Local news translated – Monday, Feb 8, 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 8, 2021

Current data situation in Germany: 7269 new cases reported
The number of reported coronavirus infections in Germany has increased to 2,285,998. According to data from the state authorities evaluated by ntv.de, this means that 7269 new cases were added. The number of deaths related to infection rose by 185 to 61,565 Around 185,377 people are considered currently infected.

Fewer doctors’ offices are open on weekends, fewer people go to the doctor, and laboratories and health departments operate on a restricted schedule. However, weekly comparisons also show the current slowdown in case numbers. The current daily increase in new cases is well below the Sunday levels of seven days ago. (Ntv, February 7)

After Corona outbreak: hospitals announce halt to admissions
Following a Corona outbreak, the Calw clinics are no longer admitting patients as inpatients until further notice. Only emergency and initial outpatient care will continue to be provided on site, according to the Klinikenverbund Südwest. This is in response to the fact that 53 employees and ten patients tested positive for the coronavirus. Employees at the hospital site in Calw, who were on duty on Friday or Saturday, will therefore be placed in a so-called commuter quarantine. They are now only allowed to be at home or at their workplace if the test result is negative. Patients who are or were in the clinics as of Friday are also subject to a new general order issued by the city in Baden-Württemberg. The measures are intended to prevent further spread of the virus.

Data on the corona pandemic – More than 300,000 Baden-Württemberg residents had corona
The number of confirmed new Corona infections continues to decline. Baden-Württemberg has the second lowest 7-day incidence rate in Germany after Rhineland-Pfalz. With the exception of a few counties, such as Hohenlohekreis, case numbers are falling throughout the state. In the Stuttgart region, only the Esslingen district and the state capital are still above the 50 mark.

Meanwhile, another mark was broken over the weekend. More than 300,000 Corona infections have now been confirmed in Baden-Württemberg since the pandemic broke out. Across Germany, more than 2.2 million people are known to have been infected. The number of unreported cases is significantly higher, and is estimated to be four or five times higher.   The most important indicator is the number of new infections confirmed by laboratory test as a weekly average per 100,000 inhabitants (7-day incidence). The decline in incidence has continued after minor dips over the past few weekends to values of 76 (Germany) and 61 (Baden-Württemberg), respectively.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Feb 7)

Corona patient from Ludwigsburg – Mutated virus discovered in the Rems-Murr district
A patient who is currently being treated in the intensive care unit of the Rems-Murr Clinics, is affected by an infection with the variant B.1.1.7, i.e. the so-called British mutation, according to a statement by the Waiblingen District Office. In addition, the English variant of the virus has now also been detected in two earlier cases in Fellbach, it said. According to the authorities, the background to this is that samples from citizens who have already tested positive are now increasingly being tested for the variants.   “We are one of the last counties in Baden-Württemberg where the virus mutation has been detected,” said District Administrator Richard Sigel about the news, saying it was to be expected. “But we have prepared well and are well equipped, not least with our infection control center.” Marc Nickel, the managing director of Rems-Murr-Kliniken, also commented on the new discovery, saying that “due to increased sequencing” it was to be expected that more mutations would now be detected. It is an advantage that most of the therapeutic personnel of priority 1, have been vaccinated in the meantime.  “Through comprehensive antigen testing and immediate isolation” the risk of transmission to fellow patients and staff could be prevented at the hospital: “There are no category 1 contacts.”  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, February 8)

Pilot project in Böblingen – Free rapid tests for district residents
In the Böblingen district, residents can be tested for infection with the coronavirus free of charge. The Böblingen district office is launching a pilot project on Monday, February 8, which will last for one month. Twice a week, district residents will be entitled to a free rapid antigen test, which can be done at one of the five rapid test centers in the district. With the opening of the fifth test center in Leonberg on Monday and this free offer, the concept is now complete, explained District Administrator Roland Bernhard on Friday. “Test, test, test” is often proclaimed as a strategy to combat pandemics, but private individuals recently had to pay 29 euros for this examination.

From Saturday, February 6, the city of Reutlingen offers free rapid tests for all Reutlingen citizens: Three times a week there is the opportunity for testing in the city hall. “Since it will probably be several months before the general population can be vaccinated, the tests play an even more important role in containing the pandemic,” said Mayor Thomas Keck. He said he was particularly concerned that many people get tested before visiting elderly relatives. 

Böblingen County Commissioner Roland Bernhard agrees: “The offer of a quick test to find out what’s going on must be low-threshold. In the Böblingen district, this option will therefore be available from Monday at the rapid test centers in Holzgerlingen, Böblingen, Sindelfingen, Herrenberg and Leonberg. After making an appointment online, all district residents who are at least twelve years old could have themselves tested there without waiting; the result is available after about 20 minutes. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, February 7)

Altmaier against rapid relaxation of restrictions: “Figures are still too high”.
According to German Economics Minister Peter Altmaier, bringing down infection figures quickly must take absolute priority over easing the lockdown. “My advice as Federal Minister of Economics is that we do everything, but really everything, so that the numbers decrease faster,” Altmaier said in a political talk to the newspaper “Bild” with regard to the deliberations of the federal government and the states on Wednesday. Of course, “opening strategies” are also being worked on. At present, however, the “numbers are still too high to justify concrete steps right now.” The number of new infections is currently still twice as high as at the time when the lockdown was imposed. (Bild, February 8)

Retail calls for opening perspective even with incidence above 50
Ahead of the federal-state summit on Wednesday, the retail association HDE is calling for a gradual exit from the lockdown. “The closed retail companies need a realistic opening perspective as soon as possible. Otherwise, we will lose tens of thousands of stores,” warns HDE CEO Stefan Genth. The first steps should also be possible with an incidence of over 50. Stricter specifications for the number of customers or hygiene would be conceivable. An expert opinion commissioned by the HDE from the Employer’s Liability Insurance Association (BGHW) and the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) had found no increased incidence of infection among employees in the sector. “Clear proof that safe shopping is also possible for customers in the retail sector.”(Ntv, Feburary 8)

Non Corona News

Fire at Daimler plant
The fire department was called out to the Esslingen district of Mettingen on Sunday afternoon. After a fire in the foundry of the Daimler plant  was reported there.

The Esslingen fire department was deployed with a fire engine and 22 men to extinguish the fire. According to the police, the Daimler factory fire department was also on the scene. The cause and extent of the fire are not currently known. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, February 7)

Weather phenomenon over Europe
Not only in Stuttgart, the strange yellow-cloudy light was the number one topic of conversation on Saturday.  From the northeast of Spain over Lyon and the Côte d’Azur to Baden-Württemberg, the phenomenon could be seen in the sky. The reason was the sand from the Sahara, which was carried by the wind over the sea to Europe.

The Sahara dust also left millions of Spaniards in the east and northeast of the country amazed. In the early morning, a thin yellow-reddish layer already covered sidewalks and streets, cars and balconies. The regions affected included Valencia, the Balearic Islands with the vacation island of Mallorca, Catalonia and Aragon. Andorra was also bathed in the murky light.

In the Mediterranean cities of Alicante and Valencia, thousands of people took to the streets to take photos or pick up some desert dust to carry home, according to media reports. (Stuttgarter Zeitung, February 8)

NOTE:
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/