Local news translated – Thursday, Mar 19, 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 19, 2021

Astrazeneca vaccinations to restart
Vaccinations with the Astrazeneca vaccine are restarting in the German states, meaning that new vaccination dates can gradually be allocated. Baden-Württemberg will resume vaccinations with Astrazeneca this Friday, according to the state government. In the southwest, available appointments will initially continue to be offered to people over 80, as well as to those over 65 in particularly vulnerable occupational groups. (Ntc, March 19)

4,600 infections more than a week ago
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recorded almost 17,482 new Corona infections and 226 additional deaths within one day. This is slightly fewer new infections than the previous day, but about 4600 more than a week ago. The number of new infections reported within seven days per 100,000 inhabitants (seven-day incidence) is also rising significantly again: according to the RKI, it is 95.6, which is higher than the previous day (90.4). A week ago, the seven-day incidence was still 72.(Robert Koch Institute, March19)

County association calls for uniform state-wide corona rules
The Baden-Württemberg County Council has called for uniform Corona rules across the state – even if incidence levels should continue to vary from region to region. “We need uniform statewide rules for effective pandemic management, if only for reasons of acceptance,” announced the president of the county association, Joachim Walter. The counties critically evaluated the concept of regionalized openings and closings.

From the point of view of the County Council, the infection incidence is essentially equally distributed, especially with regard to the virus variants – even if there are currently rural and urban districts with lower or particularly high incidence, said Walter. State-wide uniform rules are therefore “sensible and purposeful”. They would also increase acceptance of the Corona measures among the population, which is all the more important because people are becoming increasingly impatient.

The federal government and the states had agreed at the beginning of March that relaxations would be possible in urban and rural districts depending on the Corona infection figures per 100,000 inhabitants in a week. Only for counties with a so-called seven-day incidence of more than 100 should the relaxations in trade and leisure be omitted. This results in regionally different Corona rules, which is also sometimes met with resistance from the population. (Ntv, March 19)

Baden-Württemberg’s Minister President Winfried Kretschmann wants to be vaccinated with Astrazeneca
Following the temporary halt to Astrazeneca’s vaccine, the drug may be injected again with immediate effect and Baden-Württemberg will resume vaccinations this Friday.

This means that Baden-Württemberg’s Minister President Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) can also be vaccinated against the coronavirus with Astrazeneca. He has an appointment for this Friday at the vaccination center in Stuttgart’s Liederhalle. If Astrazeneca’s drug is not available there, Kretschmann will take the vaccine that is in stock, it was said. Afterwards, he plans to make a press statement. At 72 years of age, Kretschmann is eligible for the vaccine.

The state thus follows the new decision of the European Medicines Agency EMA on the approval of the vaccine. The conference of health ministers of the federal and state governments had passed a corresponding resolution on Thursday evening. Afterwards, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) had also issued the goal that the injections of the active ingredient could be started again as of Friday.

The top priority now, he said, was to quickly proceed with and complete the vaccinations of those at particular risk in the first priority. Currently available appointments would be offered first to people over 80 and to those over 65 in the first-priority occupational groups most at risk. In addition, people whose appointments were canceled earlier this week due to the Astrazeneca vaccination freeze and whose dates went on the waiting list would be offered an appointment. Only then will the central appointment system be unlocked again, he said. (dpa, March 19)

Researchers apparently find cause of thrombosis after Astrazeneca vaccination
Researchers at the University Medical Center in Greifswald have, according to their own information, found the cause of thrombosis that occurred as a result of vaccinations with Astrazeneca. According to them, it is a defense mechanism of the body, which is normally observed during wound healing. First the NDR had reported on the findings. After the vaccination was stopped, the researchers had contacted the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) and subsequently received samples from six thrombosis patients for more detailed analysis.(Ntv, March 19)

Non-Corona local News

Youth farm is open again
Freiberg – Great joy at the youth farm Freiberg/Rot. It is immediately again open for visitors. The Corona-related closure of Stuttgart’s youth farms and active playgrounds ordered by the city has been lifted as of March 15, as Eva Herbert from the youth farm reports. This means that the Jugendfarm Freiberg / Rot e.V. once again welcomes guests between the ages of 6 and 16 to its grounds – during the usual opening hours from Tuesday to Saturday. The parent-child group for children between the ages of three and six will also resume its operations in the coming weeks.

The large farm area in the middle of the triangle of Freiberg, Zazenhausen and Mühlhausen with its building playground, the horse paddock, the two fireplaces and the farm garden opens up many different fields of play and activity for the children and young people, including: The community, the contact with ponies, donkeys, sheep, goats, chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs and the close experience of nature are the main focus. 

Current details about the program and the offers, taking into account the current hygiene conditions at the youth farm Freiberg/Rot, will be published for interested parties on the Internet at www.jugendfarmfreiberg.de and on the Instagram and Facebook channel of the farm. (Canstatter Zeitung, March 19)

Stuttgart narcotic dog Bella, makes first big discovery of drugs
Just over a year ago, Bella completed her training as a narcotics detection dog, and now Stuttgart’s main customs office was able to celebrate her first major find at the airport. Thanks to the fine nose of the two-year-old German shepherd mix, customs officials were able to stop a traveler with five kilograms of marijuana in his luggage last Sunday. The man had traveled in the afternoon on a plane from the Balearic Islands to Stuttgart.

“Bella can recognize more than a dozen different drugs by smell,” says press spokesman Thomas Seemann. When she sniffed the luggage of the 63-year-old man, she “showed keen interest,” he reports. After the traveler had taken the suitcase from the luggage belt and wanted to leave the terminal through the green exit for goods exempt from registration, the customs officers stopped the man. Upon checking the luggage, the officers discovered the drugs, which were shrink-wrapped. They were confiscated, the man was temporarily arrested and is now in custody. He is now awaiting trial for the unauthorized importation of narcotics. The further investigations lead the customs investigation office Stuttgart.

Bella, who is used not only for baggage checks at the airport but also for mobile customs checks on vehicles and apartment searches, received a treat as a reward for her successful search. In the summer, she is scheduled for further training. After that, she will be able to “check” not only luggage on the ground, but also travelers walking past her with handbags or backpacks. To do that, she’ll just have to learn to keep an appropriate distance while sniffing, Seemann said. “Likewise, she’s not allowed to indicate a hit by scratching, as she would with luggage, but must lie flat on the ground with the tip of her nose pointing toward the person.” (Canstatter Zeitung, March 19)

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/