Local news translated – Thursday, Mar 25, 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 25, 2021

22,657 new cases, seven-day incidence at 113.3
22,657 new Corona infections and 228 additional deaths have been reported to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) by health departments in Germany. A week ago today, there were 17,504 new infections and 227 new deaths. So the trend in infections is clearly upward. According to the RKI, the seven-day incidence nationwide is 113.3, significantly higher than the previous day’s value of 108.1. (Robert Koch Institute, March 25)

RKI considers lockdown to be the only alternative
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) sees only lockdown as a possibility to stop the rapid spread of new corona infections. Until a large part of the population is immune to the coronavirus, there is no other solution, says RKI President Lothar Wieler in an online event hosted by the German Embassy in Washington. (Robert Koch Institute, March 25)

Second German Corona vaccine expected in summer
The German government’s vaccine commissioner, Christoph Krupp, expects a second German Corona vaccine soon. “The German government has high hopes for the vaccine production by Curevac,” Krupp told the Funke Mediengruppe newspapers. If the EMA approval works out as planned by the company, the Curevac vaccine could be vaccinated from the second half of the year. The Tübingen-based biotechnology company has partnered with GSK for production, but is also supported by German chemical giant Bayer and Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis.(Funke Mediagruppe, March 24)

New data confirm efficacy of Astrazeneca vaccine
New data confirm the efficacy of Astrazeneca’s vaccine. The vaccine is 76 percent effective in protecting against covid-19, and 85 percent effective in people over 65 years of age, the company says, citing additional results from a Phase III study involving about 32,500 subjects. This means that 85 percent less disease occurred among the elderly subjects in a vaccinated group than among those in a control group. In terms of severe disease progression, the efficacy across all age groups was even 100 percent.( Ntv, March 25)

Proportion of positive test results increased
The number of Corona tests has increased compared to the previous week, but so has the positive rate – which in combination is a bad sign, as it shows a high number of unreported cases. For example, the positive rate in calendar week 11 was 7.91 percent. In calendar week 10, it was still at 6.69 percent. How many of the PCR tests carried out were due to previous positive rapid tests is not addressed by the Robert Koch Institute in its current situation report. (Aerzteblatt, March 24)

Federal government expects over 70 million vaccination doses in second quarter
The Federal Ministry of Health expects between 70.5 and 73.5 million vaccine doses for Germany in the second quarter. This is according to supply forecasts published by the ministry. In the first quarter, there are 19.8 million doses. In the second quarter, 10.1 million doses of the vaccine from U.S. manufacturer Johnson & Johnson are also to be delivered, of which only one dose is required, unlike the vaccines used in the past. Earlier, the ministry had indicated that up to 15.3 million doses of vaccine would be delivered from April 5 to May 1. According to the ministry, all forecasts are still subject to uncertainty. (Merkur, March 24-)

Priesemann warns of new virus variants
Viola Priesemann warns of new coronavirus variants that could render vaccinations invalid or reduce their effectiveness. These are viruses that manage to circumvent the immune protection of vaccination, she said. “There are initial findings that some of the virus variants can already do that, at least in part,” the physicist from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization told ARD. If many are vaccinated and there is a high incidence at the same time, “then we breed these escape variants here in Germany,” Priesemann said. In the worst case, one would have to start from scratch again in the fight against such a variant.(Ard, March 24)

Undeclared workers flourish during the pandemic
Undeclared work and violations of the minimum wage requirement have increased significantly during the Corona pandemic. According to a response by the German government to a minor inquiry by the Green Party, the economic damage caused by undeclared work and labor exploitation discovered during financial controls rose to 816.5 million euros last year. That was 8.2 percent more than in the previous year – although fewer checks were carried out. (Ntv, March 25)

Countries only partially vaccinate from what has been delivered
Germany continues to make slow progress in vaccination. And this is also due to the fact that the states are only partially vaccinating what has been delivered. By Tuesday, the federal government had delivered, according to the Ministry of Health. Baden-Württemberg received 2.08 million doses – 1.52 million (73.1 percent) were injected.(Ntv, March 25)

SPD calls for mandatory testing in companies instead of a travel ban
Following the Easter rest debacle, the SPD has pledged its support to Chancellor Merkel. “We want the government to do its job properly. For this, she also has the support in parliament,” said the parliamentary director of the SPD, Carsten Schneider, on ZDF. “The last thing we need now would be a government crisis.” Schneider, meanwhile, calls for mandatory testing by employers. “The main source of infection is in the workplace.” So far, he said, the CDU does not want to make any stipulations in this regard, preferring instead to ban foreign travel. Travel, however, is a fundamental right, he said. “That would then be the next pipe burst, which is why we’re not going along with it.”(ZDF, March 25)

Merkel: “No mayor is denied the right to proceed as in Tübingen”
In her government statement, Chancellor Merkel says Germany is living in a new pandemic because of mutant B.1.1.7. The shutdown did not result in a nationwide seven-day incidence below 50 because “the mutation is more aggressive.” For that reason, the chancellor said, the federal and state governments are now focusing on an opening concept that includes a “higher degree of regionalization.” The first German states, such as Schleswig-Holstein and Saarland, are already using this option. “It would be wrong to impose a benchmark on all of them.” Rapid and self-testing also allowed for a new approach to pandemic response, she said. “We are a federal state,” Merkel says. “No mayor is prohibited from doing what is happening in Tübingen.”(Ntv, March 25)

Non Corona local News

Stuttgart is the most expensive major city in Germany
Stuttgart is, according to an evaluation of real estate experts, the most expensive large city for tenants in Germany. Existing leases cost on average 10.38 euros per square meter net, reported the Hamburg real estate specialist F+B on Thursday and referred to an evaluation of the local rent index. That lies around 46 per cent over the 7,11 euro per square meter, which were determined in the rent mirror cities altogether on the average.(Canstatter Zeitung, March 25)

Major fire in Reutlingen
Reutlingen-Mittelstadt – A vast cloud of smoke could be seen for kilometers around Reutlingen on Wednesday. It was not until around midnight that the large fire in the warehouse with an integrated car repair shop in the Mittelstadt industrial area was extinguished. “However, there is still some post-extinguishing work in the morning,” said a spokesman for the Reutlingen fire department on Thursday.

The station tower now stands without the Mercedes star
On Thursday morning, the Mercedes star was removed from the tower of Stuttgart’s main train station. Due to the renovation of the Bonatz Building, the company logo has to change its location for a good four years.

Since the number of cranes at the station is increasing once again and the five-meter tall star weighing around two tons is in the way, it will move in front of the Mercedes Museum until 2025. Preparations have been underway since shortly after seven o’clock on Thursday morning. For this purpose, a mobile crane was brought into position at the foot of the 56-meter-high station tower. The illumination of the star had already been dismantled the day before, so that the glow on the station tower was missing on Thursday night. Around shortly after nine o’clock, the star then hung on the hook and slowly floated to the ground. On Thursday evening, the heavy transport then set off for the alternative location. (Canstatter Zeitung, March 25)

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/