Local news translated – Thursday, Mar 18, 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 18, 2021

Massive increase as RKI reports 17,504 new cases
Most recently, a total of 17,504 new Corona cases and 227 additional deaths were reported to the RKI. The weekly comparison shows a significant increase. On Wednesday of last week, the RKI had recorded 14,356 new infections, though no data from Hamburg were recently transmitted to the institute. The total number of detected coronavirus infections thus rises to 2,612,268 cases. The nationwide seven-day incidence is currently 90.4 (previous day 86.2). (Robert Koch Institute, March 18)

Survey: More than one in three employees feel burnt out
According to a study, the Corona crisis is pushing many employees to the limit. In the fall, 35 percent of respondents felt burnt out due to work stress, according to the Gallup consulting firm. In the two previous years, the figure was 26 percent. The danger of burnout has increased significantly. Only 61 percent still wanted to work for their current company in a year’s time, without any ifs or buts. In the previous year it was 73 percent, before 78 percent. According to the survey, people in part time work are particularly willing to change jobs. (Ntv, March 18)

Study: Repeated corona infections rare, but possible
Most people are immune for a few months after a coronavirus infection – but not all. This is the result of a large-scale study in Denmark, which has now been presented in the scientific journal “The Lancet”. With the over 65’s a repeated infection occurs  more frequently than with younger people. 

Seehofer wants to keep stores open – with customer limits
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer calls for a new approach to Corona measures. “People don’t understand when the flower store has to close but the supermarket next door is allowed to sell flowers,” the CSU politician told the “Münchner Merkur” newspaper. His proposal: from an incidence of 50, only one customer per ten square meters of sales area is allowed in a store – whether supermarket or other retail. “We would then no longer need a rule for an incidence of over 100,” Seehofer said. More and more counties are likely to exceed this critical value. That would put into effect the “emergency brake” that has been in effect until now, which calls for the closure of many stores.( Münchner Merkur, March 18)

Vaccination 24/7: Kramp-Karrenbauer wants to open Bundeswehr vaccination centers
According to Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the German Armed Forces are ready to open their own vaccination centers where the population can be vaccinated against the coronavirus at any time of the day or night. Kramp-Karrenbauer told Wirtschaftswoche, “We have already been preparing for additional support for vaccinating the population since November 2020 with additional forces from the Bundeswehr.” The Bundeswehr could be ready for deployment within a very short time, she added. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn would have to decide on the deployment. “With the Bundeswehr, we can operate 28 vaccination centers with up to three vaccination lines on a shift basis – that means seven days a week, day and night,” Kramp-Karrenbauer explained. This would allow up to an additional 20,000 vaccination doses to be administered daily.(Stern, March 18)

Almost all from China: protective masks imported to Germany for around six billion euros
In 2020, face masks worth around six billion euros were imported into Germany in the wake of the Corona pandemic – almost all of them from China. In April and May alone, masks worth 3.5 billion euros were imported from there, according to preliminary estimates from the Federal Statistical Office. Around 80 percent of last year’s imports of face masks took place between April and July. (Ntv, March 18)

Astrazeneca vaccine halt: 13 incidents now reported in Germany
After the precautionary stop of Corona vaccinations with the product of the manufacturer Astrazeneca, further incidents have become known in Germany. There are now 13 reported cases of blood clots (thromboses) in cerebral veins in temporal connection with vaccinations, according to the Federal Ministry of Health. Three patients have died. Altogether it concerned twelve women and a man between 20 and 63 years. In view of such incidents, vaccinations with Astrazeneca were suspended on Monday as a precaution – at that time there were seven cases. Despite the high number of more than 1.6 million vaccinations with Astrazeneca, this is above average. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to issue an assessment today on how to proceed.(Ntv, March 18)

Vaccinations continue to make slow progress
The Corona vaccination program in Germany continues to make slow progress. The total number of vaccine doses used has now exceeded the ten million mark. However, less than 200,000 vaccinations are currently being carried out per day. In the course of Wednesday, there were 198,421 vaccinations, as can be seen from the current data from the vaccination rate monitoring of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). Of these, around 122,500 were first vaccinations and only just under 76,000 were second vaccinations. Currently, only two vaccines, Biontech/Pfizer and Moderna, continue to be used. Vaccinations with Astrazeneca have been suspended until further notice in order to follow individual cases of possible vaccine side effects more closely. The recently approved vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is not yet available.(Aerzteblatt, March 18)

The Hotel and restaurant industry: “The Situation and mood are catastrophic”.
The hotel and restaurant industry sees itself in a catastrophic situation in light of the ongoing lockdown. “We can no longer hold out for weeks and months in this state of shock,” said the President of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association, Guido Zöllick. He called for the next meeting of the federal and state governments on how to proceed in the crisis to provide a clear and reliable perspective on the conditions under which hotels and restaurants could reopen. In addition, he said, there must be improvements to the Corona aid, which is still not reaching companies sufficiently. “If we are forced to close, we must also be compensated, in the full amount of the losses.” Zöllick described the situation and mood in the hospitality industry as catastrophic. Each month of lockdown, he said, results in revenue losses averaging 75 percent.(Focus, March 18)

Non-Corona local News

Blooming Baroque in Ludwigsburg
Since last Wednesday, visitors have been able to take a walk in the park to enjoy the season opening of the Blühendes Barock and even to purchase season tickets. Advance sales went well with 9000 tickets sold in one week. Slightly less than in a normal, in a corona-free year, but still more than expected, says Kugel. Until March 31, season tickets can still be purchased in advance. 

The revenue is extremely important. “They bring money into the coffers so we can pay our employees,” Kugel emphasizes. A team of 30 gardeners, seven administrative staff, two animal caretakers and many “Mini-Job” part time workers make sure that visitors can enjoy the splendor in the gardens around the Residence Palace.

The flowers, the Blüba director enthuses, are in top condition. An impressive 60,000 tulips and daffodils have been pre-cultivated so that they can show their best side. In addition, there are 180,000 other flowers. 

Currently, 4,000 guests are allowed in the gardens at the same time. Families will be especially delighted with the news that the fairy garden will be open. Boating is also possible – either alone or together with three other people from one family. Closed, on the other hand, will be the stations where it is crowded. 

Access is only possible for day visitors with a ticket purchased online in advance during certain time slots – or with a season ticket. This year, there will be no free coupon book for season ticket buyers. In addition, it is not certain which special events can and may take place. Should there be any, however, special prices are planned for season ticket holders.

Masks are mandatory throughout the park. Contact tracking takes place via the online tickets and the season tickets. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, March 18)

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/