Local news translated – Dec 15, 2020

Daily Host Nation Update December 15, 2020 

The state government of Baden-Württemberg published an amended Corona ordinance on December 12, effective immediately.
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Rates of COVID infections and deaths continue to break records

The number of deaths and new infections with coronavirus remains at a high level. German health authorities have reported 14,432 new cases and 500 deaths to the Robert Koch Institute within one day. On Tuesday of the previous week, 14,054 new infections and 423 deaths had been reported. The highs of 29,875 reported cases and 598 deaths had been reached on Friday. Tuesday’s 500 deaths represent the third highest level since the pandemic began. (Robert Koch Institute, December 15)

Corona deniers are an “attack on our entire lifestyle”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is concerned about how to deal with Corona deniers and the lateral thinking movement, she said in a civil dialogue with students. It is very difficult to bring someone back from a world without facts, she said. Such a mindset is an “attack on our entire lifestyle,” the chancellor said. (Ntv, Deceber 15)

Mask recall at Müller: Potentially cancer-causing substance detected

The drugstore chain Müller has recalled the mask “Viral Protect” made by Media Chain Products in sizes M and L in the color black. Among other things, Müller cited “unpleasant odor” as the reason in a statement. But even worse: according to the drugstore chain, samples of the toxic substance aniline, which can be carcinogenic in the worst case, were found in the edging band in individual masks. Müller recommends discontinuing the use of the masks immediately. The “7-month protection mask” has been sold in stores and online since October 30. (Ntv, December 15)

Majority of Germans could be vaccinated by end of summer

Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn expects that by the end of summer 2021, around 60 percent of citizens in Germany could be vaccinated against the coronavirus. As of today, such a large number of vaccine doses can be expected in the summer that large parts of the population could then be vaccinated in the summer, the CDU politician said on ZDF’s “heute-journal.” Everyone who wants to should be able to be vaccinated by then. According to experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), a vaccination coverage rate of 60 to 70 percent of the population is necessary to effectively combat the Corona pandemic. (Zdf, December 15)

UNESCO calls for prioritization of teachers for Corona vaccination

The UN cultural organization UNESCO has called on governments worldwide to give teachers priority access to Corona vaccines. “We believe that teachers and educational support staff must be considered as a priority group,” Unesco Director-General Audrey Azoulay said in a video message. (Ntv, December 15)

Free distribution of FFP2 masks to high-risk groups

Starting this Tuesday, some 27 million citizens from corona risk groups in Germany will be able to receive the first free FFP2 masks. A corresponding regulation of the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) is to come into force on Tuesday, as a ministry spokesman confirmed to the news agency dpa. In a first step, starting Dec 15th through January 6th, people over 60 or affected by certain chronic diseases will be able to pick up three masks free of charge at pharmacies. The presentation of the identification card is sufficient and another person can also be authorized to pick up the masks. Next, this same group can a further twelve masks starting in January. Coupons will be sent by post. The campaign will cost the federal government a total of around 2.5 billion euros. (ARD, December 15)

Fashion retail remains stuck with mountains of merchandise

Fashion retailers in Germany are left sitting on hundreds of millions of unsold garments due to the lockdown. “Especially in the fashion sector, the warehouses are still overflowing,” said the chief executive of the German Retail Association, Stefan Genth, to the newspapers of the Funke Mediengruppe. “Since the closure is now already taking place before Dec. 24, a huge mountain of 300 million pieces of unsold fashion items will pile up by Jan. 10,” Genth said. During the Christmas shopping season, an average of more than 15 million pairs of pants, shirts, shoes and other garments are normally sold each day. (Ntc, December 15)

Non-Corona News

The fire department rescues eight residents in Sindelfingen

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, an apartment fire in Ernst-Barlach-Strasse in Sindelfingen injured one person and caused around 250,000 euros in property damage. A resident of the apartment building alerted the fire department and police around 3:10 a.m. after noticing a fire in the apartment of a 73-year-old neighbor. When the first emergency services arrived, the woman was already with her neighbor and the police evacuated eight people from four apartments. The Sindelfingen fire department, which was at the scene of the fire with 31 emergency personnel and nine vehicles, had extinguished the flames at around 3:45 a.m.. According to initial police findings, the fire may have started when a previously heated cherry pit cushion ignited in the 73-year-old’s bedroom. However, the investigation is not yet complete. While trying to extinguish the flames, the woman suffered minor burn injuries and smoke inhalation and had to be taken to hospital by the emergency services. Eight emergency service vehicle crews were dispatched to Ernst-Barlach-Strasse. After completion of the fire-fighting work, the remaining residents were able to return to their apartments. The 73-year-old’s apartment is no longer habitable and property damage was caused by extinguishing water in an apartment below. (BBheute, December 15)

Christmas beer from the can

This year’s bottled Christmas beer from Schönbuch Brewery is already sold out 10 days before Christmas. However, there is still some Christmas beer left on tap, which was originally intended for the catering trade. It is now being bottled exclusively by brewery boss Werner Dinkelaker and brewmaster Gustavo Tresselt in 5-liter cans, so that the Christmas beer can be enjoyed at home for private Christmas celebrations. The cans are only available at Schönbuch Braumarkt for the special price of 10 euros per can. A total of 200 cans were filled. (BB heute, December 15)

In Steinenbronn, two masked men rob the Agip gas station

At around 10:40 p.m. on Sunday, two masked men, and an accomplice, attacked the Agip gas station on the bypass road in Steinenbronn. Armed with a baseball bat and metal knuckles, they entered the salesroom and demanded that the 55-year-old cashier hand over cash from the till. They got away with several hundred euros and were initially able to escape unrecognized. However, after extensive search measures with participation of a police helicopter, the criminal investigation department and the Böblingen police station eventually apprehended three men. The investigation is on-going. (BB heute, December 15)