Local news translated – Nov 16, 2020

USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs – Local news translated – Nov 16, 2020

States called to have vaccination centers ready by mid-December

The federal government has asked the federal states to have vaccination centers and facilities operational by December 15. With a “very high probability” that there will be at least one effective approved vaccine by the first quarter of 2021, centers should be prepared to the extent “that short-term commissioning is possible.” States have been charged in reporting to the federal government by the end of November how many people they can vaccinate per day. (Ntv, November 16)

Stuttgart airport offers corona testing again

The Stuttgart Airport is offering corona virus testing again. In Terminal 1-West, the Airport Medical Center of the state airport offers the tests. The offer is aimed exclusively at people entering the country from abroad, who are currently in general quarantine, as well as all self-payers. The Airport Medical Center is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For self-payers, the Airport Medical Center offers various testing options: With a smear test for Sars-CoV-2, a current infection can be detected, and there is the option of a PCR test or a rapid antigen test. The costs are about 170 euros for a smear test and about 80 euros for an antigen rapid test. Online registration in advance is mandatory. Further information and registration for the tests, visit www.flughafen-stuttgart.de/reisen-2020/corona-testzentrum/ (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, November 16)

More than a thousand deaths within seven days in Germany

In the past seven days, a total of 131,087 new infections have been reported by the federal states. This is the strongest weekly increase since the beginning of the pandemic. The number of deaths rises sharply to 1,179 within seven days. A weekly increase of more than a thousand deaths in connection with the coronavirus was last recorded at the end of April. (Ntv. November 16)

Bundeswehr deploys 5,000 additional soldiers for relief operations

The German Armed Forces are expanding their aid missions. In view of the high numbers of infections, 5,000 additional members of the Bundeswehr will be deployed to support the health authorities, announced Federal Minister of Defense Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer of the CDU in the ARD program “Bericht aus Berlin.” The aid contingent will thus be increased to 20,000 soldiers. “We have always said that when the civilian structures come to an end, the Bundeswehr will be there to help, and we stand by that order,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer. The Bundeswehr is supporting the public health offices, “and we know that we also play our part in the vaccination strategy that is now being set up, at least in logistics.” said Kramp-Karrenbauer. Consultations were held with the Federal Ministry of Health and the German states. (Ntv, November 16 )

Federal government wants to further tighten contact restrictions

On Nov 16, Chancellor Merkel and the State Ministers held their interim assessment of the partial lockdown which started in November. According to a draft resolution for the video conference of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) with the Minister Presidents of the Federal States today, in the future only members of one’s own household and a maximum of two persons of another household will be authorized to meet in public. Private celebrations are to be dispensed completely until Christmas. Children and young people are to be encouraged to meet only with one firm friend in their free time. Private meetings with friends and acquaintances should generally be limited to one additional household. In the future one should also quarantine oneself immediately at home with either cold symptom, and in particular cough and cold. According to the plans of the federal government, particularly risk groups; such as the elderly and the sick are to receive FFP2 masks at reduced prices as of December to protect them from the coronavirus. In order to reduce the risk of infection, the federal government will make it possible for this population group to receive 15 of these masks for a small contribution; the rest of the costs would be covered by the federal government. (Welt.de; November 16)

What are Germany’s prospects in the next few months?

An extension of the regulations beyond November or even a tightening of them cannot be ruled out. Merkel warned at the weekend: “This winter will demand a lot from all of us; at least for the next four to five months.” Baden-Württemberg’s Minister President Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) also dampened hopes of a speedy return to normality. Only when the infection dynamic has been broken in a “resounding way” “can we talk about how to organize Christmas.” Bavaria’s Minister-President Markus Söder (CSU) said he would decide next week whether the lockdown should be extended or even tightened. Further consultations on November 23 should bring clarity. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 16)

Austria takes drastic measures on public life

Beginning Nov 17, Austrian schools will be closed, along with many stores. People are only allowed to leave their own homes for important reasons such as going to work, to the supermarket, or to support family members. Those who can, should work in the home office. Private meetings are restricted to the closest circle. Single people should choose a single other person to continue meeting. For the time being, until December 6, according to the words of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz: “Don’t meet anybody! Every social contact is one too many.” (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 16)

Anti-corona demonstrations in Berlin intensify

In connection with demonstrations by opponents of the Corona laws, the Berlin police have so far recorded and processed 753 criminal proceedings and 40 administrative offenses. For this purpose, a special investigation team “EG Quer” was already established on May 20 at the State Office of Criminal Investigation with currently eight members, said Interior Senator Andreas Geisel. In the meantime, an “increasing radicalization” could be observed in the demonstrations, Geisel continued. Often so-called Reich citizens and right-wing extremists, who plan and commit targeted criminal acts, are present at the rallies and demonstrations. Geisel emphasized, however, that not every demonstrator who had doubts about the Corona restrictions was at the same time radicalized or an extremist. (Ntv, November 16)

Health minister wants to improve Corona-Warn-App

Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn has presented a concept for the further development of the Corona-Warn-App. According to this concept, future users will be informed several times a day about possible risk encounters and, in the event of a positive corona finding, will be asked several times a day to share their test results with other users. Until now, the Corona-Warn-App only allowed a single check for risk encounters within 24 hours. This limitation has been lifted, according to the current status, the risk status can already be checked six times a day. This is the result of a “Report on the further development” of the app, which Spahn presented in the run-up to the corona consultations at the Chancellery. (Ntv, November 16)


Non-Corona News

Explosives found in the basement – 20-year-old in custody

Police officers found a large quantity of explosives in a basement room in Sindelfingen (Böblingen district) when searching for narcotics. When the officers searched the basement of the house, they found about three kilos of homemade explosives, several fireworks, as well as objects and chemicals used to make explosives. In connection, officials found more fireworks, four alarm guns including ammunition, and a pistol on Thursday in the suspects apartment. Special forces destroyed some of the items in a quarry. The suspect is in custody on suspicion of preparing an explosion crime. According to the police, the man’s motives are still completely unclear. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, November 16)

The Hymnus Boys Chois wants to sing at Christmas

“A Christmas without a choir: That would be something we and many people would dearly miss.” The “Hymnus-Chorknaben” have only been able to perform half a dozen times since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. Twenty performances have been cancelled. And, when they perform, instead with up to 93 singers, they only perform with a minimal number of four to eight boys in small and in large churches with a maximum of 12 boys. “That wears down the motivation,” says Rainer Johannes Homburg. He has been the director of the Hymnus Choir Boys’ Choir for ten years and knows how bitter it is for his young singers to work for months towards the performance of a work, only to find out then that they are not allowed to be present at the performance because of the distance rules in corona times. The pandemic restrictions also affect the choir rehearsals. In order to be able to maintain the distance of two meters, instead of two hours with 40 boys, rehearsals are now held twice for one hour with 20 boys each. “With the result that a good choral sound can be achieved, but the repertoire remains smaller,” says Homburg. What about the Christmas program of the Hymnus Choir? So far, everything is still uncertain. In the collegiate church, there will be two Christmas services instead of one on Christmas Eve with about 30 singers. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 16)