Local news translated – Jan 6, 2021

Daily Host Nation Update January 6, 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.

“Things will get even worse”

Intensive care physician Uwe Janssens has criticized the measures taken by the federal and state governments. Talking about the current pandemic situation with ntv presenters Daniel Schüler and Doro Steitz, he said they are not real tightening measures, but only recommendations. “It is to be feared that it will get worse. If you’ve seen the pictures and you imagine how much contact there was with each other during Christmas, and if you add to that the mutant from England, which is much more infectious, then we have a much bigger problem.” To any critics of the lockdown measures, Janssen said, “Look at the U.K., this is the result of a policy that ignored this for a long time.” There is a “really big concern about a mutated virus,” Bavaria’s Minister President Markus Söder said after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s consultations with the heads of state governments in Berlin. The situation “remains serious” and the numbers “very high,” Söder said. There was “no possibility of sounding the all-clear.” (Ntv, January 6)

Click & Collect to be permitted again during lockdown

The state government in Baden-Württemberg wants to extend the duration of the lockdown. However, according to government spokesman Rudi Hoogvliet, the government will once again allow retail stores to offer so-called Click & Collect services again starting next week. Customers are able to order goods online or by phone, arrange a pick-up appointment and pick up the goods themselves. “This free space can generate at least a small amount of sales during the lockdown,” said the president of the Association of Chambers of Industry and Commerce, Wolfgang Grenke. Hagmann of the trade association described the extension of the lockdown as a whole as “really catastrophic.” The longer it lasts, he said, the more permanent store closures can be expected – in the worst case, around 12,000 in the next two years. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, January 5)

Deutsche Bahn to cancel long-distance services as of January 7

Deutsche Bahn has announced that it will reduce its long-distance service in light of the intensified lockdown. “From January 7, DB will provide its passengers with around 85 percent of the normal range of seats until further notice,” the group announced. “For all those who now have to travel, this ensures a reliable transport service with sufficient capacity for spacing and space on board our trains.” As in the spring and fall of last year, there will be adjustments to the service, the railroad said. For example, amplifier trains as well as international traffic would be reduced in consultation with the European partner railroads, and in some cases only one train section would be used instead of two. (Ntv, January 5)

Police measures to restrict day-trip excursions working

After the recent rush to the excursion areas in the southwest, the situation on Epiphany initially remained calm. “The measures are working, there are a lot of forces in action,” said a spokesman for the Offenburg police headquarters at noon on Wednesday. The traffic volume in the northern Black Forest is significantly lower. There are traffic jams mainly at the closures. After the Christmas holidays and last weekend, numerous motorists had flocked to the excursion areas in the Black Forest and the Swabian Alb. Many people crowded onto sledding slopes and winter hiking trails. Appeals from politicians and police to stop driving to crowded areas because of the Corona pandemic have so far mostly gone unheeded. (Swr, January 6)

Germany has vaccinated 317,000 people so far

In Germany, 316,962 people have been registered as vaccinated, reports the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). On Jan 6, there were 44,563 additional vaccinations. Quite a few federal states want to ramp up the number of their vaccinations only in the course of the week. According to the RKI figures, the strongest increase was in Bavaria. The highest vaccination rate (per 1,000 inhabitants) continues to be in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, and the lowest in Lower Saxony. (Robert Koch Institute, January 5)

Finance Minister confident in providing necessary aid

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz is not worried about financing measures in view of the tightened Corona course. “We can provide the aid that is necessary,” the SPD chancellor candidate said on ARD’s “Morgenmagazin,” adding, “We can keep this up for a long time.” In the past, he said, people had “managed well.” That is why it is now possible to take out loans to finance the current measures, he said. According to current calculations, Germany will have a lower national debt after the Corona crisis than after the financial crisis following the collapse of U.S. bank Lehman Brothers. (Handelsblatt, January 6)

Lockdown restrictions difficult to supervise

The new restrictions on freedom of movement in the Corona crisis are at best difficult to control, according to the German Police Union. “The police can only carry out spot checks, not blanket checks,” said Rainer Wendt, the union’s national chairman. People already abide by many rules, he said. “But for restrictions to work, there needs to be deterrent fines.” (Stern, January 6)

Non Corona News

Police building smeared with paint           

Stuttgart – Activists from the presumably left-wing political spectrum smeared red paint on a building of the State Protection Department of the Criminal Investigation Department in the Fasanenhof district of Stuttgart on the weekend. The perpetrators posted a video of the action on the Internet. On it, black hooded figures can be seen writing “No friend and helper” and “Fight class justice” and throwing red paint bags at the building. A police spokesman confirmed the incident. In a kind of confessional letter on the net, the suspects behind the attack show solidarity with suspects who are said to have attacked representatives of the employee representation Zentrum Automobil in May on the fringes of a Corona demonstration. They are probably representatives of the left-wing scene. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, January 5)

Researchers find microplastics in mussels

Scientists at the University of Bayreuth have detected microplastics in commonly consumed mussels. According to the researchers, this is a worldwide problem. The small plastic particles were found in all the mussel samples examined, Martin Löder of Bayreuth University announced. Mussel samples from the North Atlantic and the South Pacific were the most contaminated. Vast amounts of plastic waste end up in the sea. Mussels filter the water and thus also absorb tiny plastic particles. According to the researchers, they examined the contamination of the European blue mussel, the green mussel, the wavy carpet mussel and the Pacific clam in twelve countries. All 45 mussels had been purchased in grocery stores, it said. They come from aquaculture and wild catches from the North Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, South Pacific Ocean, South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, January 5)