Local news translated – Tuesday, Feb. 22

Host Nation Update, Feb. 22, 2022

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

Seven-day incidence is declining – experts suspect large number of unreported cases
Stuttgart – The seven-day incidence of COVID new infections has declined slightly in the southwest. The value was 1561.6 after 1615.3 the day before, as the state health office in Stuttgart announced on Monday (as of 16:00). The figure indicates the Corona new infections within a week and per 100,000 inhabitants. A week ago, the value was 1646.7 – so slightly higher.  Compared to Sunday, the agency reported 18 768 known new infections. The number of registered cases since the beginning of the pandemic now reached 1 939 146. A week ago, the number of new infections had been 23 879.  

Coronavirus or related deaths were 28 more on the day. The total number of deaths now stands at 14 081.  Due in part to the high utilization of testing capacities, experts assume that there is a large number of undetected infections. In some places, there is a strong reporting delay. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Feb 22)

New COVID rules – this applies as of Wednesday in Baden-Württemberg
By March 20, most of the “strict” COVID measures will rescind in three steps nationwide. In B-W, the first relaxation phase will begin earlier, on Wednesday, February 23.  According to Minister President Winfried Kretschmann, 

“Relaxations yes, but not hastily, not with a big bang, but gradually and conditioned – coupled to the number of admissions to our hospitals and intensive care units,” summarizes the Green politician.  This is what will apply in Baden-Württemberg as of Wednesday:  Private area: Contact restrictions for vaccinated and recovered in private will be dropped.  Retail access restrictions will be reduced from 2G to 3G.  

For catering, restaurant visits, cultural and leisure events and trade fairs, the 3G rule will also apply from Wednesday instead of the 2G rule. Even the unvaccinated will then have access again with a current test.   Indoor events will be allowed 6000 spectators, outdoor 25 000.   These regulations also apply to indoor carnival events.  Events and parades would be able to take place again this year, as long as they are manageable and controllable, On Thursday (February 24), the high phase of the Carnival season begins with the “Schmotzigen Dunschtig”. For one week the carnivalista celebrate their customs. In addition to the 3G rule, FFP2 masks will be mandatory at the carnival meetings.   

The mask obligation still applies generally in public closed areas. Persons from 18 years must wear a FFP2 or comparable mask.  For vaccinated and recovered persons there are still no restrictions at private meetings and celebrations.  For the unvaccinated, in the future a household may meet with ten people instead of only two, whereby the vaccinated, recovered and children up to 13 years of age are not counted.  So far, the so-called alert level I applies in B-W. The thresholds for reaching this level will now be raised; the number of Corona-infected people who come to a normal ward in a clinic within a week and per 100,000 inhabitants.  Beginning Wednesday, the alert level will then go into effect at a hospitalization incidence of four or 250 COVID patients in intensive care units.  The alert level goes into effect when there is a hospitalization incidence of 15 or 390 patients in intensive care units.  The current alert level II will be eliminated without replacement. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Feb 22)

When is workplace testing no longer mandatory?
Since November 24, 2021, the amended Infection Protection Act has been in force, which brought, among other things, the home office obligation and 3G regulation in the workplace. Since then, those who still work at the company must always show proof of vaccination, recovery or testing before entering the workplace. For unvaccinated individuals, that means taking a rapid test for each day of work. It’s no wonder, then, that many workers are eager to see the end of mandatory workplace testing. 

Mandatory testing, like most other COVID measures, is scheduled to end on March 19. Beginning March 20 (or then Monday, March 21), employees will be able to return to work without proof of testing.

The elimination of the measures has so far been linked to the situation in the hospitals. Only when the workload permits can the protective measures be dropped, according to the federal government. With regard to mandatory workplace testing, an extension of three months would be possible if the situation does not ease. For now, however, everything looks like 3G proof will no longer play a role in the workplace as of March 20. That being said, employers are left to continue to voluntarily offer home office to employees who are not required to work on the job. What will stay is mask requirement. Masks will still have to be worn on the job after March 20. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Feb 22)

Protest against COVID measures – Numerous demonstrators on the streets in Baden-Württemberg
Stuttgart – In the southwest, numerous opponents of the state’s COVID measures have  protested. At registered events, about 700 people met in Pforzheim, as the police reported on Monday evening on request. According to the information, there were initially no special incidents.  In Mannheim, about 200 people gathered at an unregistered demonstration, and there was also a registered protest with about 150 participants, police reported.  In Heidelberg, about 200 people protested against the Corona measures. Demonstrators also gathered in Ulm. In Stuttgart were about 240 demonstrators.  Already last weekend, thousands of critics had protested in the southwest, including in Reutlingen and Freiburg.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Feb 22)

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