Local news translated – Tuesday, Dec 21, 2021

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HN Update, December 21

Coronavirus in Baden-Württemberg – Almost 40 percent of people are “boosted”
Stuttgart – In the southwest, almost 40 percent of people have received a booster vaccination against the coronavirus so far. With 38.3 percent, the proportion was almost ten percentage points higher than a week ago, according to the state health office.

More than 3.5 million people had thus renewed their protection. The proportion of those fully vaccinated was 77.4 percent – growing by just one percent within a week.  The number of new Corona infections per 100,000 population within a week was 328.9 on Monday – down from 345.6 on Sunday. It had been 429.4 on Monday last week.

So far, 157 cases of the omicron variant in Baden-Württemberg have been reported to the state health office.  On Monday, 2,052 more Corona cases were reported, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 974,453. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 21)

Corona situation in Baden-Württemberg – Winfried Kretschmann does not rule out another lockdown
Stuttgart – In view of the highly contagious Omikron variant, Baden-Württemberg’s Minister President Winfried Kretschmann has quickly called for tougher measures in the fight against the corona virus. Vaccination is important, but is not enough – private contacts must be reduced, said the Green politician on Tuesday in Stuttgart shortly before the federal-state conference on the pandemic. “Another lockdown cannot be ruled out.”

Kretschmann also called for the Bundestag to again declare the so-called “epidemic situation of national dimension”. Kretschmann criticized the federal government of the SPD, FDP and Greens. He said it had informed the states too late about the danger posed by the omicron variant. He had received the expert council’s analysis only on Sunday – after hearing it on the news.

RKI recommends “maximum contact restrictions” effective immediately
Berlin – The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recommends “maximum contact restrictions” due to the current corona situation in Germany. These should “begin immediately” and apply until initially mid-January, as the RKI wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. In addition, it needs “maximum infection prevention measures” and a “maximum speed in the vaccination of the population.” 

Travel should be reduced to what is absolutely necessary, and intensive accompanying communication is needed to understand the measures. In a strategy paper, the RKI recommends, among other things, closing restaurants immediately and extending the Christmas vacations for daycare centers and schools.  With regard to the new Omikron variant of the coronavirus, the RKI speaks of a “pandemic wave currently beginning in Germany”.  

Despite remaining uncertainties, initial analyses indicate that Omikron could account for the majority of infection cases in Germany as early as the beginning of January 2022, the RKI said. There could be tens of thousands of cases of infection from Omikron every day. Under current conditions, the doubling time in Germany is about three days, it said.  “The concepts 2G/3G should be sharpened taking into account the Omikron variant, as a considerable transmission of this variant must be assumed also by recovered persons and fully vaccinated persons without booster vaccination,” the RKI writes.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 21)

Retail in the Southwest – Manfred Lucha rejects relaxation of “2G” rule
Stuttgart – Health Minister Manfred Lucha has rejected retailers’ demand that the 2G rule to be lifted for the southwest. “It is unfortunately the worst possible time to think about relaxations of any kind,” the Green politician said in Stuttgart on Monday, according to his ministry. He pointed out in the Corona crisis that the Omikron variant is likely to dominate the infection scene even in Germany in the near future.

The 2G rule means that only vaccinated and recovered people are allowed into many stores.  The retail sector in the southwest had called on the green-black state government to relax the rule in view of sales losses. Business sectors that are not drivers of the Corona pandemic should be spared from “constant tightening of rules,” the Baden-Württemberg trade association announced. However, according to supplementary information, it is difficult to say how high the risk of infection is in stores because contact tracing is especially difficult in such areas.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 21)

Cancelled Carnival parades in Baden Wuerttemberg
Last year, the few carnival participants who met at Rottweil to celebrate got in trouble with the police.   Just a month ago, the carnival associations announced that “carnival would not be cancelled again,” however, most events have already been canceled.    The POC for the Association of Swabian-Alemannic Fools’ Guilds, Volker Gegg stated that “we cannot imagine larger parades, all of our clubs and guilds know what responsibility they have.” 

Until four weeks ago, the clubs had looked more optimistically at the coming high carnival time. However, with the expected wave of “Omikron”, the situation has changed.  No one knows which Corona regulation may apply on 6 January and in the hot phase of the Fasnacht at the end of February it is unclear. The hope is that at least small village carnivals would be authorized take place.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 21)

Non-COVID related news:

Preparatory work for the A 81 widening project
Böblingen/Sindelfingen – The district roads in the area of Böblingen- and Sindelfingen-East have been re-organized. As of Wednesday, traffic is once again rolling unrestricted along the reorganized district roads to Vaihingen and Schönaich in the immediate vicinity of the A 81 junction Böblingen-Ost.

The redesign of the district roads has been done in anticipation of the highway expansion.  In the course of the construction activities, which lasted almost one and a half years, nearly 1.9 kilometers of road were upgraded or rebuilt. This involved milling 25,000 square meters of existing asphalt layers and applying a new asphalt surface over an area of 21,000 square meters. The construction of an additional 2750 square meters of concrete roadway (including two concrete traffic circles) and the construction of a new bridge with a span of approximately 44 meters completed the realignment of the district roads as a result of the network design.

Furthermore, a rainwater treatment plant consisting of a reinforced concrete rainwater clarifier and a rainwater retention basin was constructed. The main feature of the measures carried out is the relocation of the district road to Stuttgart-Vaihingen as a result of the new network concept to the northern outskirts of Böblingen, as well as the extension to the east – from the junction with Friedrich-Gerstlacher-Strasse – as a new road parallel to the A 81 in extension of the existing Leibnizstrasse.

With a newly constructed bridge, the district road in the direction of Vaihingen is now transferred over the district road to Schönaich. Following this, it will then merge to the east with the existing district road to Stuttgart-Vaihingen. With the redesigned connection, both district roads will be connected to the A 81 motorway by a short route, according to the press release.  This measure is being funded by the state of 5.2 million euros. The cities of Böblingen and Sindelfingen will each contribute a maximum of 1.4 million euros. The total measure is budgeted at 17 million euros from the district’s budget.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 21)