as if the virus is slowly disappearing again. Daily life is returning more and more every day, restaurants are opening again, department stores and schools as well.
However, this should not give the impression that corona is no longer a danger. The virus is still rampant all over the world, claiming hundreds of thousands of sick people and thousands of lives. This becomes particularly apparent when you look at other countries. The virus is still raging, hundreds of thousands are still sick, thousands are still dying. A look at the most affected countries.
USA: While tens of thousands of people in the United States take to the streets to protest against racism and police violence, the coronavirus there seems to have been pushed into the background. But the reality is different. The USA now has almost as many deaths as in the First World War, in which about 116,000 soldiers died. Johns Hopkins University counts 108,211 corona deaths, 30,174 of them in New York State alone. The region, especially the metropolis of New York City with its millions of inhabitants, is severely affected by the pandemic.
Brazil: In Brazil, a total of 614,941 people were infected with the coronavirus. As the Ministry of Health in Brasília announced, more than 254,963 of them have been cured. In just one day, 1,349 people infected with the coronavirus died in Brazil. This is according to data from the Ministry of Health from Tuesday evening (local time). This brings the total number of corona deaths in Brazil to 34,021.
Russia is severely affected by the coronavirus. Schools in Moscow remain closed, as do cafés, restaurants and gyms. Masks will remain compulsory until there is a vaccine for the masses, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin told the Russian state agency Tass on Thursday. “According to various forecasts, this will happen between October and February next year.” In Moscow, masks must be worn in the streets under threat of heavy fines.
Sweden: Sweden took a special path in the fight against the corona virus. Instead of imposing strict measures, social life there continued as usual in most areas. Cafés and restaurants remained open, as did most schools. There was no talk of exit restrictions – instead, the Swedish government relied on voluntariness and trust in the population. (Focus, June 5)
Karliczek urges “utmost caution” at schools
Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek warns her colleagues in the federal states against a hasty return to normal schooling. “As long as we do not have a vaccine against Covid-19, schools must continue to exercise the highest degree of caution in order to be able to offer structured classes,” the news magazine quotes the politician. Everything possible must continue to be done to prevent schools from becoming sources of infection. According to the report, Karliczek explicitly refers to new findings by Berlin virologist Christian Drosten. In a revised version of his study on the infectivity of children in the corona crisis, Drosten had stuck to his basic statement. There is no evidence that children are not as infectious as adults with regard to Sars-CoV-2. (Spiegel, June 5)
Non-Covid-19 German news
Authorities assume missing girl to be dead
For 13 years, the parents in particular have been tirelessly searching for Maddie McCann. Now the public prosecutor’s office in Braunschweig is destroying all hope: they think the girl is dead. The investigation against a 43-year-old German would be conducted on suspicion of murder. “We assume that the girl is dead,” said public prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters.
Investigations were directed against a man who has already been convicted of several sexual crimes and who, according to the German Press Agency in Kiel, is currently serving time in prison. When Maddie disappeared in the Portuguese Algarve in 2007, the man was living in the area.
According to Scotland Yard on Wednesday evening, the man was wearing short blond hair at the time of the crime. He’s about six feet tall. The British investigators paid special attention to two vehicles and two telephone numbers that the suspect is said to have used. The vehicles in question are a VW T3 Westfalia caravan with Portuguese license plates, in which the man is said to have lived at times, and a Jaguar, model XJR 6, with German license plates.
The day after Maddie’s disappearance, the Jaguar had been re-registered for a new owner. On the evening Maddie disappeared, the suspect received a phone call to +351 912 730 680 with Portuguese country code. The call was received in the Praia de Luz area. “Investigators believe that the person who made this call is a highly important witness and are calling them to make contact,” the Scotland Yard press release said. The number of the caller was +351 916 510 683.
The Braunschweiger Zeitung writes that the man was sentenced to seven years in prison by the Braunschweig Regional Court at the end of 2019 for raping a 72-year-old American woman. He had abused the woman in 2005 in Praia de Luz.
Braunschweig’s public prosecutor Wolters did not provide much information: Because of the current investigations, no questions could be allowed, and he could not answer questions in the form of a press conference, Wolter said. He hopes there will be understanding.
On May 3, 2007, the three year old disappeared from an apartment complex in Praia de Luz, Portugal. At the time, her parents were eating at a restaurant nearby. (SWR, June 5)
German right-wing extremists allegedly trained by Russian racists
According to a media report, militant right-wing extremists from Germany of the NPD youth organization Junge Nationalisten (Young Nationalists) and the “Der III. Weg” party are said to have been trained for combat operations in a special camp near St. Petersburg in northern Russia. “Focus” cites security circles as a reason for this. The participants were trained in the handling of weapons and explosives as well as for military close combat.
The Russian Imperial Movement, or RIM, notorious for its racist smear campaign, is said to be behind the camp. The USA put them on the list of global terrorist groups in April. RIM is said to have two training camps near St. Petersburg. According to Russian media reports, the movement of ultra-right Christian Orthodox Russians is also classified as extremist in their home country, but is not prohibited.
German security authorities have been informed about the training of right-wing extremists in Russia. However, the investigators could not travel to St. Petersburg for legal reasons. (Focus, June 5)
Car thieves threaten driver, steal car
Strangers threatened a driver in Calw with a gun and knife, and then dashed away in their victim’s brand new convertible. According to police, the two perpetrators had ambushed the driver early Wednesday morning.The man was about to get into his brand-new car, which cost about 70,000 euros, when the suspects struck. A search with several patrol cars and a helicopter was unsuccessful. (Stuttgarter Zeitung, June 5)