Local news translated – Wednesday, Feb 25, 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 25, 2021

European authorities investigate ‘ghost vaccines’
Europol and the EU anti-corruption agency OLAF are investigating so-called ghost vaccines, according to information from the EU Commission. In recent weeks, individual EU governments had repeatedly been offered vaccine doses in a volume of more than 400 million units worth three billion euros. It is unclear whether the doses actually existed or were only faked deliveries. (Ntv, February 25)

Baden-Württemberg tightens quarantine rules
Because the more contagious mutations of the coronavirus are spreading quickly, Baden-Württemberg is tightening quarantine rules. Contact persons of someone with a mutated version of the virus must in future quarantine for 14 instead of ten days in isolation, as announced by the Ministry of State. This also applies to members of the household of the infected person and contact persons of infected persons with a virus mutation. Students can only be exempted from the fifth day – as soon as it is certain that the person who tested positive is not infected with a novel virus variant.

Test strategy expanded
The B-W Government announced yesterday, Feb 24, that it will release an additional three million rapid antigen tests from its reserves to communities in the state. The three million tests are in addition to the seven million previously released earmarked for teachers and childcare givers.

The program, which extends to Mar 31, will allow communities to offer free tests to emergency services personnel, persons in contact with vulnerable groups – such as those caring for high-risk family members, persons who have an elevated risk in their private or professional environments, schoolchildren and their parents, youth services workers, and election campaign workers. The strategy foresees federal approval soon for a nationwide roll out of free tests for the public and of federal guidelines for the use of self-tests. The German Federal Institute for Pharmaceuticals and Medical Products (BfArM) yesterday granted special approval for three models of self-test that people can administer themselves at home.  (B-W/Tageschau, February 24)

Digital Vaccination Pass
The digital vaccination pass is proving to be controversial, because of the potential for discrimination in access to services, events, etc. against persons who have not yet been vaccinated. While most locations record the vaccination in a yellow international vaccination certificate, Zollernalb County in B-W issued over 400 digital vaccination passes in a single week. The plastic credit card-sized cards are printed with a unique QR-code and show the date of the first and second vaccinations and the type of vaccine used. Zollernalb County also stamps people’s yellow certificate, and the codes issued to vaccinated individuals are not centrally stored. (SWR, February 25)

Coronavirus in Baden-Württemberg – Economics Minister demands opening concept for retail trade
Stuttgart -Baden-Württemberg’s Economics Minister Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut (CDU) is calling on the federal and state governments next week to agree on a transparent corona rule that will allow retailers to reopen across the board. “We need a reliable opening concept for all sectors that is appropriate to the infection situation,” the CDU politician told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur. “The Conference of Minister Presidents must determine next Wednesday under what conditions retailers may reopen and when.”

Retailers are vehemently demanding an opening perspective for their industry. “The situation is dramatic and is becoming more dramatic every day,” complained the chief executive of the trade association, Sabine Hagmann, on Wednesday. The trade and the city centers are currently suffering from lockdown with the closure of restaurants and many retail stores. The federal government and the states had recently extended the lockdown again until March 7. In Baden-Württemberg, however, at least hairdressers, garden centers, garden markets and flower stores may reopen next week. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Feb 25)

Corona protest in Stuttgart–Another motorcade in Stuttgart
The Stuttgart Administrative Court had ruled that the route of the motorcade had to go through northern districts of the city. Because of expected traffic problems, they rejected the extension of the route to include the main station. This paid off in the evening. Around 7:30 p.m., the motorcade in Wernerstrasse in Feuerbach was over, according to a police spokeswoman. The operation went “with no special incidents”. However, the participants did not fully comply with the ban on honking. However, altogether, it was calmer than the last protests. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Feb 25)

Non-Corona related news: 

Edeka recalls packaged ground meat
Among others in Baden-Württemberg, Edeka Südwest is recalling two types of packaged ground/minced meat. The minced meat, which may have plastic parts in the packages, had been sold at Edeka and Marktkauf. 

According to the information, the products “Hofglück” minced meat mixed (400 grams, consumption date 25 February) and Edeka Bio Bioland minced meat mixed (400 grams, consumption date 26 February), each with the lot number 21049, were affected. Other consumption dates or articles of the brands were not affected. Customers who purchased a corresponding item should not eat it and return it to the store. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, February 25)

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