Daily Host Nation Update January 12, 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.
Rough start for German students using online learning portals following winter vacation
The important digital learning platform “Moodle” was constantly interrupted in sound and vision, yesterday. Numerous teachers and parents complained via the short message service Twitter. Moodle, used by half of the 4,500 schools in the country and has 600,000 users, was particularly affected; however, that was not the only problem. In view of the morning rush, the server capacities were not sufficient. The ministry calculated that only 200 schools were affected, and promised a quick remedy. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 12)
Biontech plans to produce more vaccines in 2021 than initially planned.
In view of new variants of the corona virus, investigations need to be increased to determine the exact type. Laboratories will have to transmit results of so-called sequencing to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in the future, according to a draft decree of the Federal Ministry of Health. In such analyses, the genetic material of the pathogen is deciphered, and can then be compared with databases. Under certain conditions, the Mainz-based company Biontech and its U.S. partner Pfizer plan to produce two billion doses of their Corona vaccine this year according to documents Biontech filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that became public on Monday. Previously, the companies had planned for 1.3 billion doses. The targeted increase is conditional on further improvements and expansions at existing sites, as well as the availability of additional suppliers and contractors for manufacturing. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 12)
Curevac study: vaccine completely protects lungs
TÜBINGEN: Studies on rhesus monkeys have demonstrated the high efficacy of the company’s own vaccine candidate CVnCoV, according to the Tübingen-based biotech company Curevac. In the study, the primates were vaccinated twice within 28 days with a dose of eight micrograms of CVnCoV each, the company now announced. They were protected from the virus after exposure infection with SARS-CoV-2, it said. The animals had shown reduced viral load in the upper respiratory tract (nose and throat) and the lower respiratory tract (lungs) was fully protected, he said. “In this area, the virus was not detectable,” The CVnCoV vaccine is based on mRNA, like the Biontech/Pfizer and Moderna products already approved in the EU. The material for the clinical trials will be provided in Tübingen. To enable broad-based production of CVnCoV for potential commercial supply, its manufacturing capacity is currently expanded across Europe, according to Curevac. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 12)
Travelers returning to Germany must now get tested
STUTTGART. Anyone coming to Baden-Württemberg from risk areas outside Germany must not only go into quarantine, but from now on must also be tested. The testing obligation for travelers has been in effect since Monday, according to the Ministry of Social Affairs. The state government refers to a decision of the Chancellor with the Minister Presidents from January 5. Those affected must be tested either within 48 hours before arrival or immediately after entry. For those entering from risk areas, a ten-day quarantine obligation continues to apply. Those who wish to end self-isolation early can have a Corona test done on the fifth day after return at the earliest. If the result is negative, the quarantine requirement ends. There are exceptions to the quarantine and testing requirement. For example, transients or border commuters are exempt. Those who were ill with coronavirus, and have recovered will be exempt from quarantine in the future – but only if the infection occurred at least 21 days and no more than six months ago at the time of entry and if they are currently symptom-free. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 12)
Non-Corona related news:
Farewell for Stuttgart’s Lord Mayor Kuhn conducted virtually
In a virtual ceremony, Minister President Kretschmann paid tribute to Stuttgart’s Green Party mayor, who left office. The Corona pandemic makes the farewell very small, even as farewell of a Lord Mayor after eight years in office in Stuttgart. On Monday, the city officially said goodbye to Fritz Kuhn (Greens). Only a dozen people were at the City Hall. The other 700 invited guests of honor sat at home and watched the livestream at 6 p.m. on the Internet. Attendees and speakers were Minister President Kretschmann, the Deputy mayor Fabian Mayer (CDU), Kuhn and his wife Waltraud .the Gee Hye Lee music trio, and a few more employees. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 12)