Local news translated – Tuesday, Feb. 1

Host Nation Update, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022

Editor’s Note: Off-Post COVID rules are regularly updated and consolidated on the Stuttgart Citizen’s Local Coronavirus Rules Explained page.

Press conference with Winfried Kretschmann – pandemic will last until Easter
Kretschmann (Minister president B-W)  “does not see at all” that an exit strategy can even be debated before Easter. “We are not breaking out an exit strategy debate now,” Kretschmann says. That is currently “completely inappropriate”, 

When asked about an exit strategy, Kretschmann says: “No, we haven’t discussed anything to this effect.  Kretschmann will do so, however, but will seek advice from his scientific advisors before doing so.

  • No relaxations until Feb. 16
    He does not want to rule out anything, Kretschmann said. Nevertheless, the prime minister dampens hopes that there could be further relaxations before February 16 – when the next conference of prime ministers is scheduled. There are no such plans at present. Kretschmann also reiterates that the tier system is now in place for the time being.
  • Relaxations in neighboring countries
    When asked about relaxations in neighboring countries, Kretschmann says: “I would advise Germans to abide by the laws.” He adds that one still has to be careful, and incidences are shooting through the roof. Kretschmann reiterates that the rules, which had recently been adopted, still apply.
  • No news on mandatory vaccination for healthcare employees
    Mandatory vaccination is planned for healthcare workers. Meanwhile, when it will be implemented in practice is still unclear. The mandate to control it, admittedly, had been given to the Minister of Health. According to Kretschmann, however, it is not yet clear how this will be organized down to the district offices.

Incidence continues to rise – almost all counties exceed 1000 mark
Stuttgart – The seven-day incidence of new Corona infections in the southwest is below 1000 in only 5 of 44 urban and rural districts. The urban district of Ulm reached the highest value of 1736.5, according to the state health office in Stuttgart on Monday (as of 4 p.m.).

The lowest seven-day incidence of new Corona infections per 100,000 inhabitants was in the city district of Heidelberg with 688.5.

Nationwide, the value rose to 1191.3 (plus 37).  The agency reported 18,458 new cases of infection. The number of proven cases since the start of the pandemic in Baden-Württemberg thus rose to 1,374,016. The number of deaths rose to 13,669 (up 16) on Monday.

Intensive care units in the state are currently treating 274 COVID patients, one fewer than the day before. The number of people infected with Corona who arrived at a hospital within a week and per 100 000 inhabitants decreased by 0.2 to 4.8. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Feb 2)

Corona “walks” – Federal Constitutional Court leaves municipal ban in place
Karlsruhe/Stuttgart – The Federal Constitutional Court has refused to overrule a municipal ban on unannounced Corona “walks” with immediate effect. The judges in Karlsruhe on Monday rejected an urgent appeal by a man who wanted to bring down the general decree issued by the city of Freiburg. 

Like several other municipalities, the city of Freiburg had issued a preventive general order on January 7, which was to be repealed at the end of the month. In it, “all assemblies and substitute assemblies in connection with general calls for “Monday walks” or “strolls” that have not been reported and confirmed by the authorities” were prohibited. 

At the same time, the city of Karlsruhe announced that it was extending a ban on so-called Monday walks in the city area, which had been in effect since mid-December, until February 14, 2022, inclusive.

According to the general order, unannounced rallies or processions that are declared as so-called walks – but are legally assemblies in the sense of the Assembly Act – are prohibited.

On Monday, the state capital Stuttgart also extended the ban on all unannounced demonstrations declared as walks against the Corona Ordinance. According to a press release, the ban applies within the city ring – that is, the area bounded by the B 14, 27 and 27a federal roads and the street in front of the main train station. It will expire on Feb. 28, 2022, unless lifted earlier.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Feb 2)

EU Vaccination certificate validity shortened
The EU Commission has shortened the period that an EU vaccination certificate is valid without a booster vaccination to nine months. With the change, the EU Commission hopes to encourage more people to get booster vaccinations, to work against the decrease in vaccination effectiveness over time, and to support travel between EU states.

There is no time limitation on the EU vaccination certificate for people who have been boostered. Travelers without booster vaccinations will be treated as unvaccinated. Individual EU states are still able to implement their own national rules. (tagesschau.de, Feb 1)

Rescinded Contact tracing in Restaurants
According to a media report, B-W intends to rescind contact tracing requirements in restaurants. Government sources indicated that the B-W government will publish the rule change next week.

The Cabinet still needs to deliberate on the details of the change, including in which areas in addition to restaurants, clubs, and bars patrons would no longer need to check in. (SWR.de, Feb 1, 2022)

Impact of Subtype BA.2:
According to Janosch Dahmen, the Greens Party federal health spokesman, further easing measures are unlikely in the coming weeks due to the Omicron subtype BA.2.

BA.2 appears to be even more infectious than the main Omicron variant of concern (VoC) BA.1. Dahmen expects that BA.2 will push the crest of the current coronavirus wave farther out. “Everything that we know now about BA.2 suggests that the number of infections will possibly not decrease in February.

It is possible that the trend will stall for several weeks,” Dahmen said. One unknown factor that could be decisive is how well people who have recovered from a BA.1 infection are protected from BA.2. (Stuttgarter Zeitung, Feb 1)

Editor’s note: Learn more about inclement weather procedures at USAG Stuttgart