Local news translated – Thursday, Feb 4, 2021

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

Daily Host Nation Update, Feb 4, 2021

14,211 new cases and 786 additional casualties
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) counts within one day 14,211 newly registered infections with the coronavirus and 786 new deaths related to the virus. Exactly one week ago, the RKI had recorded 17,553 new cases and 941 deaths. According to the RKI, this brought the total number of recorded corona deaths in Germany to 59,742, and the number of infections detected since the beginning to 2,252,001. The RKI puts the number of people recovered from a corona infection at around 1.991 million.(Robert Koch Institute, February 4)

Nationwide seven-day incidence continues to decline
The nationwide seven-day incidence has decreased again. According to current RKI data, it weakened on Wednesday from 82.9 to 80.7. However, the target of a case incidence of less than 50 new infections in the seven-day period per 100,000 inhabitants is not yet within reach for any federal state. In a national comparison, Thuringia remains the state with the highest seven-day incidence nationwide (148.4). It is followed by Saxony-Anhalt (122.9) and Brandenburg (106.2).(Robert Koch Institute, February 4)

Spahn urges relaxation before the end of the winter
Health Minister Jens Spahn is urging a relaxation of the Corona restrictions. “We can’t stay in this hard lockdown all winter,” he tells the newspapers of the “Funke Mediengruppe.” Society would “not stand it well.” In the event of relaxations, “in any case, it would be the turn of daycare centers and schools first,” Spahn elaborates. Whether the gradual easing will take place as early as Feb. 15 or later will be decided “next week,” Spahn stresses, referring to the federal-state conference on Feb. 10. (Funke Mediagruppe, February 4)

Protest against Corona restrictions – Demonstration with Motorcade caused disruption of traffic again
Stuttgart – On Wednesday, a motorcade drove again through the city with participants who protested against the current Corona restrictions. It is a repeat of the protest that took place just last week, a motorcade caused disruption of traffic accompanied by a “honking concert”. Around 5:30 p.m., the participants had gathered again at the Cannstatter Wasen (the fest ground area in Stuttgart Bad Cannstatt).  The route led from the Wasen area via Mercedesstrasse, Talstrasse and Benzstrasse onto the B14 and then onto the B10 towards Esslingen. According to a spokesman, there were traffic delays in the affected area in the early evening. After numerous complaints about the traffic chaos last week, the city of Stuttgart had agreed with the organizers on a route that should have had less potential for conflict.  The city also made it a requirement that participants stay in their cars at the start. Honking along the route was prohibited, however, it was not respected.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Feb 4)

Corona outbreak at Donau valley – 25 positive cases
Mühlheim an der Donau – A hiking trip by a group of 14 people, including a social gathering in a hut, has triggered a sharp rise in corona infections in Baden-Württemberg – and caused horror among politicians. The mayor of the town of Mühlheim an der Donau, Jörg Kaltenbach (CDU), said: “The hikers came from ten households. None of them followed the Corona rules, as we have now learned. In the process, participants have infected each other and later infected others. This must be severely punished!”  Their behavior was reckless. “We also know that individuals from this group who tested positive and were quarantined went to their workplaces and infected others.” Police are investigating, and the district attorney’s office is involved. “It’s no longer just about fines, but criminal offenses that need to be looked into.”  In Mühlheim, the seven-day incidence was nearly 1,000 at the end of last week, but has since dropped to around 500. In the Tuttlingen district – where Mühlheim an der Donau is located – the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week was 100.9 on Wednesday.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Feb 4)

Coronavirus in Baden-Württemberg – Retailers urge end to store closures
Retailers in the southwest are pressing for an end to the general store closures ahead of the next federal-state summit on Corona measures. “Retailers urgently need an opening perspective. Without that, it won’t work,” Sabine Hagmann, chief executive of the Baden-Württemberg trade association, “The current hard lockdown must not be continued without a clear opening perspective for retailers.” Sticking to the previous “sweeping and watering-can measures” beyond Feb. 14 would be incomprehensible, she said. The Federal and State governments plan to discuss their next steps in the Corona pandemic next Wednesday. The focus of the switching conference of the state premiers with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) is likely to be the question of whether the current hard lockdown with many closed stores and schools and daycare centers in emergency operation will be extended beyond Feb. 14. In the retail sector, only stores for daily needs such as supermarkets, drugstores and pharmacies are currently authorized to open.  The worst-case scenario would be that up to 12,000 business closures over the next two years due to corona could be expected..(Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Feb 4)

Non-Corona News

Stuttgart’s new Lord Mayor:  Frank Nopper takes oath of office today
The inauguration ceremony today is remarkable in two respects: First, the swearing-in takes place largely virtually due to the pandemic. Secondly, Frank Nopper is the first Stuttgart mayor who, until further notice, will have to act as an office administrator without voting rights.  The reasons are, as previously reported, several pending complaints against the OB election result of 29 November. At that time, the CDU politician was elected in the second round of voting with 42.3 percent to succeed Fritz Kuhn (Greens).  Nopper needs at least 31 votes of the 60 city councilors for his appointment as office administrator, however, the election is considered a formality. The ceremony will take place largely virtually due to the corona pandemic. The swearing-in ceremony will be preceded by a meeting, and with the municipal policy agenda, which will begin at 3:30 p.m, and at 6 p.m., Nopper’s inauguration will begin. Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) will be present via video, and Nopper’s first remarks after taking office are eagerly awaited. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Feb 4)

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