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Host Nation Update, Dec 8, 2021
Many new infections – Incidence in Stuttgart at new high – new omicron cases
Stuttgart – The incidence is rising in the state capital in significant steps, as predicted. On Tuesday evening, the State Health Office reported another 690 new infections for Stuttgart. This is the second highest daily figure to date. The seven-day incidence thus rises to 415.5 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and exceeds the 400 mark for the first time in the pandemic.
New cases of infection with the Omikron variant of the coronavirus, which first appeared in South Africa, have also been registered in Stuttgart. City spokesman Sven Matis spoke of a “handful of additional cases.” However, with regard to the spread of the new variant, which is considered even more contagious than the previous delta version, so far “no exponential spread could be detected,” the city spokesman explained. Rather, the current growth, which is more pronounced than in the surrounding area, is also due to a catch-up effect.
Stuttgart’s head of the public health department, Stefan Ehehalt, had recently stated that the incidences in the state capital, which for some time had moved sideways between 300 and 400 cases, unlike elsewhere, would soon increase significantly. The reason for this was that there had been too few staff to cope with the extremely high number of cases, and that the newly recruited staff still had to be trained. (Stutttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 8)
Yesterday’s Police checks in Stuttgart’s city trains
Stuttgart – Every few minutes, the now-familiar announcement runs at the Charlottenplatz stop that passengers must present a 3-G certificate to ride buses and trains, and that medical masks must be worn at stops and on trains. Most people have internalized this. However, as the Corona infection figures are heading for new record levels, the police are on the road for further checks. The Minister of the Interior Thomas Strobl had also insisted on this these days. He announced dozens of check points. One of them was in Stuttgart on Tuesday. The police were on the road with more than 25 officers. They were mainly visible at the hubs of local traffic in the state capital, at Charlottenplatz, Rotebühlplatz and the Hauptbahnhof, the main train station. “We check that masks are worn correctly,” explained police spokeswoman Ilona Bonn. However, The verification of the 3-G proof in busses and local trains is the responsibility of operators and their staff. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 8)
Italy, Spain, Turkey, Egypt, Caribbean – Where to travel now?
Stuttgart – The future Federal Minister of Transport, Volker Wissing (FDP), has already advised people to stay at home during Christmas. The question is: Where can you still go on vacation at all?
Within Germany from East Frisia to Usedom, 2 G is currently in effect for overnight stays and in restaurants. This has led to some cancellations of unvaccinated guests, so that previously fully booked areas such as Sylt or Norderney are now reporting free beds after all.
In Bavaria, as all over of Germany, 2 G applies in restaurants and hotels, and in some cases 2 G plus is voluntary. In the Bavarian hotspots with an incidence over 1000, however, only business people can still find a bed for the night
In Austria, Ski vacation is currently uncertain: Until at least December 12, there is a general lockdown in the Alpine republic due to the high incidence, so hotels must remain closed. Ski resorts are allowed to open, but only for vaccinated and recovered people. In contrast to the previous winter, Germans may enter the country and ski without any problems, however, cannot stay overnight. It remains to be seen what will happen next.
Italy – from South Tyrol to Sicily, the incidence is rising. So far, however, you can go on vacation with vaccination or testing without any problems. To enter the country, one needs an online registration. On public transport, vacationers must carry the Green Pass, as the EU COVID certificate is called in Italy, and prove that they have been vaccinated, recovered or tested. In restaurants, 2G applies. Free tests no longer exist. Discotheques are open, but you can only enter with 2 G.
Spain – The country, which was hit so hard last year, is currently still basking in relatively favorable pandemic values. But incidences are just picking up. German vacationers need 3 G, because Germany is considered a risk area from the Spanish point of view. In addition, the electronic entry form Spain Travel Health is necessary, without which one may not get on the plane. Mallorca’s regulations have just been tightened: unvaccinated people can only go to restaurants or discos if they have been tested. On the Canary Islands, on the other hand, masks are only required in restaurants up to the table, but there are already discussions about 3G.
Turkey and Egypt – The two popular sun destinations attract vacationers with low prices and relatively unproblematic entry requirements – 3G and Internet registration. However, they are high-risk areas from a German perspective. Vaccinated and recovered vacationers don’t need not worry about it. Unvaccinated visitors, on the other hand, must spend at least five days in quarantine after returning to Germany. This also applies to children under the age of twelve, who officially do not have the opportunity to be vaccinated.
Caribbean – here are currently showing almost paradisiacal seven-day incidence values in Cuba, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. However, the incalculable risk is called Omikron. A declaration as a virus variant area would mean 14 days quarantine for vacationers from Germany on their return. (Stgt Nachrichten, Dec 8)
Non Corona related News
Today’s new Chancellor’s election
At 9:00 a.m., the Bundestag convened to elect Olaf Scholz by secret ballot as the fourth SPD chancellor of the Federal Republic – the first Social Democrat to hold the post since 2005. He will lead the first coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP at the federal level. The SPD, Greens and FDP together account for 416 of 736 deputies in the new parliament. Following the election – which took place without debate – Scholz received his certificate of appointment from Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the Bellevue Palace. After swearing in the new chancellor, Steinmeier will appoint the eight federal ministers Scholz proposes to him. After that, the cabinet members will be sworn in in the Bundestag. (SWR Stuttgart, Dec 8)