Local news translated – Thursday, Jan 28, 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, January 28, 2021

Incidence in Germany below 100 for the first time in three months
The seven-day incidence for the spread of corona virus in Germany is below the 100 mark for the first time in three months. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the value dropped to 98 today. The last time the seven-day incidence – the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within this period – was below 100 was on October 29. The seven-day incidence is a key federal and state benchmark for imposing and relaxing Corona restrictions. The federal government’s goal is to push it below 50. The last time the value was below 50 was Oct. 20. The previous high was 197.6 on Dec. 22. (Robert Koch Institute, January 28)

Berlin wants to start its own vaccine production
Berlin wants to be the first German state to start its own vaccine production. “Berlin is ready to help with vaccine production,” said Health Senator Dilek Kalayci during the current affairs hour in the House of Representatives. The pharmaceutical company Berlin-Chemie, based in Adlershof, is ready to set up vaccine production in Berlin, the Senate administration wrote on Twitter. “I think this is good news, said the SPD politician. (Ntv, January 28)

Health Minister Spahn expects vaccine shortage to last “at least another ten weeks”.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) expects vaccine supply shortages in Germany to last longer and asks for patience in the debate. “Because we are still going through at least ten tough weeks with the vaccine shortage,” he wrote on Twitter, alluding to deliveries by Biontech-Pfizer, Moderna and Astrazeneca.(Aerzteblatt, January 28)

Interior Ministry confirms preparation of entry bans
A spokesman for the German Interior Ministry confirms plans to prepare entry bans for travelers from Great Britain, Brazil and South Africa. A corresponding bill is currently being coordinated in the federal government, says a spokesman. The background is that highly contagious virus mutations have been detected in these countries. The federal government had warned of a spread also in Germany. It is conceivable that there could also be entry bans for other countries in which virus mutations have already spread more widely. (Stern, January 28)

Coronavirus in Europe

Scientists call for Europe-wide plan
A group of scientists is calling for a Corona action plan for Europe, criticizing current measures to contain the pandemic as inadequate. “A clear plan for immediate coordinated action across Europe and rapid establishment of public health measures must be formulated, as new variants with increased infectivity are likely to continue to emerge,” the paper, published in the British journal The Lancet, states.

Travel should be restricted
The scientists call for improvements to teleworking Also, “small, stable social bubbles” and stable groups at home and work should be favored over constantly changing contacts. Travel within states and across national borders should be reduced to the bare minimum, the scientists said. Testing and quarantine should be required of cross-border travelers, testing 24 hours before travel and seven to 10 days after travel. The EU has just urged the German government to exercise restraint in its planned travel restrictions. The EU Commission has also recommended against non-essential travel, said Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson. “But I also think that we should not take too drastic measures.”

FDP advocates for more testing
The German government is currently planning entry bans for countries with a high incidence of the mutated coronavirus variants. According to German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, these would initially affect Great Britain, South Africa, Brazil and the EU country Portugal. However, other countries could be added depending on developments. In Seehofer’s view, there should only be exceptions to entry for Germans and people who work in freight transport. Meanwhile, FDP leader Christian Lindner argued against restricting air travel and against general entry bans from countries with a high prevalence of Corona mutants. “Instead, we need rigorous enforcement of mandatory testing,” Lindner told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland.

“This already exists today, but it is not sufficiently controlled.”
The scientists led by Priesemann, Brinkmann and Peichl also call for free testing at schools and workplaces to detect outbreaks early and protect people. Testing capacity should be increased to meet demand, they say, and surveillance of wastewater should be used to detect local outbreaks.

Finally, more swabs should be tested for the new SARS-CoV-2 variants. Protection and support for the elderly and vulnerable groups would also need to be improved. (Ntv, January 28)

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