Host Nation Update, January 11
Coronavirus in Baden-Württemberg – Incidence jumps above the 300 level
Stuttgart – While the incidence in Baden-Württemberg continues to rise significantly, the numbers relevant for stricter Corona restrictions remained below the thresholds for the third day in a row. According to the State Health Office (LGA), the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care units decreased by 11 to 431 on Sunday. The figure thus remains below the important 450 mark. The hospitalization incidence remained at 2.6, well below the 6.0 figure relevant for alert level II, which indicates how many Corona-infected people are brought to a hospital within a week and per 100,000 inhabitants.
Should both figures remain below the limits of the currently valid alert level II for five consecutive days, it would actually be possible to relax the measures. For example, discotheques and clubs would then be allowed to reopen, and in several establishments the 2G-plus rule would fall.
However, the State Ministry already announced on Friday evening that the rules in force at alert level II would be extended “until further notice” on Tuesday because of the highly contagious Omikron variant. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 10)
Here’s an overview of the new Corona rules:
- “2G Plus” at restaurants. Access to restaurants will continue to be limited to those vaccinated and recovered(2G). In addition, either a daytime test or proof of a booster vaccination would be required to visit restaurants, pubs and other gastronomy/ food service establishments. Accordingly, the booster proof should be valid from the day of the booster vaccination. This expanded 2G-plus rule is to apply nationwide and go into effect in the short term regardless of seven-day incidence. This is already in effect in a number of states. For cultural and recreational institutions and large parts of the retail sector, the 2G rule will remain in place: i.e., one must provide proof of vaccination or recovery from a COVID 19 illness. Exceptions apply, for example, to people who cannot be vaccinated.
- Shorter quarantine periods. In the future, there will be simpler isolation and quarantine rules for people infected with COVID and contact persons. Accordingly, contact persons will be exempt from quarantine in the future if they have a booster vaccination, i.e., are boostered. The new exemption from quarantine will also apply to newly double-vaccinated and newly recovered persons – i.e. to contact persons whose illness or vaccination occurred less than three months ago.For all others, isolation or quarantine should generally end after ten days if they do not “free test” beforehand. This generally can be done after seven days if either a negative PCR or rapid antigen test can be shown. For students and children in child care services, quarantine as a contact person can end after just five days with a rapid PCR or antigen test. Exactly when the new rules will take effect is still unclear. The federal and state governments continue to call on people in the country to get vaccinated and especially to get booster shots against coronavirus. According to the resolution, all citizens who have received a primary and secondary vaccination should be given the opportunity to be boostered “in a timely manner.” The booster vaccination provides “the best immune protection against the Omikron variant,” it says. Another 30 million Corona vaccinations are expected to be administered by the end of January.
- FFP2 masks. The federal and state governments are calling on the public to wear FFP2 masks in enclosed spaces and when meeting other people. They are “particularly effective in preventing infection,” they say. Wearing FFP2 masks is strongly recommended when shopping and using public transportation
- Mandatory vaccination The federal and state governments continue to believe that mandatory vaccination is necessary to achieve a high vaccination rate.
- Home office. The federal and state governments are calling on employees and employers to “increase their use” of opportunities to work from home in the coming weeks.
- Private meetings. The public continues to be urged to significantly reduce private contact. The contact restrictions currently in place remain in place.
- Bars, pubs, discotheques. Here, the states want to pay special attention to compliance with the rules, because there “the risk of infection is particularly high due to direct contact, small distance and masks not worn continuously,” according to the statement. Clubs and discotheques indoors will remain closed until further notice, and dance events will continue to be prohibited. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 10)
Validity period to be shortened – Vaccination certificates for non-boostered will soon be invalidated faster
Berlin – The validity period of the Corona vaccination certificate shortens starting from 1 February for all those vaccinated who did not receive a booster, yet. This group of people should then be considered fully vaccinated for 270 days (only). Until now, the certificates were issued for one year. Therefore, the shortened period usually affects people who have been vaccinated twice but have not yet received the booster shot. With the new regulation, the Ministry of Health is implementing an EU requirement.
Shortly before Christmas, the Commission had decided in an expedited procedure that the recognition period of EU digital vaccination certificates for basic immunization would be set at 270 days (=9 months). For the time being, the questions remains open as to how long the vaccination certificates of booster vaccinations should now be valid. “For booster vaccinations, a maximum recognition period is not yet envisaged.” State Secretary Dittmar wrote in response to the parliamentary question. “The regulations are to be reviewed regularly in order to be able to react to new scientific findings if necessary.” (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 11)
Baden Wuerttemberg implements new quarantine rules to take effect Wednesday, 12 January
Stuttgart – the new quarantine rules agreed by the federal and State governments are to are to apply in B-W as of Wednesday, January 12.
The quarantine for contacts and the isolation for infected persons will be shortened so that important infrastructures do not collapse in the event of a rapid spread of the Omicron variant. Accordingly, contact persons no longer need to quarantine if they have a booster vaccination or are freshly double vaccinated or recovered. “Fresh” is considered to be up to three months. For all others, quarantine is to end after ten days, and after seven days, people can test out.
This Tuesday, the state will also issue a new Corona Ordinance, which will be adapted to the federal state resolutions. However, everything will essentially remain the same in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Up until now, it has only been recommended that FFP2 masks to be worn in closed rooms where masks are mandatory. In the new regulation, the wearing of FFP2 masks is to become mandatory. Corona alert level II will also remain in force in B-W until further notice. The stricter rules will continue to apply even if the number of hospital admissions and the occupancy of intensive care beds below the set limits. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 11)
Due to the rise of infection figures – the range of PCR tests is being extended in Stuttgart
After the end of the Christmas vacation and with rising seven-day incidence, the number of Corona tests is increasing again, especially the demand for PCR tests. In some places, capacities have to be expanded. Vaccination demand, on the other hand, has dropped significantly.
Unlike the vaccination outpatient clinic at Schleyerhalle (Bad Cannstatt), the large testing center that Joerg Wertenauer operates at the Wasen is enjoying growing demand. Due to “many positive rapid tests,” 950 PCR tests were collected on Friday at the Wasen. The opening hours of the facility have already been extended, and in the course of the week, rapid testing will be discontinued in favor of more PCR tests. The “15minutetest.de” test center in the Bosch areais also “well frequented” at the moment. There, too they are seeing a significant increase i8n prescribed PCR tests. In the week before Christmas, almost 10,000 PCR tests were performed and were reported to the city, presumably so that those concerned could start their vacation travel. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 11)
Stuttgart Events 2022 – What Stuttgart has in store for 2022:
Stuttgart – No one can reliably say when the COVID pandemic will end. And yet: Stuttgart’s citizens can also expect exciting cultural and sporting events this year, which will hopefully not fall victim to the virus. In addition, the starting signal is given for several major municipal projects. In regards to leisure and culture, various events are on the program for 2022.
In January/February, for example, the planetarium will celebrate the 450th birthday of the famous astronomer and mathematician Johannes Kepler, who was born in Weil der Stadt. From January 14 to February 26, there will be an interactive exhibition by the Kepler Society and the University of Stuttgart at “Haus der Wirtschaft” and the planetarium will show “Mit Kepler ins All” (“With Kepler into Space”).
The city library will celebrate its tenth anniversary at Mailänder Platz on September 22 – with a one-year delay due to the pandemic – with artistic, dance and musical programs, hopefully with an audience.
From September 24 to October 3, the historic Stuttgart’s Volksfest (Folk Festival) is to be held on Schlossplatz for the first time in four years – at the same time as the Cannstatter Wasen at Bad Cannstatt. The sporting highlight for 2022 will probably be cycling: the final stage of the Tour of Germany, Germany’s most important road cycling race, will once again be held in the region. The grand finale with the finish in Stuttgart will take place on August 28 in downtown Stuttgart and will be accompanied by the so-called Everyman Race and an extensive supporting program.
A new addition to the city’s program is the city sports event “Gymnastics Meets Beach Volleyball”: for five days in June, the Schlossplatz will be transformed into a huge urban exercise area. Beach volleyball courts, climbing and balancing courses, and a mini trampoline will attract spectators and participants.
In Stuttgart, data will be collected on population figures and housing, for example. In spring 2022, Botnang, Hedelfingen, Kaltental and Obertürkheim will celebrate their incorporation 100 years ago with a big ceremony. From November 16 to 23, there will once again be the Stuttgart Mobility Week with a car-free Sunday and events across the city on topics such as cycling and walking, car sharing or electro-mobility. By far the biggest event this year is likely to be the “Katholikentag” (Day of catholic believers). Tens of thousands of believers are expected in the city center from May 25 to 29. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 10)
New supermarket in Ostfildern – Shopping like a short vacation to the Orient
Ostfildern – “Bazar” offers Turkish, Arabic and Persian specialties. In addition to vegetables and fruit, canned goods, exotic spices, dairy products, fresh baked goods and beverages are sold on 350 square meters. In the back of the store, there is a meat counter and a fish counter. There are even cosmetics and cleaning products in packaging that is strange to German eyes. “Our products are products that are not available in normal discount stores,” says Reza Safaei Anaraki, the owner. The products at “Bazar” come from the couple’s homeland, from Lebanon or Egypt, but mainly from Turkey, for two reasons. First, Turkish goods are simply easier to obtain, and second, people of Turkish origin make up the majority of the clientele.. The majority of “Bazar” customers have foreign roots, but “we are increasingly trying to appeal to German customers as well.” To this end, Reza Safaei Anaraki and Shirin Safari want to offer recipes, as well as small tours of the store, during which they provide information about the assortment. He smiles. “We like to bring some color to the table.” (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 11)