Local news translated – Monday, Mar 1, 2021

Germany is currently under strict lockdown restrictions, which include curfews.
Click here for details on how the Baden-Württemberg ordinance affects the USAG Stuttgart community.

Daily Host Nation Update, Mar 1, 2021

RKI reports value of 65.8 – seven-day incidence continues to rise
Health authorities in Germany have reported 4732 new infections with coronavirus to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) within one day. In addition, 60 more deaths were recorded within 24 hours. This is according to figures from the RKI. Exactly one week ago, the RKI had recorded 4369 new infections and 62 new deaths within one day. On Monday, the case numbers reported by the RKI are usually lower, partly because less testing is done on the weekend.

According to the RKI, the number of new infections reported within seven days per 100,000 inhabitants (seven-day incidence) was 65.8 nationwide on Monday morning – higher than the previous day (63.8). Four weeks ago, on February 1, the incidence had been 91. Its previous high had been reached on December 22 with 197.6. (Robert Koch Institute, March 1)

Stuttgart closes daycare facilities
The state capital announced the closure of two more daycare centers on Sunday with an “urgent suspicion” of the British virus variant B.1.1.7, which is considered more infectious.

By Friday, three daycare centers in Stuttgart had been closed. One had been attended by two infected children, and in each of the other two, a daycare worker was infected. A two-week quarantine is in effect for staff and household members of those infected. Further testing is currently underway, the city said.

Since the first week of February, a total of six daycare centers in the city have thus been affected by cases with a variant of the virus of concern. In one of the affected daycare centers, there were a total of 13 subsequent cases, and in another, nine subsequent cases have already been recorded.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, March 1)

Hundreds violate Corona rules in Stuttgart: throwing bottles and stones at police
According to police, several hundred mainly young people met in downtown Stuttgart on Saturday and violated Corona rules. The people had gathered in the evening in the area of Schlossplatz – a large number of them did not observe distance rules and did not wear mouth-nose protection, according to a police spokesman on Sunday.

Because the ban on gathering and alcohol had been violated, the police asked the people to leave. According to the police, several people became aggressive and chants were formed against the operation. Several bottles and stones were thrown in the direction of the officers, as the police said on Sunday. One officer is said to have been hit by an object on the helmet, but he remained uninjured. 

The young people then walked away in small groups and tore down construction site equipment, flower buckets, rental bikes as well as trash cans, police added. The crowd dispersed near the main train station. Around 10 p.m., everything was calm again. (Swr, March 1)

These Corona rules apply to hairdressers and garden markets
The Baden-Württemberg state government has updated its Corona regulations for the opening of garden markets and hairdressers with the observance of strict hygiene and distance rules.

Starting today, March 1, numerous hair salons, flower stores and garden markets in Baden-Württemberg can expect customers again after being closed for weeks during the pandemic. This was decided by the state government in its cabinet meeting last Tuesday. The amended Corona Ordinance was published on Saturday night, according to a spokesman for the Baden-Württemberg state government.

Registration is required for any visits to the hairdresser. In addition, no beard shaves are to be made, it is said, because this is only possible without wearing a medical mask. Permitted, however, are the hair washing, cutting, coloring and blow-drying.

Flower stores, nurseries and landscape stores will be allowed to sell plants and accessories for gardening again in the future. However, product areas must be separated according to the ordinance. If the permitted proportion of goods in a store is at least 60 percent, mixed assortments may also be offered. However, the number of customers per sales area will be limited.

Coronatests for personal use – In Tübingen, students use the cotton swab themselves
Tübingen – There’s always a bit of excitement, says Ralf Mergenthaler, as he takes the cotton swab out of its foil at his desk in the classroom. In he goes, twisting a few times, and then he slides it into the tube with the buffer solution. “It’s extremely easy,” says the 16-year-old high school student from Tübingen, looking like a pro at corona swabbing. “This is the second time I’ve done it,” he says, “It’s a privilege to be able to test here.” 

At Tübingen’s Geschwister Scholl School, students have been practicing for weeks what the entire country is preparing for: containing the corona virus with do-it-yourself rapid tests. Not only do the teachers swab themselves twice a week, but also around 300 students in the final classes upon prior instruction. This is a novelty in Baden-Württemberg, as the government has so far only relied on rapid tests for staff – and according to the Ministry of Education, these are to be carried out in a cumbersome manner at pharmacies or doctors. 

For principal Martin Schall, a return to face-to-face teaching with self-tests, distance and masks is the right way to go: “The fear of infection is great,” says the 51-year-old, who knows how much security a negative result conveys. “Testing is the be-all and end-all for opening up,” Schall says, meanwhile it is as normal for the students as washing their hands regularly. 

For city hall leader Boris Palmer, it’s clear: “We have to offer our children a perspective.” This is the reason why the Green politician is stepping on the gas with the self-tests and is annoyed that the state is once again taking much longer with everything – starting with the procurement of the new nasal tests. They can be used without any problems for personal use after a brief instruction and cost only a few euros. Palmer and Federle ordered 200,000 tests for stock and asked other cities if they were interested. The response was enormous, and a number of municipalities are now using the Tübingen supplies.  After a few minutes, the test result of Ralf Mergenthaler’s swab is displayed. “One smear, so it’s negative,” he says, looking forward to his art lessons. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Mar 1)

More than 6.1 million vaccine doses administered in Germany
The number of Covid 19 vaccine doses administered in Germany has risen to more than 6.1 million. This is according to the current vaccination rate monitoring of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). According to this, the rate of first vaccinations is now 4.9 percent, and the rate of second vaccinations is 2.5 percent – this corresponds to more than 2.09 million fully vaccinated persons. (Ntv, March 1)

Altmaier considers relaxations possible despite incidence of over 50
German Economics Minister Peter Altmaier wants to roll back Corona restrictions even if infection numbers are higher. “Above an incidence of 50 infections per 100,000 inhabitants of a federal state, a district or an independent city, relaxations are permissible if they are justifiable in individual cases in conjunction with additional protective measures,” reads a paper by the CDU politician. Among other things, rapid tests are mentioned as an additional measure. “Achieving a general nationwide or regional incidence of 35 or below is not considered necessary at this time, subject to the additional safeguard measures.” (Ntv, March 1)

For additional host nation news, please visit the below English language websites:

https://www.dw.com/en/top-stories/germany/s-1432
https://www.welt.de/english-news/