Local news translated – Friday, Jan 22, 2022

Daily Host Nation Update, January 22, 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.

Merkel threatens new border closures due to COVID

BERLIN/STUTTGART. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has dampened hopes that the Corona rules can be lifted quickly. A “third wave” must be prevented, she said. She also repeated her warning ahead of a meeting of EU leaders on Thursday evening that Germany would have to introduce border controls if neighboring countries did not take decisive action against the spread of the virus.

The Robert Koch Institute reported 20,398 new infections Thursday – nearly 5,000 fewer than a week ago. The seven-day incidence dropped to 119. In Eastern Europe, however, the numbers are rising again. In addition, virus mutations are spreading rapidly, especially in Portugal and Spain.

At the meeting of EU leaders in the evening, the States then decided to restrict non-essential travel. However, European borders should remain open for goods deliveries and commuters as much as possible.  Meanwhile, at a special session of the state parliament, Minister President Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) defended the planned gradual opening of daycare centers and elementary schools on Feb. 1. “Of course, the chancellor was not pleased with what we are doing now,” he said. Politically, it was not exactly the most favorable moment for the opening, he said. However, on the merits, he said, the gradual opening of schools is defensible.

Kretschmann also praised the state’s vaccination strategy. He said it was good that half of the vaccine supplied was being withheld for the second vaccination. In terms of the number of people who have received the second shot, Baden-Württemberg is statistically in first place – ahead of Bavaria. Not everything is running smoothly, yet. However, “the direction is right,” he said. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 22)

TÜBINGEN: INCIDENCE RATE BELOW 50

As the first county in Baden-Württemberg, Tübingen has again slipped below the incidence value of 50 for Corona infections. The number of infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days was 49.4, the state government announced Wednesday evening. In Baden-Württemberg, the incidence value is currently 98.4, the state health office said Wednesday. However, the policy goal is to push the number of new infections to 50 per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days – only then, it said, would health departments be able to track contacts in their entirety. This has been achieved in one of 44 urban and rural districts: In the district of Tübingen, the incidence value was 49.4. Decline For about two weeks already, the number of new Corona infections has been flattening out nationwide. The number of registered Corona infections in the state increased by 2351 cases compared to Tuesday’s report by the state health department. There were also 95 additional corona virus-related deaths reported. This means that 279 450 infections and 6418 deaths among infected persons have been registered in the Southwest since the beginning of the pandemic. As recovered 238 004 people are considered. (German Press Agency (DPA), Jan 22

 

Baden Wuerttemberg permits wearing the cheaper variation of surgical masks

Click here for more information about the new off-post mask requirements.

STUTTGART. The state of Baden-Württemberg will not follow the example of Bavaria, which has ordered a stricter mask requirement for stores, buses and trains and only allows the wearing of an FFP-2 or a mask with a comparably high protective effect there. Arne Braun, press spokesman at the Ministry of State, clarified in an interview that in Baden-Württemberg the wearing of so-called OP masks, which are far cheaper than FFP2 masks, will also be permitted in the areas in question.

The State of BW is thus following the decisions put forward by Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to which in the future will be no longer be authorized to wear cloth masks, but only so-called OP masks, FFP2 masks, KN95 or N95 masks in stores, trains and buses. Braun added, “We plan for our new Corona ordinance, and with it the expanded mask requirement, to go into effect on Saturday.” There is still uncertainty about when the Cabinet will decide whether to open elementary schools and daycare centers. That could be Wednesday or perhaps as early as Tuesday of next week, Braun said.

As for the mask requirement, Frank Eickmann, spokesman for the state pharmacists’ association, pointed to the higher protective effect of FFP2 and comparable masks. The OP masks, which are also permitted in the country and are known under the DIN standard 14683, are only anti-bacterial and do not protect the wearer from viruses. Better, he said, are partially filtering masks of the type FFP2, KN95, N95 from the United States or Canada, DS2 from Japan, but also P2 from Australia or New Zealand. “The demand for masks has increased significantly at pharmacies, but it is currently affordable” said Eickmann. An inquiry at pharmacies in Stuttgart showed on Thursday that FFP-2 masks were still in stock, and the costs are between 2.50 Euros to 4 Euros per piece.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 22)

 

Non-COVID related news:

Böblingen / Sindelfingen: Leibnizstraße completely closed

Correction: Leibnizstraße in Böblingen must be fully closed from Sunday, January 24 to probably Monday, March 1 at the level of the access road to the Smart company.

First, on Saturday, January 23, Leibnizstraße will be closed in preparation for the A81 expansion. Here the bridge must be rebuilt. The closure on Saturday will affect the Sindelfinger Straße exit ramp onto Leibnizstraße coming from Sindelfingen.

From Sunday, January 24, an access road to the new parking garage of the Smart company will be built and a pavement rehabilitation will be carried out on public traffic areas. Detours exist via Sindelfinger Straße – Friedrich-List-Straße – Stuttgarter Straße – Friedrich-Gerstlacher Straße in

the direction of “P+R-Parkplatz Goldberg” or via Friedrich-Gerstlacher-Straße – Stuttgarter Straße – Postplatz – Sindelfinger Straße in the direction of the city center, and are signposted. During the construction work, the P+R parking lot Goldberg can only be reached from the thermal bath intersection or coming from Sindelfingen. (BB.de, Jan 22)

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/