Local news translated, July 16

Daily Host Nation Stories July 16, 2020

Recent infections coming from returning travelers

According to a press release of the district administration office, ten of 23 actively infected citizens in the district of Böblingen are currently due to citizens returning from travel outside of Germany. “At the moment we have four corona infected people from Serbia and three from Kosovo in the district of Böblingen,” says Thomas Wagner, head of the department for traffic and order. There is one case of infection each from travel returnees from the USA, Spain (Mallorca) and Indonesia. A complete list of countries with an increased risk of infection can be found on the website of the Robert Koch Institute.

“In order to prevent a second wave, we urgently recommend postponing travel to risk areas,” says Thomas Wagner. Anyone who has spent their holiday in a risk area must go into 14-day quarantine after returning home. Failure to comply with the quarantine could result in a fine under the country’s Corona Ordinance. Returnees from these risk areas should contact the public order office of their place of residence. If there is any suspicion, the Corona hotline of the public health department (telephone 0 70 31/663-3500) can be reached Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. (Kreiszeitung Boeblinger Bote, July 16)

Progress in the search for Corona vaccine

In the race for a corona vaccine, the United States has taken a step forward. An experimental drug developed by the US biotech company Moderna shows encouraging results, according to a study. According to the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is involved in the study, in the first phase of clinical tests the volunteers developed antibodies against the Sars-CoV-2 pathogen. The 45 participants, aged between 18 and 55 years, did not experience any serious side effects, it was said. The tests will now be conducted on a larger scale.

A vaccine is considered to be an essential component against the corona pandemic. Experts around the world are conducting research on it. According to the World Health Organization, more than 20 agents are currently being tested in clinical trials on humans. In some of them it has been shown that test persons develop antibodies against Sars-CoV-2 after vaccination. It is unclear whether a vaccinated person is then actually immune to infections with the Corona virus. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 16)

Lessons from Corona Testing “Early and targeted testing is important”

The risk of dying of a corona infection in Germany is currently much lower than in other countries. Why has pandemic control in Germany been so successful so far? Stefan Brockmann, corona expert of the State Health Office, talks about the lessons learned from the corona crisis. Germany has come through the corona crisis comparatively well so far – which is certainly the cause of envy in other countries. For example, the British daily “Guardian” reported that the risk of dying from a corona infection is ten times lower in Germany than in Great Britain. However, what are the reasons for this? Stefan Brockmann, 57, is head of the Health Protection and Epidemiology Department at the State Health Office in Stuttgart. In this function, he directs the response of the public health service in the southwest to the corona virus. His special field is epidemiology – and hence the spread and control of infections. In an interview, he talks about how the local health authorities were positioned during the corona crisis – and how major infections can be contained in future. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 14)

Corona App slowly develops its effect

After a long lead time and a series of delays, the German government presented the German Corona Warning App on June 16 with a lot of fanfare. At that time, the focus was on attracting as many users as possible by emphasizing the exemplary character of the app in terms of data protection law. The software, whose programming was published, does not create movement profiles, but uses Bluetooth to measure the distances to other mobile phones on which the app is installed. If such an encounter with a distance of less than two meters lasted longer than 15 minutes, smartphone owners are informed retroactively when one of the users feeds his own corona infection into the system at a later date. So far, this concept has been successful. One month after its release, the App has already been downloaded 15.8 million times. It is impossible to say how many device owners have finally activated the software for reasons of privacy, but experts assume a high percentage because of the simple operation. The number of downloads corresponds to a share of 19 percent of the population – even if some of this must certainly be deducted because of the non-use. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 16)

Controversy: Entering stores without masks due to health reasons

The obligation to wear masks is controversial for some citizens. For some people wearing a mask is not advisable because of health reasons or a disability. “We are receiving more and more complaints from people who can’t wear a mask who have been harassed or have not been allowed into shops,” says the head of the office, Susanne Belz. Simone Fischer, the city’s commissioner for the disabled, has also received similar calls for help. Meanwhile, one man always carries his certificate visibly in his breast pouch, Fischer reports. Apparently, not everyone is aware of the fact that there are still exceptions to the mandatory wearing of masks. Above all, large shops and department stores insist on wearing masks, when entering. A  72-year-old woman from Stuttgart who tried to shop at Breuninger’s was denied survice despite the fact that she has a neurologist’s certificate. The Stuttgart-born woman complained to customer service. In the reply, Breuninger’s defended the general obligation to wear masks as justified with the responsibility for customers and employees. The aim was to keep the potential risk of infection as low as possible. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 16)

Non-Corona related news:

Böblingen: Tübinger Straße will be closed

The city of Böblingen will carry out necessary sewer/drainage works at Tübinger Straße. For this purpose, Tübinger Straße between the intersection of Parkstraße/Tübinger Straße and Mönchweg must be fully closed. The closure is located at the level of the junction of Maurener Weg and will last from Monday, July 20 to presumably Friday, August 14, 2020. The measure must take place during this period so that it can be completed before the start of the Elbenplatz reconstruction, according to a press release issued by the city. A diversion from Tübinger Straße via Berliner Straße – Steinbeisstraße to Parkstraße and vice versa will be signposted. The pedestrian traffic light at the junction of Maurener Weg / Tübinger Straße will be omitted. A passage to the crossing at the district administration office (crossing Parkstraße/Tübinger Straße) is guaranteed. During the closing time, the city transport line 701 cannot approach the stops Stettiner Straße and Parkstraße (in both directions). Alternatively, the stops Berliner Straße and Steinbeisstraße will be served.

Comet “Neowise” can be observed in the night sky

Until the end of July, the Comet “C/2020 F3 Neowise” can be observed in the night sky. On July 23, it will be closest to earth at a distance of 103 million kilometers. Comets are regarded as remnants of the formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago.  They consist of ice, dust and stone. The sun has now thawed the comet ice of “Neowise”. Gas eruptions from the surface have carried dust out into space, forming the long tail. Astronomers have calculated that “C/2020 F3 Neowise” will probably not fly past the Earth again until 8845. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 15)