Local news translated – Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021

Germany is currently under strict lockdown restrictions, which include curfews.
Click here for details on how the Baden-Württemberg ordinance affects the USAG Stuttgart community.

Daily Host Nation Update, Feb 23, 2021

Discussions on easing of restrictions
In a discussion with other CDU leaders on Monday, Feb 22, Chancellor Angela Merkel said she envisions easing measures in “bundles” comprised of three areas; personal contacts, schools and sports groups and restaurants and cultural establishments. These re-openings, according to Merkel, must be combined with increased testing. Spokespersons cautioned, however, that the increasing proportion of virus mutation cases, currently between 20 and 25% (12.7% in Stuttgart), complicates the re-opening.

A working group with the head of the federal Chancellery and the state chancelleries will prepare a concept for discussion at the next Chancellor and Minister Presidents Conference on Mar 3. Plans currently under discussion foresee re-opening stores on Mar 7, in areas where the 7-D-I has been below 35 for three consecutive days. In interviews with Stuttgart journalists, Berlin’s Governing Mayor and current president of the Minister Presidents Conference Michael Müller (SPD) said that an R-value significantly under 1.0 and lower patient numbers in ICUs would be important criteria for re-opening. North-Rhine-Westphalia Minister President and head of the CDU Party Armin Laschet disagrees, saying that tying the re-opening to an incidence rate is too binding and that “rigid automatism” is not helpful. The conference on Mar 3 will also discuss the proposal from Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) to begin free rapid testing for the public on Mar 1. That plan is now delayed pending a conference decision. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten Feb 22)
 
Baden-Württemberg discuss easing of restrictions
B-W Minister President Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) has tasked B-W government staffers to develop a concept paper for re-opening florists, garden shops, and garden markets in March, potentially at the same time as barbershops and hair salons. The B-W Cabinet is expected to discuss the concept paper in its meeting today. According to a B-W spokesperson, B-W is coordinating closely with its neighboring states, where Bavaria plans to re-open gardening stores on Mar 1, Hessen has already re-opened similar stores, and Rheinland-Pfalz has not yet decided. The step is being discussed as a way to avoid “gardening tourism.” The concept paper is reportedly not finished yet and is waiting on finalization of the accompanying mitigation plans, for example, how many customers can be in a store or garden shop at once. (SWR, Feb 23)

Corona values in the southwest rise slightly again
The seven-day incidence in the southwest moves away again in small steps from the politically targeted 35 mark. On Monday (as of 4 p.m.), it stated 44.8 new infections within a week per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the state health office. On Sunday, the value of 44.0 had been slightly below that of Saturday with 44.3.  However, this may also be related to the fact that fewer tests are carried out at the weekend.

After the past Minister Presidents’ Conference, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) had spoken of the fact that, for example, the retail trade could reopen from a stable incidence value of less than 35 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants. 

 According to Monday’s data, it was now 118.9 again in the Schwäbisch Hall district, with the lowest value of 19.7 in the Ostalbkreis district. Since the pandemic began about a year ago, 311,485 infections with the Corona virus have been reported in Baden-Württemberg, 387 more than the previous day.

The number of deaths with or from Sars-CoV-2 increased by 32 to 7956. 290,392 infected people are considered recovered (up 598); however, this is an estimate.  414,803 people in Baden-Württemberg were vaccinated for the first time with one of the Corona vaccines, according to the data. That was 8,144 more than the previous day. According to the data, 213,932 people received a second vaccination.  According to the intensive care registry of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (Divi), 249 Covid 19 patients were in intensive care units in Baden-Württemberg on Monday, 146 of whom were receiving artificial respiration. Of 2446 available intensive care beds, about 83 percent were occupied. These are also used for patients who do not have Corona. However, the free capacities are considered an important indicator of the burden or resources of the healthcare system. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Feb 22)

Non-Coronal related news

Several injured in accident on A8 – route completely closed at times
Pforzheim – After a rear-end collision that injured four, the Autobahn 8 near Pforzheim was closed for several hours. According to police on Tuesday, a truck driver had overlooked the end of a traffic jam on Monday evening and crashed his tractor-trailer into a van in front. This was pushed by the force of the impact into a car, which in turn collided with another truck. The driver of the van, as well as the female driver and a passenger in the car, suffered serious injuries. The driver in the truck in front suffered minor injuries. Police estimate the total damage to the vehicles at around 150,000 euros

Initially, the A8 in the direction of Stuttgart was fully closed. However, after just four and a half hours, the Autobahn was opened again. On Monday evening, the police had not yet given any details about the accident, but spoke of a field of wreckage. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Feb 22)

For additional host nation news, please visit the below English language websites:

https://www.dw.com/en/top-stories/germany/s-1432
https://www.welt.de/english-news/