Local news translated – Tuesday, May 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, May 17, 2021

RKI reports 4209 new infections – lowest level since March 2.
Health offices in Germany have reported 4209 new Corona infections to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) within one day. Compared to the previous week, this is a decrease of 31 percent, 1916 fewer cases. This is the first time the number of newly registered cases has fallen below the level of March 2. At that time, the RKI reported 5581 new cases. The nationwide seven-day incidence decreases to 79.5 (previous day: 83.1). The number of deaths also continues to fall, with the RKI reporting 221 deaths related to Covid-19, down 22 percent from the previous week.(Robert Koch Institute, May 18)

Disneyland Paris plans to reopen in June
Disneyland Paris theme park plans to reopen to visitors from June 17 after months of closure because of Corona. There will be a limited number of tickets available through an online reservation system, the operator says. Health and distance measures would apply. All guests six years and older, for example, would have to wear a mask. The park in Marne-la-Vallée near Paris had to close again last fall.(Ntv, May 18)

Germany to prioritize vaccination of pregnant women?
Against the background of an increased risk of severe courses of Covid-19 in pregnant women, the Standing Commission on Vaccination (STIKO) is expanding its vaccination recommendation. “It is a signal to politicians, but also to the attending gynecologists, that one can generously recommend vaccination to pregnant women after individual examination,” STIKO member Dr. Marianne Röbl-Mathieu, who represents the German Society for Gynecology and Obstetrics (DGGG), told the Funke Mediengruppe newspapers. Pregnant women could show a corresponding letter to their family doctor or at the vaccination center if the gynecologist did not perform the vaccination himself. According to Röbl-Mathieu, pregnant women, like their contacts, fall into prioritization group 2. (Ntv, May 18)

Baden-Württemberg falls below 100 mark
Currently, only 2 of the 16 German states are still above the emergency threshold of 100 infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days. Baden-Württemberg also falls below the threshold of 100 for the first time in almost two months. The state had last fallen below the important threshold on March 20. However, four of Germany’s 16 states – Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt – report rising incidences.(Robert Koch Institute, May 18)

The summer festival of cultures is canceled
Stuttgart – For the second time, the Summer Festival of Cultures has to be cancelled because of Corona. It was scheduled from July 22 to 27. “As before, the factual situation for planning festivals in July is completely uncertain. If events with many visitors are allowed at all in the summer of 2021, then only under numerous conditions, which are not yet clearly determined at the moment. On this basis, planning the Summer Festival of Cultures is unfortunately just as unfeasible as its financing,” says Rolf Graser, managing director of the organizing Forum of Cultures.

After all, this summer festival is always an occasion to experience artists from other countries. But it also lives from the many migrant associations that set up their stands during the festival with culinary delights and information from their countries. The Forum of Cultures now assumes that it will at least be able to organize its theater festival “Made in Stuttgart” as planned. However, this is not planned until mid-November. (Canstatter Zeitung, May 17)

Spahn wants to lift FFP2 mask requirement for children and young people
Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn wants to abolish the uniform FFP2 mask requirement for 6- to 16-year-olds. This is reported by the “Bild” newspaper with reference to an amendment to the Infection Protection Act, which the minister has introduced. According to the report, Spahn’s main justification for the move is that there are hardly any suitable FFP2 masks for children and young people of that age. “Masks have to fit so that they protect,” explains Spahn. Therefore, he says, the corresponding obligation to wear the special masks should be dropped for children and adolescents in the federal law. “The surgical masks that are now mandatory are available in suitable sizes. And they also prevent infections,” says Spahn.(Bild, May 18)

Initial vaccination drastically reduces risk of infection
Infection rates among people vaccinated against the coronavirus drop dramatically within five weeks of the first dose, according to a study from Italy. In this group, there were significantly fewer infections 35 days after the first vaccination with a vaccine from Pfizer/Biontech, Moderna or Astrazeneca, the National Institute of Health found. Hospital admissions fell even more significantly, as did deaths, it said. That was true for all age groups and men and women alike, it said.

“Thirty-five days after the first dose, there is an 80 percent reduction in infections, a 90 percent reduction in hospitalizations and a 95 percent reduction in deaths,” the health agency said. “These data confirm the effectiveness of the vaccination campaign and the need to quickly achieve high coverage throughout the population to end the emergency,” Institute President Silvio Brusaferro shared.(Ntv, May 18)

Local Non Corona News

Drinking water shortages are threatening in Germany
Berlin – The president of the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK), Armin Schuster, has warned of drinking water shortages in Germany in light of climate change. “There are already one or two communities facing the problem of drinking water shortages,” Schuster said. He pointed to falling groundwater levels and “competition with agriculture.”

“We fear that the problem will increase,” says Schuster. The citizens, but also the municipalities, must prepare for this. In order to take precautions, according to his information, the BBK is providing almost 60 million euros in a support program for the renovation of emergency drinking water wells, for interconnected pipelines and for the emergency power supply of water suppliers.

However, the BBK president also appealed to the personal responsibility of the people in Germany: “I don’t want to sound the alarm, it is still too early for that. But a resource-conserving, sustainable use of water, as well as an increased capacity for self-protection and self-help among the population in extreme weather situations, is already very much required.”

Germany’s water resources amount to 188 billion cubic meters, of which around 13 percent is withdrawn each year. However, there are significant regional differences in some cases. For example, water suppliers are particularly concerned about drinking water reserves in areas with sandy soils, such as in northern and eastern Germany.(Stuttgarter Nachrichten, May 17)