Daily Host Nation Stories for May 27, 2020
Federal government and states agree on contact restrictions until June 29
The federal and state governments are in agreement that the current contact restrictions should be extended until June 29. This was announced by the federal government. Part of the agreement is therefore that states may allow meetings of up to ten people or members of two households in public.
However, it was still recommended “to keep the number of people with whom one has contact as low as possible and to keep the circle of people as constant as possible.” Hygiene and distance rules should also be observed during meetings at home and adequate ventilation should be provided. Meetings outdoors are still best. “In any case, the traceability of the participants should be guaranteed,” the communication continues.
Where the “regional dynamics” make this necessary, more extensive contact restrictions should be imposed in order to contain the outbreak and prevent a supra-regional infection.
The decision was based on the assessment that the number of new infections was still low one month after the start of the relaxation measures. “This success is essentially based on the fact that distance and hygiene rules have been implemented and adhered to in all relevant areas. (Tagesschau, May 26)
Travel in Europe will be possible this year
Nils Schmid, the SPD’s foreign policy spokesman in the Bundestag, has expressed confidence that holiday trips to other European countries will be possible this year. The European states had got the pandemic well under control, Schmid told Deutschlandfunk. He also said that the other countries had similar safety precautions as in Germany, referring to distance rules and mask obligations. At the same time, however, it was clear that it was still necessary to react quickly to the occurrence of infection, Schmid emphasized. This morning, the German government actually wanted to adopt a concept according to which, according to media reports, the existing worldwide travel warning would be lifted for all EU states and five other European countries as of June 15. Due to concerns of the CSU, however, the meeting was postponed. (Ntv, May 27)
RKI reports lowest R value for three weeks
The reproduction rate of infections in Germany, or R-value for short, is 0.70, according to the latest data from the Robert Koch Institute, following a value of 0.83 on Monday. This means that ten infected persons infect seven more people on average. This is the lowest value since 6 May (0.65). The R-value reflects the infection about one and a half weeks before. The so-called 7-day R, which has been additionally indicated by the RKI since mid-May, was 0.78 according to the Institute’s estimates (data as of May 26, 0:00 a.m.). It shows the occurrence of infection 8 to 16 days ago, refers to a longer period of time and is therefore less subject to daily fluctuations. (Robert Koch Institute, May 27)
Childcare centers don’t spread more viruses than homes
Minister President Winfried Kretschmann did not want to publish partial results until scientists came one step closer to their study, which aims to clarify the risk of children being infected. Now he is leaking an interim result: “Daycare centers are not virus-slingers.”
Only half of the children in the country are allowed to go to emergency care, and the closure of the daycare centers is a burden on 14 million families nationwide. “They are at the end of their tether,” Kretschmann says. He himself may not yet believe that he can now announce good news in advance, as this contradicts many a thing that was previously assumed to be certain. He told the scientists three times: “This must be valid!” And they would have said yes.
The effort for the study was enormous. The researchers from the University Hospitals of Heidelberg, Ulm, Freiburg and Tübingen tested 5000 people for virus and antibodies. Half of the volunteers were children up to ten years of age, the other half were children of one parent each. Kretschmann said that not all samples have been evaluated yet, but the trend is clear: “Almost no undetected infections were found in parents and children. At most in the per mille range. Only up to 2 percent would have antibodies in the blood. It is clear that children are “significantly” less likely to become ill than adults, but also less likely to become infected.
This finding is fundamental for the further handling of day-care centers and primary schools: “We can rule out that children are particular drivers of the infection process. The risk of spreading is no greater in day-care centers than in home care.” On this basis, Susanne Eisenmann will now develop a concept for the regular operation of these facilities. On Monday evening, after he had heard the interim result, he had informed the Minister of Education so that she could appear prepared in front of the television audience at Frank Plasberg’s “hard but fair.” She announced the next morning that she would work quickly with municipalities and supporting associations to develop a legal framework “in order to be able to fully reopen the day care centers by the end of June at the latest.” In addition, a concept for the further opening of primary schools is to be worked out. Eisenmann: “With these steps, we are offering families with small children a real perspective.” (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, May 26)
Serious accident leads to full closure of A81
On Wednesday a serious traffic accident occurred on the A81 near Sindelfingen (Böblingen district). A truck and a sprinter were presumably involved, the police reported. According to initial information, the rear-end collision occurred around 8.28 am shortly before the Sindelfingen-Ost junction in the direction of Singen. The driver of the sprinter involved was apparently trapped in his vehicle and seriously injured. Rescue workers rescued the man, and a rescue helicopter was also on site. After the autobahn was initially closed for the accident on both lanes, one lane is now supposed to be open to traffic again. (Sindelfinger Nachrichten, May 27)
Schäuble warns against “conspiracy lunatics”
President of the Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble warned participants of demonstrations against being appropriated by “spinners.” “In order to protect yourself from applause from the wrong corner and not to fall for some conspiracy spinners, I recommend that you examine and consider carefully: Is the environment in which I demonstrate the right one?” said Schäuble. At rallies against the requirements, not only health-related but also political distance rules must be observed, Schäuble warned. “One should always keep distance from extremists in order not to infect oneself in one way or another. In principle, however, demonstrations against politics must always be possible, the politician said. “That people express their doubts about the measures in demonstrations is an expression of a living democracy.” (Ntv, May 27)
Woman insults, spits at pedestrians
Pedestrians alerted the police about a 33-year-old woman shouting loudly in Rotebühlstraße at the level of the Feuersee and had presumably spat at and insulted several pedestrians. She also allegedly hit an unknown woman with her backpack. The officers temporarily arrested the woman and took her to a psychiatric institution. (Stuttgarter Nacrichten, May 27)
Exhibitionist with mask becomes even bolder
The woman on the city train cannot believe her eyes. As the train enters the station at night, a masked stranger stands outside the window. And unashamedly opens his pants. Exhibitionists are currently performing almost daily in and around Stuttgart – and behind mouth-nose masks they are apparently even more fearless. The police are not making their investigations any easier in view of the perpetrators who are properly masked.
The most recent case took place on Tuesday around 0.45 am at the Bihlplatz tram stop in the south of Stuttgart. That night, a 21-year-old woman took the last tram of the U1 line in the direction of Vaihingen. As the yellow train stops at Bihlplatz, a man is standing outside on the platform – manipulating his genitals with his pants open. The unknown man sees the young woman in the train and becomes even bolder. According to the police he stands directly in front of her window and continues his sexual acts, until the train departs.
The federal police have more hope in the case of an exhibitionist who appeared on May 4 in an S-Bahn of line S 3 and exposed himself to a passenger between Leonberg-Höfingen and Weilimdorf. “The video data is secured,” says Federal Police spokesman Yannick Dotzek. And it appears that the perpetrator has disregarded the mandatory mask obligation on the train, which has been in force since April 27. (Stuttgart Nachrichten, May 26)
Does a popular Stuttgart restaurant have to close now?
For 31 years, the Greek restaurant “Ilysia” at Möhringer Landstrasse 100 in Vaihingen has been a popular address for friends of Mediterranean cuisine. Even Chancellor Angela Merkel has been there. Former State Secretary Rezzo Schlauch is a frequent guest, often with his friend Fritz Kuhn, the Lord Mayor of Stuttgart.
This is what distance looks like in a restaurant. Now of all times, when after the mandatory break due to the , the restaurants are allowed to open under strict hygiene regulations and the recommendation is to go outside where the risk of infection is lower than inside, the owner received a letter from the city hall administration. In states in the letter that the restaurant owner will “no longer may use the covered outdoor restaurant area”. Because this is “in view of the non-compliance with the fire protection regulations, the regulations on distance areas, and the lack of noise emission rules, obviously illegal and therefore “no longer authorized.” If the owner chooses to disregard the order, the landlord is threatened with withdrawal of his restaurant concession. Former Secretary of State Rezzo Schlauch asked why is the administration office now, of all times, picking on an old-established landlord who “in times of is known to have his back to the wall.”
Schlauch accuses the city hall official of an “anti-citizen campaign threatening the innkeeper’s existence.” On top of that, this premature measure was unnecessary, according to Schlauch. “An administrative court procedure is still ongoing, and it would be possible to wait for a legally binding court decision without further measures.”
Schlauch refers to the toleration of the municipal restaurant authority of 2017, according to which the landlord may use the outdoor area including the roofing as long as no clarification by the highest court is available. “Everyone knows by now that outdoor catering is far less likely to infect restaurant visitors than enclosed spaces. Therefore, generous exceptions are being made elsewhere,” Schlauch said. While in the city center the restaurateurs are allowed to expand into public areas, the Greek Restaurant at the “Wallgraben” is not even allowed to use the outside space that belongs to him.
City spokesman Sven Matis opposes this. “From a legal standpoint, the situation is clear. The development plan as well as the state building regulations do not allow any outdoor areas there. The building code office has repeatedly made the specifications clear to the operators.” The regional council also shares this assessment. Now to construct a connection with the virus is to be rejected from the point of view of the Building Law Office, Matis explained further. “All the points which the Building Law Office complains about are no longer relevant since 2017,” said Matthias Filbinger, the chairman of the Association of the Self-Employed in Vaihingen. An agreement was reached with the restaurant authority at the time. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, May 26)