Local news translated – Thursday, Mar 4, 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 4, 2021

Epidemiologist fears too relaxed approach to pandemic
After the federal-state decisions on the gradual re-opening of the country, epidemiologist Rafael Mikolajczyk warns of the risk of sending the wrong signal to the population. “Relaxation of the rules can have greater consequences than the rules themselves,” explains the scientist from Halle University Hospital. The exponential growth in case numbers that is possible with coronavirus is easily underestimated, he says. An incidence of 25 can quickly become an incidence of 100 – “and if you then wait another two weeks to take countermeasures, you’re up to 200,” says the epidemiologist. (Ntv, March 4)

Söder: Third Corona Wave is Rising
In the fight against the pandemic, Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder believes that the second wave has been defeated. However, the third wave is rolling, with the British virus variant, says Söder after a meeting of his cabinet in Munich. It must be seen how controllable this will be. (Focus, March 4)

Dm offers free rapid tests in its own centers
The drugstore chain dm will offer free quick tests in its own centers in front of its stores. A “gradual build-up” of such centers is planned in the course of March, starting in front of  several hundred stores in Baden-Württemberg, the company announced. A first test run took place on Thursday morning in front of the company’s headquarters in Karlsruhe.(Ntv, March 4)

Number of new infections in Europe on the rise again
More than half of the countries in Europe have recorded an increase in the number of infections with the coronavirus in the past week. According to the European office of the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of new infections has increased by nine percent. Thus, the promising decline of the last six weeks has stopped. The B.1.1.7 virus variant, which first appeared in the United Kingdom, has now appeared in 43 of the 53 European countries, it said. The South African mutation B.1.351 has been reported in 26 countries, and the Brazilian variant in 15, he said. Stern, March 4)

Barely 5.5 percent of Germans are vaccinated for the first time
The number of Covid 19 vaccine doses administered in Germany has risen to more than 6.8 million. according to the monitoring of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). According to this, the rate of first vaccinations is now just under 5.5 percent, and the rate of second vaccinations is 2.7 percent – this corresponds to more than 2.2 million fully vaccinated persons. Full protection exists only after two vaccinations. For this, the second dose must be injected about three weeks after the first. According to the RKI, in Rhineland-Palatinate more than 3.4 percent have already received a second vaccination, in Lower Saxony just under 2.3 percent. (Robert Koch Institute, March 4)

Vaccination commission now recommends Astrazeneca vaccine only for the elderly
According to a newspaper report, the Standing Commission on Vaccination (Stiko) now recommends Astrazeneca’s vaccine for people older than 65. After expiry of the voting period within the Stiko on Thursday noon, the professional societies and the federal states should be informed. Vaccination of the elderly could then begin in the coming week. (Frankfurter Allgemeine, March 4)

One million free fast tests will cost the state 21 million euros
In the updated Corona testing regulation,quantifies the cost of more rapid tests. “For every one million tests, the federal government will incur costs of up to 21 million euros, including up to six million euros for material costs and up to 15 million euros for implementation costs,” the Ministry of Health said. It adds that citizens should be entitled to a free rapid test every week in the future. ( Handlesblatt, March 4) 

Non Corona News

Mayor Dr. Sußmann: “Stuttgart has a wide range of offers to support homeless people”
The Mayor for Social Affairs and Social Integration stated on Thursday, March 4: “Even those who do not have shelter in Stuttgart are part of our urban society. This year more than ever, people need support and assistance offers and special protection. They will also receive this. The city of Stuttgart has a wide range of offers to support homeless people.” The mayor accepted a petition from the street newspaper Trott-War, which calls for better accommodation for the homeless.

The state capital has comprehensive support services, which were already expanded and supplemented with protection concepts at the beginning of the pandemic together with the independent providers. Dr. Sußmann: “In Stuttgart, no one has to spend the night on the street involuntarily. The rooms in the emergency overnight stay are open, they are occupied by a maximum of two people. Thus we fulfill already fundamental demands of the Petition.”

In Stuttgart, homeless people can choose between 2-bed rooms in the emergency overnight accommodation or, if there is a proven entitlement, a place in a social shelter. In the 35 hotels with which the Social Welfare Office has arranged occupancy, there are currently enough rooms available to accommodate homeless people. There are currently about two dozen vacancies in the three open emergency overnight shelters. On cold nights, the DRK’s cold bus operates in Stuttgart, about 40 times a year. DRK volunteers provide health support, accompanied by an experienced social worker. The Social Welfare Office is in regular contact with the municipal enforcement service and also with the outreach work of the emergency housing assistance providers in Bad Cannstatt, as well as with all the counseling centers. The municipal enforcement service repeatedly refers to the emergency overnight stay.

Protection against infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus is also important. The concept provides for testing all persons in the emergency overnight stay immediately or, if they visit the emergency overnight stay at the weekend or in the evening, at the latest on the next working day In order to nevertheless continue to keep the occupancy density as low as possible (Press release city of Stuttgart, March 4)

Mobility despite lockdown: Germans on the move again
According to a special analysis by the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden, mobility in the second half of February 2021 “strongly approached the pre-crisis level.” In the first two weeks of February, mobility was still 19 percent below the level of February 2019. In the 7th calendar week (February 15-21), it was only 11 percent below the reference values. By the first five days of the 8th calendar week (Feb. 22-26), it was down to 4 percent. Overall, since the beginning of the year, “an approximation of mobility to the pre-crisis level can be observed,” the statisticians wrote. (Ntv, March 3)

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/