Daily Host Nation Stories for May 26, 2020
LOCAL COVID-19 INFO: Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Health reports 60 new confirmed infections, for a total of 34,435. B-W reports 19 deaths today, for a total of 1,707, with 31,217 recovered. Germany has 180,802 positives, 8,349 deaths.
Family fined 1000 euros for violating corona restrictions
It was supposed to be a pleasant holiday walk and ended abruptly in the pitfalls of the corona regulation. Family Klenk (name changed) from the Stuttgart region was on their way to the cemetery in a group of two and a group of three, as they affirm – when a patrol car approached them at a quiet corner of the forest. For a moment the family moved together a little. The policemen got out of the car, took down all the personal details, and noted a violation of the infection control regulations. Soon the receipt came from the public order office: the Klenks were to pay a fine of 200 euros for each person involved.
In public, only two households may stand together- The reason is that although the family is related in a straight line from grandfather to husband and wife to their two daughters and keeps close contact with each other, they live in four separate households. Even an extended family is allowed to meet in their own apartment, so not even the number of persons is important. But as soon as she steps outside the door closed, the long arm of state power threatens.
On the street, only people from two different households are allowed to stand together without having to keep a minimum distance of 1.5 meters. Klaus Klenk is generally committed to the hygiene requirements, but is also annoyed by the “arbitrariness” of this regulation. “What do these regulations have to do with preventing the spread of the virus”, he asks, expressing doubts about a legal system that appears contradictory. He did not receive the hoped-for comprehensible justifications from either the public order office or the ministry of state – instead, he received a big fine. In order to avoid legal disputes, the Klenks paid the 1000 euros on time. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, May 25)
Deutsche Post wants thousands of employees tested for coronavirus
Deutsche Post will be the first German company to have thousands of employees tested for the coronavirus without any specific reason. The company is taking the path of a ” preventive testing strategy”, announced board member Tobias Meyer. Significantly more than 10,000 employees should be offered to be tested as a precautionary measure, “especially in larger facilities.” According to Meyer, the Post’s company physicians will probably offer the tests in some of the 36 parcel centers and possibly also in letter distribution centers. (Rheinische Pos,t May 26)
Federal government wants to lift travel warning for 31 countries
The German government wants to lift the worldwide travel warning for tourists for European countries beginning June 15, if the coronavirus pandemic allows it. In addition to Germany’s 26 partner countries in the European Union, these include Great Britain, which has left the EU, and the four states of the border-free Schengen area, which are not members of the EU: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. These are the findings of a draft key issues paper entitled “Criteria for Enabling Intra-European Tourism,“ which is possibly to be adopted by the cabinet as early as Wednesday and which has been submitted to the DPA. (Ntv, May 26)
Italy’s foreign minister for Europe-wide tourism launch on June 15
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio spoke out in favour of a joint relaunch of European tourism in mid-June. “Let us work towards ensuring that we can all make a fresh start together in Europe on June15. June 15 is a bit of a European D-Day for tourism,” Di Maio told Rai television station. Di Maio referred to the German government’s intention, contained in a draft key points paper, to lift the worldwide travel warning for German tourists from 15 June onwards for 31 European countries. (Focus, May 26)
Man pushed and spit on at train station
A 25-year-old man pushed a 63-year-old man at Leonberg station on Sunday afternoon at about 1:40 p.m. and then spat on him. The men got into an argument in the station underpass, probably due to non-compliance with current infection control measures. The younger man is said to have grabbed the 63-year-old by the neck and pushed him away. Afterwards he apparently also spat against the passenger’s upper body. After the crime, the suspect fled from the underpass together with his two companions, but was found shortly afterwards by two patrols of the state police and temporarily arrested. According to current information, the 63-year-old remained uninjured by the incident. The federal police have now taken over the investigation. The man, who lives in the Heilbronn district, must now expect to be charged on suspicion of bodily harm and insult.( Böblinger Zeitung, May 25)
Corona test doesn‘t always work
According to scientists, infection of coronavirus cannot always be detected with a smear. Physicians at the University Hospital of Freiburg reported that this common form of testing might even turn out negative in the case of a corona infection. The case of an infected person from Freiburg is described in which three throat swabs were negative. The man had a cough and fever, and the smears were negative. The virus genes were finally detected in coughing up respiratory secretions. There is growing evidence that throat swabs are not always reliable, said a physician at the hospital. The genetic test should therefore be carried out on respiratory secretions or stool, for example. (SWR, May 25)
Europapark opens in coronavirus crisis mode
Europa-Park will reopen in response to the nationwide relaxation of the corona measures. From May 18, the hotel gastronomy is to be gradually reopened. From May 29, the park, hotels and the camp resorts/camping will be reopened.
Recently, the Black Forest Messenger reported that the community of Rust is also in very bad shape due to the closure of Europa-Park and the Rulantica water world.
When the park is reopened, targeted measures will be taken to minimize the risk of infection:
- Limiting the number of visitors by means of day-based online ticketing
- Compliance with safety distances (e.g. distance markings in waiting areas, restaurants, etc.)
- Implementation of extended hygiene standards and processes (such as additional disinfection stations, regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces, etc.)
- Information and education of guests about all measures before and during the visit
- Introduction of new digital technologies in the field of queue management and social distancing
- Contactless payment
- Staff training
The themepark also wants to welcome international guests as soon as cross-border traffic to neighbouring countries is available again. According to the information in the press release, the park is optimistic about an early start of the show and cinema programs and the opening of the Rulantica water world. (Swr, May 25)
Eurowings anticipates a longer downturn
The Lufthansa subsidiary Eurowings expects a prolonged decline in air traffic. It could take until 2023 before the aviation industry reaches the pre-corona level again, said Eurowings boss Jens Bischof. Eurowings will probably have “only a good 90 planes in the air” instead of 139 next year.
The company wants to save 30 percent of costs, Bischof said. In administration, at least 300 of the approximately 1000 jobs should be cut. In total, Eurowings has about 4000 employees. Bischof did not comment on possible job cuts in other areas. In flight operations, he said, agreements with the social partners were important, “especially with regard to the possible distribution of Germanwings colleagues between Lufthansa and Eurowings.” (Tageschau, May 26)
Proper ordinance is different
For weeks, things were quiet on Theodor-Heuss-Straße in Stuttgart.
Mayor Fritz Kuhn wrote to Stefan Schneider, operator of the bar Palace of the Republic, thanking him for his “prudent reaction” to the first rush after the long time closed. Schneider had voluntarily closed his bar. Other owners are less careful. This can be viewed in the evening along Theodor-Heuss-Straße. While one of the shisha bars remains closed, the guests sit together quite comfortably in front of the other one. Those who run a restaurant are allowed to open, even if they only offer a fruit-cheese platter; those who only have a license are not.
No wonder that this is met with confusion in the industry, especially since nobody knows when bars, clubs and discos will be open. Is Christmas at least a perspective? There’s no word from the country or the city on that. The operators as well as their employees are completely up in the air. “We can only meet the challenge of the corona pandemic as a community. Everyone must take their share of responsibility,” Kuhn wrote Schneider. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, May 25)
Outdoor pool season visit only possible with online ticket
In other Federal states, the open-air swimming pool season started this week. In Baden-Württemberg, the pools will remain closed until at least June 5. Should the swimming season finally also start in B-W, swimmers must expect numerous new rules. Access to the Stuttgart open-air pools would then only be possible with an online ticket with prior registration. More about this in the article.
Earliest start of the open-air swimming pool season on Saturday, June 6. – Even though the operation of the baths has been suspended for more than two weeks, the Stuttgart baths are working hard in the background on a concept for the opening of the open-air swimming pool season. With the current temperatures above 20 degrees, many swimmers miss the visit to the open-air pool. While in other federal states (including North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate) open-air swimming pool operation has restarted, swimming and splashing around in Baden-Württemberg remains prohibited until Friday, June 5. If the corona figures continue to develop positively, the open-air swimming pool season could also start on Saturday in Baden-Württemberg under special conditions. The opening concept for the outdoor pool could look like this:
- Admission to the open-air pool is only possible with an online-ticket with prior registration
- The online-ticket shows an exact bathing time to equalize the admission situation
- The total number of visitors per day should be limited
In North Rhine-Westphalia, the number of guests in open-air swimming pools is also limited. In the pools, changing rooms and showers the minimum distance must be maintained. In closed rooms, masks are also compulsory. As in restaurants, the guests’ data must be stored for four weeks. In addition to regular hand washing and disinfection, individual changing rooms have also been set up so that the distance can be better maintained. The outdoor pool kiosks can also look forward to customers here. “In essence, the measures from NRW also apply to us,” says Jens Böhm from the Stuttgart baths. The hobby swimmers in particular are hoping for an early start to open-air swimming pools in Baden-Württemberg. (Stuggi.TV, May 22)
Easing on restrictions without negative effects
More than two months after the flare-up of the corona crisis, the situation in the state capital has further eased. “The previous easing has not yet led to any deterioration”, the head of the city’s health department, Stefan Ehehalt, told the council committee for social affairs and health on Monday. “Even the partial opening of the schools has not had any negative effect so far.”
This can be seen from the current figures. So far, the city has registered a total of 1462 infected persons, 1362 of whom are reported to be recovering. 38 people are still infected with the coronavirus. Apart from a few exceptions, the number of new infections per day in the past four weeks was in the single-digit range. According to Ehehalt, “but an estimated number of unreported cases” must be taken into account.
In the meantime 62 people have died with or from the virus. The proportion of those who died among those infected was 4.2 percent, said the head of the health department. “That is a relatively low rate.” About 42 percent of those had lived in a nursing home. Together with the city’s hospitals, the health department investigated
the frequently asked question whether these people, the majority of whom were very old and suffered from pre-existing conditions, died only with or from the virus. According to the evaluation, a clear connection with Covid-19 disease can be established in 70 percent of the deaths, in 19 percent of the cases this is possible, in the remaining 11 percent this connection is unlikely. The situation in the old people’s and nursing homes was also stable. Meanwhile, the carriers have sufficient protective equipment. The materials are “quite easy to get” again.
Since the number of ventilated patients in hospitals has fallen significantly, they are increasingly able to make up for the postponed operations. However, the hospitals could “quickly switch back and take countermeasures,” explained Stefan Ehehalt. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, May 25)
Corona loosening: Federal Government wants to allow meetings of ten people
The federal government wants to maintain contact restrictions – initially until July 5, although these will probably be eased a little. This is the result of a draft resolution by the head of the Chancellor’s Office, Helge Braun, for consultations with state representatives, which has been submitted to the capital city studio. According to the proposal, up to ten people – or the members of two households – will be allowed to meet, both at home and in public, starting June 6.
So far, only members of one’s own household and of another household are allowed to meet. The minimum distance of one and a half meters must still be observed; in certain public areas, masks will still be required. In addition, more extensive contact restrictions are to be imposed in regions where infection rates are rising in order to contain the outbreak. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said that the point was not to jeopardize the progress made. He said that it was necessary to be “both courageous and vigilant” to return to schools, restaurants, and sports clubs, but at the same time continue to observe the rules of hygiene.
Seibert added that new infections at a church service in Frankfurt and in a restaurant in East Frisia showed what could happen if basic rules were disregarded. And that was avoidable.
Federal and state governments postponed a decision on contact restrictions. A decision to extend the contact restrictions has not yet been taken today. The country representatives will first of all meet with the respective governments this Tuesday to discuss how long and under what conditions the contact restrictions will be extended, according to negotiation circles.
The restrictions agreed between the federal and state governments so far will remain in place until June 5. Thuringia’s Minister President Bodo Ramelow had announced that he would then waive the restrictions and apply them regionally, if necessary, if the infection situation required it. Most recently, however, Ramelow stated that masks should continue to be mandatory in public transport and in shops.( BR24, May 25)
Shots fired at Stuttgart shisha bar – witnesses give hints on possible suspects
After shots were fired at a Stuttgart shisha bar on Saturday, investigators are following up on initial witness clues.There were no injuries. Police continue to search for clues to the perpetrators. Witnesses saw two dark-dressed men, no more than 30 years old, wearing hoods, shooting from an opposite bus stop. One of the perpetrators allegedly shouted something in a foreign language. Since the motive for the crime is still unclear, the State Security is investigating. According to the police, however, the investigations are going in all directions.
According to Stuttgart police spokesman Stephan Widmann, the exact time of the crime was still unclear on Sunday. The incident was reported by the owner of the bar early Saturday afternoon after he discovered the damage to windows. The police cannot yet say exactly how many shots were fired.
It is questionable whether there were people in the shisha bar when the shots were fired. According to Widmann, this is still under investigation. On Saturday and Sunday, specialists from the criminal police and the state criminal investigation department secured evidence at the scene of the crime, which is being evaluated. (Tagesschau, May 22)