Local news translated – Wednesday, Mar 10, 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 10, 2021

Coronavirus in Stuttgart – Will incidence rate soon rise to 200?
n the Stuttgart health department, there is growing concern that the state capital is currently heading rapidly into the third wave of corona. While the public is mainly debating rapid tests and further relaxation, the current development of the Corona pandemic fades into the background. Incidence values could be soon reached that have not yet been experienced even in the second wave.

On Tuesday, the State Health Office reported 71 new infections for Stuttgart and a seven-day incidence of 70.8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Two weeks ago, the figure was just over 30 cases. Stefan Ehehalt, head of the health department, is concerned that “currently 36 percent of all reported infections are due to a mutated virus. and that trend continues to rise.

The desire for more contacts and further openings, the increased risk of infection, all leads to a sped up spread of the virus, he said. “According to realistic forecasts, a seven-day incidence of 200 is possible in Stuttgart in the second half of April,” Ehehalt said. The previous peak in the second wave in mid-December was 170 cases. However, “the actual development is already more serious than this forecast,” he said. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Mar 10)

Telework extended
Employers in Germany will be called upon to allow their employees to work from home until at least the end of April. The cabinet approves an extension of the January regulation, which would have expired on March 15. It says: “In the case of office work or comparable activities, the employer must offer employees the opportunity to carry out these activities in their homes if there are no compelling operational reasons to the contrary.” Home office is an important element in reducing contacts and limiting the pandemic, Heil explains. (Ntv, March 10)

Travel industry calls for quarantine obligation to be lifted
The travel industry is calling on the German government to reach targeted agreements with key travel countries to enable safe tourism during the pandemic. This has not yet happened, criticizes the president of the German Travel Association (DRV), Norbert Fiebig, on ZDF. Clear perspectives are now necessary for the industry, which is “really on its last legs”. This also includes an abolition of the quarantine obligation, which keeps many people from booking, he said. “Corona test instead of house arrest,” Fiebig demands. The reluctance to book is currently “still relatively high”.(ZDF, March 10)

The testing pace pays off in the Böblingen District
In the south of Stuttgart, in the districts of Böblingen and Tübingen, people are not despondent and are not delaying anything. Thanks to a practical mobile vaccination strategy, the incidence rate in the Böblingen district was pushed to a record low. When the federal government announced nationwide testing in March, five testing centers had long been in operation in the Böblingen district. One of the secrets of Böblingen District Administrator Roland Bernhard, apart from his drive, organizational talent and steadfastness, is simply him not belonging to any Government party. Having more independent politicians on the committees is therefore a lesson that can be learned. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Mar 10)

Laboratories fear decreasing interest in PCR testing
Accredited laboratories in Germany warn that the expanded testing strategy – especially rapid tests for self-testing – could cause fewer PCR tests being done in the future. All must know their responsibility that the strategy will only be successful if “all positive antigen tests are confirmed by a SARS-CoV-2 PCR,” said Jan Kramer, vice president of the Association of Accredited Laboratories in Medicine (ALM), according to a statement. That’s because it’s the only way laboratories can “continue to retest for the mutations of concern.” The share of mutation B.1.1.7 in positive tests is currently 54 percent, according to ALM. ( Ntv, March 10)

From “Rock am Ring” to “Hurricane”: Seven open-air festivals canceled
“Rock am Ring” and “Rock im Park” are cancelled again this year due to the Corona crisis. The decision to cancel a total of seven major open-air festivals in Germany and Switzerland was made because of the ongoing pandemic, the organizer network Eventim Live announced. Canceled are also the “Hurricane Festival” and “Southside”.(Ntv, March 10)

Nationwide 72 regions above Merkel’s 100 “emergency brake”
For the time being, there is no basis for prompt and extensive opening steps for many German regions in view of the current seven-day incidence: of the 412 regions reported by the Robert Koch Institute (these include the counties, independent cities and the Berlin districts), 72 (previous day: 71) exceed the 100 mark described by Chancellor Merkel as the “emergency brake” – they are far from the relaxation agreed at the federal-state consultations. According to the latest RKI data, of the 20 regions with the highest values, ten are in Bavaria alone and eight in Thuringia. Both Free States have case incidences well above the national figure (65.4): Bavaria with 70.5 and Thuringia with the highest seven-day incidence nationwide of 134.2. (Stern, March 10)

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/