Local news translated, July 23

Daily Host Nation Stories July 23, 2020

Experts call for test centers at airports

The President of the German Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt, has spoken out in favour of setting up corona test centres at airports. “The Corona pandemic is not yet over,” Reinhardt said. “Anyone coming back from a corona hotspot should get tested,” said the medical president. This is only a snapshot, he said. But it is important to interrupt the chains of infection as early as possible. (Ntv, July 23)

More than 2000 infections found at Tönnies factory

More than 2000 cases of infection have now been confirmed at the Tönnies meat processing plant. “According to current information, the responsible authorities have so far assigned a total of 2119 cases to the outbreak at Tönnies”, North Rhine-Westphalia’s Minister of Health Karl-Josef Laumann told the newspaper “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”. A connection is possible for another 67 cases. Laumann also repeated his view that the temporary closure of the Tönnies plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrück was not the best solution. (Focus, July 23)

Negative results for mass corona testing

Stuttgart – After the big test for the corona virus on Saturday in a high-rise complex in the Freiberg district, the city of Stuttgart announced the results on Wednesday: All swabs were negative. “We can give the all-clear,” said the city’s spokesman, Sven Matis. More than half of the approximately 400 residents had taken advantage of the voluntary offer to be tested. The head of the city’s health department, Stefan Ehehalt, expressed “relief” at the result. “It was important to get a picture of the infection,” said Ehehalt. The reason for the mass testing followed positive test results for six people living in the complex. Doctors commissioned by the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians in Baden-Württemberg, accompanied by a team from the German Red Cross, went from apartment to apartment on Saturday to offer the swab test. The deputy chairman of the board of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, Johannes Fechner, praised above all the cooperation of all those involved. He also expressed his delight “at the results now available”. as detected early. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 22)

“Porkstack” as slaughterhouses are unable to find buyers

German pig farmers are still having problems finding buyers for their animals due to a lack of slaughterhouse capacity. Every week more pigs reached slaughter-readiness, but could not be slaughtered as planned, the managing director of the Interest Group of German Pig Farmers (ISN), Torsten Staack, told the newspaper “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”. “So we are currently building up even more surpluses. The bottom line is that we are currently talking about around 400,000 pigs that are still virtually on hold. Farmers that own animals have been faced with major problems since the Tönnies slaughterhouse in Rheda-Wiedenbrück had to be closed due to a large-scale corona outbreak among the workforce. Before the closure, 25,000 pigs were slaughtered there daily. Other slaughterhouses are also currently not operating at 100 percent capacity, according to a report in the “NOZ”. The situation remains tense, Staack told the newspaper. (Ntv, July 23)

Breitenauer Lake closed until further notice due to several violations of Corona Regulation

Obersulm – Due to numerous violations of the Corona Ordinances last weekend, Lake Breitenau in the Heilbronn district will be closed until further notice.

According to police reports, the Breitenauer See was completely overflowed last weekend. Many visitors did not comply with the Corona regulations, which apply to bathing lakes without controlled access – such as the Breitenauer See. Especially in the bathing area and in the queues in front of the sanitary facilities, the kiosk and the boat rental, many swimmers disregarded the rules of distance and the obligation to wear masks. According to the police, in such crowds the measures can no longer be enforced and controlled – even with the support of the police enforcement service. A regulation of the number of visitors by means of access controls was also not possible due to the local conditions.

The affected communities of Löwenstein and Obersulm therefore obtained the medical assessment of the health department of the Heilbronn district office. The latter came to the conclusion that there is a high risk of infection in this large crowd of people without sufficient distance, and therefore the health department recommended that Lake Breitenau be closed as of Friday, 24 July 2020. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 22)

Contact tracking data being used by the police

In Bavaria, the police have found a new way to access data for criminal investigations: By using Corona guest lists created by inns, restaurants or beer gardens. “Citizens rightly expect the police to do everything within the framework of the legal system to protect them and not to sit back and do nothing under the guise of a misunderstood data protection law,” defends CSU Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann, defending the procedure, which has gone down badly with the opposition. The situation is different in Baden-Württemberg: Here, the data of the guests recorded during the restaurant visit and stored for four weeks, may not be used by the police for criminal prosecution purposes. The Baden-Württemberg Hotel and Restaurant Association warns that if the data were to be used beyond contact tracking, this would be “not helpful” for the trust of guests, says Dehoga Managing Director Tobias Zwiener. The entire industry could then be pilloried because Corona has made the population even more sensitive to data protection issues. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 23)

Non-Corona news

Fire at restaurant in Sindelfingen

Sindelfingen – A fire in a restaurant in Sindelfingen (Böblingen district) triggered a major fire brigade operation on Wednesday evening. Since the restaurant is located in a seven-story apartment building, more than 100 residents had to be evacuated in addition to the 60 guests, according to police reports on Thursday. According to police, an open flame barbecue caused the fire. A gathering point was set up for the evacuees in the area of the bus station in Sindelfingen. The injured were examined at another collection point. Three slightly injured people with smoke poisoning were registered. After the building was ventilated, all residents were able to return to their apartments during the night. According to initial estimates by the police, the resulting property damage amounts to approximately 100,000 euros. (Stuttgarter Zeitung, July 23)

Parking fees for Hohenheim campus starting in autumn

Construction work has been underway on the campus of the University of Hohenheim since Monday: The Parkraumgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg (PBW) has started work on parking space management at several locations, which the state government decided on in March 2018. From autumn onwards, fees will then apply to around 1400 parking spaces on the Plieningen campus. Preparations for the installation of appropriate parking barriers are currently underway, among other things, on Filderhauptstraße at the entrance to the experimental station and on the car park on Otto-Sander-Straße, where parts of the parking area have already been blocked off.

However, the situation for residents is likely to become problematic if motorists avoid the paid parking spaces and switch to the neighboring residential areas instead. “These areas will be flooded by parkers, which is unfortunately unavoidable,” says the PBW managing director, Gebhard Hruby. He sees the only solution to this as the introduction of a residents’ parking system: then only those who live on Birkacher and Plieninger streets will be allowed to park. “The people in charge have been informed, that’s probably how it will be,” says Hruby, who expects an organizational lead time of about a year. Permits would probably start in 2022, which will leave 2021 an unpleasant transition year for residents. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 23)

Ryanair closing locations in Germany

Europe’s largest low-cost airline Ryanair wants to close its base at Hahn Airport in the Hunsrück region of Germany on November 1. The locations in Berlin-Tegel and in Weeze in North Rhine-Westphalia are also threatened with closure before winter, the Ryanair subsidiary Malta Air announced in an internal letter on Tuesday, which was submitted to the German Press Agency in London. In this letter, the airline also speaks of a considerable personnel surplus for other locations.

According to VC information, up to 170 pilots are threatened with terminations. The pilots at Hahn would get their notice this week, Malta-Air personnel manager Shane Carty announced. The airline did not want to comment further on its internal letter. The pandemic has hit the airlines worldwide hard and led to massive job cuts in some cases. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 22)

Strobl continues to fight Diesel driving bans

Stuttgart – Minister of the Interior Thomas Strobl (CDU) does not want to give in to the dispute over the driving bans for Euro-5 diesel in Stuttgart. In a letter to Transportation Minister Winfried Hermann (Greens), he demands that further action be taken against this. “In my view, the driving ban is not proportionate and we, as the State government, must exhaust all legal means at our disposal to prevent this from happening again,” the letter, which has been submitted to the German Press Agency, states.

The State is defending itself against a 2017 ruling imposing driving bans with a so-called “non-enforcement action”. An emergency petition, with which the government wanted to obtain a postponement until a decision on the defense suit has been made, was unsuccessful. It is now the supreme duty to remedy the shortcomings in the application pointed out by the judges, to collect the necessary data and to present it again to the court, Strobl wrote. The court had clearly shown that driving bans were avoidable.

Formally, the driving ban has been in force since 1 July.

After the rejection of the emergency appeal, Hermann had stressed that all legal possibilities had been exhausted until the decision on the defensive action had been made. Strobl sees things differently and points to good half-yearly values for pollution levels. He “expressly” asks Hermann to ensure that the corresponding expert opinion for the current and coming year is updated promptly “and that we can therefore file a new application for temporary suspension of enforcement before 30 September 2020”. Hermann had previously written to Strobl asking him to instruct the police not to impose fines for driving violations until then. Strobl’s letter is the answer to this. Formally, the driving ban has been in force since July 1, but in fact it has not yet been enforced, as not all the necessary signs have been put up yet. If the signposting is completed before September 30th, the police will merely warn of any violations. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 23)

Ritter Sport’s “square” remains a protected trademark

Karlsruhe – Ritter Sport remains the only square chocolate on German supermarket shelves. The traditional manufacturer from Waldenbuch near Stuttgart may continue to have the characteristic packaging shape protected as a trademark. This was decided by the Federal High Court (BGH) in Karlsruhe on Thursday in the last instance. Milka’s competitors had tried for ten years to overturn the monopoly – in the end in vain. (Ref. I ZB 42/19 and others) It seems a bit absurd, but a trademark cannot claim protection whenever it consists exclusively of a shape “which gives substantial value to the product”. This is not the case for the judges at Ritter Sport. The consumer sees the packaging as an indication of the origin of the chocolate and thus has quality expectations. However, the shape has no artistic value and does not lead to price differences. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 23)