Daily Host Nation Stories July 30, 2020
Outbreaks in all states of the Federal Republic of Germany
The outbreak has spread across all federal states. No state reports zero new cases, only five states report single-digit increases: Saarland (plus 4), Hamburg and Thuringia (plus 5), Saxony (plus 7) and Brandenburg (plus 9). The leader in new infections is North Rhine-Westphalia (plus 225), followed by Bavaria (plus 112), Berlin (plus 79) and Baden-Württemberg (plus 77). (Ntv, July 30)
Over 700 new infections in Germany
The federal states report more than 700 new infections within one day. In the seven-day average for new infections, Germany is thus again above 600 cases per day. This is higher than the peak during the outbreak at the Tönnies meat factory and overall the highest level since the end of May. According to calculations by ntv.de, 207,206 people have been infected with the Sars-CoV-2 virus since the beginning of the corona crisis. 9132 died from it. That is 739 new infections and four more deaths than the day before. 190,989 people have now recovered, 7085 are acutely infected. (Spiegel, July 30)
Büsum wants to introduce mandatory masks in pedestrian zones
Passers-by in the North Sea resort of Büsum in the Dithmarschen district will in future be required to wear masks in the pedestrian zone. The new hygiene concept will probably come into force at the weekend, as Mayor Hans-Jürgen Lütje (FWB) told NDR radio. The reason for this is that the minimum distance in the pedestrian zone required by the Corona rules cannot be maintained in some cases. (Ndr, July 30)
Twelve people become infected following a family celebration
After a family celebration in the Hagenow area of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, twelve people are now infected with the coronavirus. This was announced by a spokesperson for the Ludwigslust-Parchim district. Of the twelve cases, eleven were in the district and one in Schwerin. Approximately 200 contact people are in quarantine, and further tests are planned for the course of the day. According to the “Schweriner Volkszeitung” newspaper, the outbreak was caused by a baby welcoming party with more than 35 people in a small town near Hagenow. The party had initially taken place in the open air. But because of bad weather, the party continued in a garage. According to the newspaper, one of the infected was a staff member of the employment agency in Hagenow. It was completely closed until further notice, according to the employment center’s website. (Ntv, July 30)
Stuttgart Mayor Kuhn disappointed by news of troop withdrawals
Stuttgart’s Lord Mayor Fritz Kuhn commented on Wednesday, July 29, on statements from the US Department of Defense regarding the planned withdrawal of troops from the Stuttgart area: “As Lord Mayor of the State capital Stuttgart, I’m disappointed by the proposed withdrawal of troops as announced on Wednesday. Stuttgart has always maintained good relations with U.S. soldiers, civilian employees and their families. We must now wait and see what exactly this will mean for the locations of U.S. troops in Stuttgart and the region and over what period of time. With its decision, the U.S. administration under President Trump is headlong terminating the close cooperation that has developed over decades in a punitive action against an ally and without consensus in the U.S. Congress. It is still unclear whether Congress will oppose this withdrawal of troops until November, when presidential elections are held in the USA.” (Press Release, State Capital Stuttgart, July 29)
A headquarters and 12,000 soldiers may leave
In June, the USA had announced its intention to withdraw thousands of soldiers from Germany. Now the plans are becoming more concrete: According to Secretary of Defense Esper, the Stuttgart area is most affected. The plans for the withdrawal of troops from Germany announced by the US government are becoming more concrete. According to US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, a total of 11,900 soldiers currently stationed in Germany are to be transferred. The partial withdrawal should be implemented “as quickly as possible”.
Esper said he had had a “good talk” with Federal Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on the subject last week. Some aspects could be implemented within weeks, for other changes more time was needed. Esper did not present an exact timetable for the withdrawal.
EUCOM Headquarters will be Mons instead of Stuttgart. The Stuttgart region was “most affected” by the withdrawal, said Esper. The European headquarters of the US Armed Forces will be moved from the state capital of Baden-Wuerttemberg to Mons in Belgium, said the commander of the US Armed Forces in Europe, Tod Wolters. Mons is already home to Shape (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe), the military headquarters of NATO. The command for the US special forces in Europe should also move from Stuttgart to Mons. It is also possible that Africom, the headquarters for US military operations in Africa, which is also located in Stuttgart, will be moved to another location.
According to SWR radio, other locations in Germany will be affected by the withdrawal of troops: Vilseck and Grafenwöhr in Bavaria, and the US Air Force base at Spangdahlem in the Eifel.
Most of the withdrawn soldiers are to return to the USA. Almost 5600 soldiers are to be transferred to other NATO states such as Italy, Belgium and – provided that appropriate agreements are reached – Poland and the Baltic states. About 6400 soldiers are to return to the USA. This will increase the “strategic flexibility” of the US forces, Esper said. Last month, after a meeting with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda in Washington, US President Donald Trump had announced that part of the US troops could be stationed in Poland in the future. Trump did not, however, come forward with any concrete proposals. (Ard Tagesschau, July 30)
First heat wave of the year is on its way
Plenty of sun, blue skies and temperatures of up to 36 degrees in Stuttgart – in the coming days until the weekend meteorologists expect the “first real heat wave of the year”. For the first time, temperatures will rise well above the 30 degree mark on several days in a row, predicts Paul Dilger, meteorologist at the German Weather Service (DWD) in Stuttgart. From Friday and Saturday at the latest, hot air will start to pour in from southern Europe. Especially in the southwest it will be very hot.
Wednesday will remain rain-free throughout Baden-Württemberg, temperatures are predicted to climb up to 23 degrees in the higher mountain regions and up to 29 degrees on the southern Upper Rhine. It is expected to become even warmer by the weekend.
The risk of thunderstorms then increases during the night to Sunday. “Already in the afternoon there could be first heat storms. These could also be single strong thunderstorms, which is to be expected in this heat”, says weather expert Dilger. However, it would not be possible to say exactly what will happen days in advance.
“From Sunday onwards, a cooling down is in sight. It will be significantly cooler again and temperatures will drop below the 30 degree mark”, the DWD meteorologist reports. The weather will be much more changeable and temperatures will slip to 27 degrees.
Numerous holiday construction sites in Stuttgart
With the start of the BW holidays, the time of road construction begins in Stuttgart. The Schwabtunnel between Stuttgart-West and Stuttgart-South will be closed, as well as the B14 road after the Berger Tunnel is closed out of town, and there are also disruptions on Heilbronner Strasse and around the train station in the coming days. Work is being carried out at a total of 25 locations throughout the city.
During the past years, the civil engineering office of the city of Stuttgart expects about 20 percent less traffic on the roads during the long holidays. That is why these six weeks during the summer vacation time have always been used for years to carry out necessary constructions. The reduced traffic will eliminate the very load that causes traffic jams at peak times, according to the city. This year it could even look a little better: Because the 20 percent drop in traffic has already occurred before the holidays – a consequence of the Corona crisis. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 30)
Traffic lighter this summer holidays because of COVID
During times of COVID everything is different, the safety recipe for the summer holidays is: travel in a private car, and stay at a holiday apartment, preferably in your own country. So what does this mean for traffic on the Autobahns? Experts give the all-clear. Neither the Auto Club Europa (ACE) nor the ADAC expect mega-jams. The peak of the travel season is “as quiet as never before,” according to the ADAC.
ADAC expects 20 percent less traffic than on the comparable days of previous years. According to ARD Deutschlandtrend, 51 percent of Germans are not planning a holiday trip this summer. Which is not to say that the traffic cannot increase in some places. The car clubs are expecting traffic jams this weekend in the greater Berlin, Hamburg, Rhine-Ruhr, Rhine-Main, Stuttgart and Munich areas, among others, and on several Autobahns, including the A 5, A 6, A 7, A 8 and A 81.
In popular holiday regions, the roads can get crowded. In the Alps, for example, residents have been annoyed for years by the avalanches of cars, especially at weekends, when half of Munich is on the road to the local mountains. This summer, the problem is particularly high due to the rush of holidaymakers from other German States and the flocks of day trippers who have stayed at home. Last Saturday, annoyed local residents, who are bothered by the flood of traffic, blocked the busy Bundesstrasse 11 in Wallgau (district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen) for an hour. Further demonstrations are planned in Grainau, Kochel, Murnau and in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Those who do not want to get caught up in the traffic jams can also take the train: From Munich it goes directly to the North Sea to Norddeich Mole as well as to the Baltic seaside resort Binz. An ICE train also takes passengers from Berlin to Innsbruck in the mountains. As of this Friday, it will also be possible to travel from Stuttgart to Rügen without changing trains. Even if the crowds on board the ICE are increasing, there is still room. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 30)
Two fake police officers arrested
The police arrested two men who allegedly pretended to be police officers and cheated elderly people out of their savings. The 24 and 25-year-old men are accused of professional criminal gang fraud, the public prosecutor’s office in Heidelberg announced on Thursday. The men were remanded in custody.
According to the investigations, in at least two cases they had persuaded senior citizens to hand over large sums of money to them. According to the report, they got away with around 30,000 euros in Neckargemünd (Rhine-Neckar district) and Ehingen (Alb-Donau district). The suspected perpetrators claimed to be on the trail of burglars, which is why they had to get the money of the seniors to safety. Investigations into other parties involved in the fraud scheme are continuing. (Canstatter Zeitung, July 30)