Local news translated – Friday, Mar 26, 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

RKI reports 21,573 new infections
Health authorities in Germany have reported 21,573 new infections to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 4091 more than a week ago. In addition, 183 more deaths were recorded. Last week, there were 17,482 new infections and 226 deaths. The seven-day incidence continues to rise, now at 119.1 nationwide, up from 113.3 the previous day. Since the pandemic began, 75,623 have died in Germany from or with Covid-19.(Robert Koch Institute, March 26)

Researchers fear more cases of long covid in children and adolescents
With the increase in corona infections in children and adolescents, more late-onset cases in these groups are also expected, according to a pediatric researcher. “As a result of the relaxation of measures, we expect to see more people affected with longer-lasting health problems,” said Markus Hufnagel of the Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at Freiburg University Hospital. (Focus, March 26)

Only a quarter of citizens in favor of easing measures
A third of people in Germany are in favor of tougher measures in the fight against the Corona pandemic, according to a survey. In a ZDF “trend barometer” conducted by the Wahlen research group, 36 percent of respondents favored more rigid rules, while 26 percent believe the current measures are already excessive. 31 percent said the rules were just right. The Easter holiday, which has since been overturned, was described by 54 percent as “not right,” while 41 percent rated it as “right.”(ZDF, March 26)

Merkel on third wave: “We are in a new pandemic”.
Today’s EU summit was dominated by the coronavirus pandemic. Above all, it was about the supply of vaccines. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after the summit with her colleagues, which was held via video conference: “Vaccination is the way out of the pandemic.” She said international supply chains should not be disrupted, but the EU must of course supply its own population with vaccine. Just yesterday, the EU Commission announced it would tighten controls on the export of vaccines from the EU. “Victory over the virus will only be achieved when everyone in the world has the chance to be vaccinated and immunized,” Merkel continued. In addition, she warned against the devastating pandemic, which is currently dominated by the British mutation: The EU is not only in a third wave, but in a “new pandemic,” she said.(Ntv, March 26)

Massive job losses in the hotel and catering industry
In the hotel and restaurant industry, about 200,000 jobs were already lost after the first wave of the Corona pandemic, despite massive part-time work. The hardest hit were those in marginal employment, the federal government stated in response to a question from the Green Party, according to an advance report in the “Augsburger Allgemeine” newspaper. In the tourism industry, up to 70 percent of employees are on part-time work.(Augsburger Allgemeine, March 26)

Biontech: Clinical trial with children started – first vaccinations possible in early 2022
Following in the footsteps of competitors Moderna and Astrazeneca, Mainz-based Biontech and its U.S. partner Pfizer have also begun testing their Corona vaccine in younger children. “Together with our partner Biontech, we have administered a dose to the first healthy children in a global ongoing Phase 1/2/3 trial,” Biontech told ntv.de. The clinical trials are intended to evaluate the safety, tolerability and efficacy of the vaccine in children between six months and eleven years of age. The vaccine could hopefully be used in this age group from the beginning of 2022.(Aerzteblatt, March 26)

If it’s an Easter visit, then it should be with testing
The intensive care physician Christian Karagiannidis warns of a great risk of infection when visiting grandparents at Easter. The virus variant B.1.1.7 has changed everything, this time the children are also infection drivers, said the scientific director of the intensive care register of the professional society DIVI to the RBB. His urgent appeal is therefore: “If you meet on Good Friday or Easter Sunday with the grandparents, just do the test briefly in the morning.” Rather than visits, however, the physician would prefer a lockdown over Easter. With the current measures in place, there’s no way to “prevent us from seeing another all-time high in intensive care patients on Covid-19,” Karagiannidis said.(Ntv, March 26)

Mandatory testing before air travel to Germany comes into force on Monday night
In view of the Corona pandemic, airline passengers will be required to undergo general testing before taking off for Germany. According to Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn, the measure will come into force on Monday night. (Focus, March 26)

Federal government wants to classify whole of France as high incidence area
The German government wants to classify the whole of France as a high incidence area. This was learned by the news agency AFP from government circles. The decision means that until further notice, the border may only be crossed in the presence of a negative Corona test. Read more about this at ntv.de. (Ntv, March 26)

Kretschmer: Pandemic cannot be stopped “with the current set of instruments”
Saxony’s Minister President Michael Kretschmer warns against a worsening of the pandemic. The virus has become significantly more contagious due to the mutations, the CDU politician said on Deutschlandfunk radio. Therefore, the pandemic cannot be stopped “with the current toolbox.” But in the population, many no longer adhere to the restrictions, he said. “People no longer have the strength,” Kretschmer said. Politicians must accept this, he adds. However, the prime minister expressed his conviction that the willingness to support certain measures would increase again if the infection situation came to a head. (Rundfunk, March 26)

Health care system could reach breaking point in April
Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) is warning that the German healthcare system could soon be overburdened if the number of Corona infections continues to rise. “At the moment, the numbers are rising too fast and the virus variants make the situation particularly dangerous,” he said in Berlin on Friday. “If this continues unchecked, we run the risk that our health system will reach its breaking point in the course of April.” He said we should expect to see similar infection numbers as in the winter.

The president of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, also painted a bleak picture. There are “clear signals” that the third wave of Corona, which has now begun, could “surpass the first and second,” Wieler said at the joint press conference with Spahn. The country must prepare itself for the fact that the number of infected people is rising sharply, that clinics are overloaded and that “many people are also dying”.

“If we do not take massive countermeasures immediately, the consequences will be severe,” Spahn stressed. He called on the population to reduce contacts.

Spahn made a strong appeal to the federal states to “consistently implement” the agreed emergency brake to withdraw openings. He could, he said, also with regard to the state of Berlin, only recommend implementing what has been jointly agreed. Citizens should also meet at Easter “ideally only outside.” “It is the last but most difficult part of the pandemic,” he said. (Welt, March 26)

Endurance in the fight against the pandemic
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has called for perseverance in dealing with the Corona pandemic. “Yes, the tunnel is longer than we thought and hoped. But especially now in the face of the third wave is not the time, I think, for resignation, despair or reckoning,” Steinmeier said while awarding medals to people involved in coping with the pandemic. (Ntv, March 26)

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/