Daily Host Nation Update January 5, 2021
Germany is currently under strict lockdown restrictions (to include curfews) until January 10.
Click here for details on how the Baden-Württemberg ordinance impacts the USAG Stuttgart community.
RKI reports 944 new virus deaths
Public health departments have reported 11,897 new Corona infections to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) within one day. In addition, 944 new deaths were recorded, the RKI announced. This means that a total of 35,518 people in Germany have died from or with the virus. Interpretation of the new reporting data remains difficult because Corona cases were detected, recorded and transmitted with a delay around Christmas and new year. (Robert Koch Institute, January 5)
Retail winners and losers in crisis year
Online and mail-order retailers were among the beneficiaries of the Corona crisis, with sales up 24 percent. Many other retailers, however, were caught cold, with trade in textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods slumping 21.1 percent from January to November. Overall, German retailers increased their sales last year by 5.3 percent, as estimated by the Federal Statistical Office. That’s the strongest increase since these statistics began in 1994 and the eleventh straight year of gains. “These estimates take into account the lockdown in the second half of December and retail sales for January to November 2020,” it said. (Handelsblatt, January 5)
Calls for home-based rapid testing availability
The Greens want to achieve that German citizens are allowed to test themselves for the coronavirus in the future. This week, the parliamentary group in the Bundestag is proposing to allow the distribution of rapid antigen tests in pharmacies to private individuals for “regular self-testing.” To this end, the Greens want the federal government to immediately amend the dispensing ordinance for medical devices. So far, only medical or trained personnel are allowed to purchase and perform antigen tests. (Ntv, January 5)
Germany discusses joint vaccine production with Russia
According to Kremlin sources, Russia’s head of state Vladimir Putin has discussed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel the possibility of joint production of Corona vaccines. In a telephone conversation, the president and the chancellor discussed “issues of cooperation in the fight against the Corona pandemic,” the Kremlin said. One focus was “the possible prospects of joint vaccine production,” it added. Accordingly, the health ministries of both countries and specialists are to continue talks on this.(Ntv, January 5)
Survey reveals where people feel the safest
According to a survey, how safe people feel from contracting Corona varies enormously. For example, 70 percent of respondents said they felt well or very well protected in doctors’ offices or hospitals. In contrast, only 20 percent of participants felt this way about public transportation. According to information from Monday, two-thirds were also convinced of the contagion protection in pubs and restaurants, which had closed first in the course of the pandemic measures.
In retail, slightly more than half of respondents feel protected from infection. While more than half of those surveyed felt safe in drugstores, bookstores and, above all, pharmacies (86 percent), less than 50 percent felt safe in department stores, textile retailers, supermarkets, grocery stores and discount stores.
Limiting the number of customers gives a sense of security. From the respondents’ point of view, the main factor contributing to a high level of safety from Corona infection is that there are not too many customers in a store. This was stated by 85 percent of respondents, followed by particularly wide aisles (77 percent) and the behavior of store employees (76 percent). On the other hand, shelf lanes with a one-way system (58 percent) or disinfectant spray for shopping carts (66 percent) were considered less effective. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, January 5)
Corona restriction violations in Böblingen
Several guests unsuccessfully hid from the police after an unauthorized celebration in Böblingen. Previously, the officers had received a tip that several partying people in the household of a family had violated applicable corona rules. The officers could also observe this through a window of the apartment, as a spokeswoman for the authority said on Tuesday. During the subsequent check, it turned out that in addition to the four family members, seven male guests from six households were also in the apartment, she said. “The police officers broke up the gathering of the predominantly non-compliant individuals,” the authorities said. The revelers now face charges for violating the Corona ordinance. Per person can be due between 100 and 500 euros.(Stuttgarter Nachrichten, January 5)
Non Corona News
Assault and attempted robbery on the S-Bahn
According to officials, a woman on the S1 train from Stuttgart to Esslingen was allegedly approached by a man who demanded money from her several times. When the 32-year-old did not comply with his demands, he allegedly hit her abruptly. The injured party reported the incident to the police at a later date. In particular, the evaluation of the video sequences of the S-Bahn are currently the subject of investigation. Information about the incident can be obtained from the Federal Police by calling 0711/870350. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, January 5)
Dangerous trap set for mountain bikers
In the past few days, unknown perpetrators have stretched a nylon rope across the roadway of a designated mountain bike trail in Weinheim (Rhein-Neckar district). Fortunately, walkers discovered the rope and removed it. The police are looking for witnesses. The rope was tightly knotted to the railings at the end of the steep descent coming from Oberkunzenbach. The witnesses cut and removed the rope before calling the police, who are now looking for further witnesses. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, January 5)
Local relief for Croatian earthquake victims
Croatia was hit by a severe earthquake in the last days of last year. In particular, the district hospital in the affected region was severely damaged and had to be completely evacuated. This also affected ventilated Covid patients. There is a close partnership between the Croatian Fire Brigades Association and some fire departments in Baden-Württemberg. Through this contact, the call for help from the Croatian fire department also reached the district fire department association in the Böblingen district, which took part in a relief delivery put together at short notice with mouth/nose protection masks, disposable bed blankets and disinfectant. Firefighters’ clothing and equipment, including a power generator and a fire truck, were also donated. The relief supplies were received by the Gärtringen fire department on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, loaded and taken to the state collection center in Bad Krozingen. Donations came from many fire departments in the Böblingen district as well as from the district itself (fire departments Aidlingen, Altdorf, Holzgerlingen, Gärtringen, Gäufelden, Herrenberg-Gültstein, Leonberg, Sindelfingen, Weil im Schönbuch, Weil der Stadt). There were short-term appeals for donations from the fire departments via social media, which brought further relief supplies that could also be passed on via the transport. In addition to the protective equipment, this included clothing and shoes, hygiene articles, medicines, baby food and other foodstuffs. A total of around 50 firefighters and their families were involved in this relief operation, which was organized at short notice. (BBheute, January 5)