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Host Nation Update, December 28
Adjusted COVID regulations are in force
New post-Christmas corona rules are now in effect throughout Germany. In Baden-Württemberg, only up to ten vaccinated and recovered people are allowed to be together indoors; up to 50 are allowed outdoors. For the unvaccinated, members of a household may only meet with two other people. Clubs and discos will be closed. For leisure, culture and retail, the 2G or 2G-plus rule will continue to apply. Stores for daily needs are exempt. Tighter Corona rules had already come into force in some states. (Ntv, December 28)
Number of Omicron cases increases by 45 percent
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) counts so far 10,443 Covid-19 cases in Germany which are assigned to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. This corresponds to an increase of 45 percent, or 3,218 cases, compared to the previous day, the RKI reports. However, a high number of new and follow-up reports are expected. Meanwhile, a total of four deaths are linked to the Omicron variant; three of the dead were between the ages of 60 and 79, and one person was between the ages of 35 and 59. The first omicron death had been reported by the RKI on Dec. 23. The RKI only counts Omicron cases in which detection by whole genome sequencing or laboratory diagnostic suspicion by variant-specific PCR showed infection with Omicron. (Robert Koch Institute, December 28)
Anti-COVID drug: government buys one million packs
The German government is buying one million packs of the drug Paxlovid from the U.S. company Pfizer against severe covid courses. This is what Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur in Berlin. The first deliveries are expected before the end of January, he said. (Dpa, December 28)
Police confiscate fake vaccination cards
Stuttgart-Ost – On Tuesday, a 38-year-old man in Stuttgart-Ost received a surprise visit from police officers. He is accused of having presented a suspected fake vaccination certificate at a nearby pharmacy back on November 24. His goal was to obtain a digital vaccination certificate. Due to technical problems, however, this was not possible at the time, so the 38-year-old left the pharmacy again.
An employee subsequently checked the data of the vaccination certificate, found that it apparently did not exist and alerted the police the following day. Officers from the “Booster” investigation group, a unit of Stuttgart police headquarters set up specifically to investigate forged vaccination cards, then identified the suspect and searched his home by court order. The evidence seized by the officers must now be evaluated.
In another case, investigators searched the apartment of a family of four on Wednesday, who are also suspected of having presented suspected fake vaccination cards at a pharmacy in Weilimdorf. The four family members, aged 15, 17, 49 and 52, wanted to obtain digital vaccination certificates by presenting their vaccination cards at the pharmacy at around 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 27. After an employee of the pharmacy had doubts about the authenticity of the data entered, she refused to hand over the certificates. As a result, the family left the pharmacy. Investigations by the ‘Booster’ investigation team led to the trail of the suspects. (Canstatter Nachrichten, December 28)
Non-COVID related news:
Allergy hazard: Kaufland recalls chocolate raisins
Supermarket chain Kaufland has recalled Encinger SK chocolate raisins. The affected product, K-Classic Chocolate Raisins in Milk Chocolate, may contain peanuts to which allergy sufferers may react. The chocolate raisins can be returned to all stores. (SWR, December 28)
19-year-old sexually harassed – Witnesses wanted
Stuttgart – Police are looking for an unknown man who allegedly sexually harassed a 19-year-old woman in Stuttgart’s Königstraße on Monday evening. As the police explained in a statement, the 19-year-old was walking with a female companion around 8 p.m. on Königstraße in the direction of the main train station when she was groped by an unknown person.
The alleged perpetrator is said to be about 1.80 meters tall and between 40 to 45 years. He is described with an athletic figure. He is said to have been wearing a dark rain jacket with a hood, black jeans and a black mouth-nose protector. Witnesses are asked to call the criminal investigation department at 0711/8990 5778. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, December 28)
Successful campaign for the needy
Stuttgart- “Everything worked out great. I am very satisfied.” Dimi Evangelopoulos breathed a sigh of relief. For the second time, he invited needy, lonely and distressed people to his restaurant “Gaststätte Schützenhaus bei Dimi” in Burgholzstraße on Christmas Eve. Between 12 and 16 o’clock he had opened his doors and built up a buffet. Almost 100 people took advantage of the free offer. In addition to food and drinks, there were also presents. The gastronome wanted to give these people a few “pleasant hours”. A matter of the heart.
In addition, there was also an important visitor. Mayor Frank Nopper had heard about the Christmas campaign and had come to Burgholzstraße with his wife Gudrun to find out in person. “Originally, the mayor wanted to stay for an hour,” says the restaurateur, “but it turned out to be two.” Representatives of the Münster district advisory council and the trade and commerce association also stopped by to support the offer. Last year, the free meal offer for the needy on Christmas Eve had to be cancelled due to Corona. (Canstatter Zeitung, December 27)
Ferris wheel return to Schlossplatz planned in one year
Stuttgart – Locals and visitors alike have never before been able to admire the city of Stuttgart from such a lofty height. A fantastic view from the drone perspective is provided by the 40 gondolas of the Ferris wheel which has been rotating tirelessly in a prominent position in front of the Neues Schloss since October 2. Now its days are numbered. On January 2, at 9 p.m. sharp, three months after its launch, the new attraction in the ‘cauldron,’ which glows colorfully at night, will be slowed down. Behind the scenes, however, the city and state are already campaigning for a continuation in October 2022 in the palace courtyard.
(Stuttgarter Nachrichten, December 28)