Local news translated – Nov 20, 2020

Daily Host Nation Update November 20, 2020

RKI reports 23,648 new infections – another record

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), reports another record number of new coronavirus infections in Germany. The experts reported 23,648 new cases on their website early on Friday morning, bringing the total to 879,564, compared with the previous record of 23,542 cases a week earlier. The RKI puts the number of deaths at 13,630, 260 more than 24 hours ago. (Robert Koch Institute, November 20)

G20 urged to find a common strategy in the fight against virus

Before the G20 summit this weekend, the development organization One called on the major industrialized nations to finally develop a joint strategy to combat the corona pandemic. Chancellor Angela Merkel was particularly called upon to “put everything into the balance,” said One director Stephan Exo-Kreischer. The rich countries of the G20 group should also ensure a fair distribution of affordable vaccines to all people worldwide. “We cannot afford to go it alone nationally,” said Exo-Kreischer. “We will either defeat Corona together or not at all. It must become clear to all countries that they are not fighting against each other, but against the virus. (Ntv, November 20)

Vaccine will probably come in December

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expects approval of a corona vaccine in Europe as early as December or “very soon after the turn of the year”. “And then, of course, vaccination will begin,” said the CDU politician in the evening after the EU video summit. “One has to say that the news of the last few days regarding the development of a vaccine makes us very confident. (Ntv, November 20)

Politicians demand more support for airline industry

The Free Democratic Party (FDP) in the Bundestag is demanding more support from the federal government for the air transport industry, which has been shaken by the Corona crisis. “Even after Minister Scheuer’s aviation summit, the federal government has no strategy for supporting the sector in this dramatic situation,” said FDP transport policy expert Bernd Reuter. That is why the FDP is calling for financial relief, as well as investments in alternative engines to the tune of two billion euros. An FDP motion to this effect was on the agenda in the Bundestag this Friday. Among other things, it says that the government should reduce travel restrictions in order to encourage passenger traffic again. Risk areas abroad should be defined on a smaller scale, “comparable to the level of the counties in Germany.” (Ntv, November 20)

Studies on the presence of corona virus on public transport

The Federal Ministry of Transport has called for further studies on how the corona virus spreads in areas such as public transport. Many scientific studies have shown that there is no increased risk of infection in public transport. A further study should now expand the database and validate previous findings. A team of researchers led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics will soon begin measurements in buses and trains, at train stations and at stops, the ministry explained. The experts are to take samples of viruses and microorganisms in the air and on surfaces such as door handles, armrests, handrails, operating buttons, tables, ticket machines, posters and ticket validators. Measurements are to be taken on local and long-distance trains and buses, in stations, at stops and on platforms. The project is scheduled to last until spring 2021. (Handelsblatt, November 20)

Study shows at least six months immunity after infection

According to a British study, immunity after corona infection is highly likely to last for at least six months. “This is really good news, because we can be confident that most people who get Covid-19 will not relapse, at least in the short term,” says study leader David Eyre of Oxford University. For most people, he says, there is at least six months of protection from new infection. No new symptomatic infections have been detected in any of the study participants who tested positive for antibodies. Isolated cases of reinfection had raised concerns that the immunity might be short-lived. In the study, health care workers in the UK were examined from April to November. (Ntv, November 20)

The Christmas tree – more important than ever

No Christmas markets, no mulled wine, no company parties. Corona puts an enormous strain on the holiday season. This makes it all the more important for many people to decorate their homes this year with candles, wreaths, and Christmas trees. Estimates show there were between 20 and 25 million Christmas trees in German living rooms last year. Whether this will also be the case in the Corona Year remains to be seen. Decorative trees for Christmas markets, for example, are likely to be much less in demand. However, the Federal Association of Christmas Tree Producers hopes that people will buy a tree privately rather than otherwise because “they want to make themselves particularly comfortable at home during the crisis.” (Canstatter Zeitung, November 20)

Non-Corona News

High risk of bird flu in the southwest

After initial cases in northern Germany, the Ministry of Agriculture estimates the risk of bird flu cases in the southwest to be high. There is a risk that wild birds will introduce the disease into poultry farms and zoos, for example, as the ministry announced on Friday. Minister of Agriculture Peter Hauk (CDU) therefore calls on poultry farmers in Baden-Württemberg to review the biosecurity measures and adjust them if necessary. This also applies to people who keep the animals only as a hobby. The pathogen can be introduced into a barn via litter, feed, and drinking water, but also clothing and shoes. It is therefore also important to create good hygiene conditions. (Canstatter Zeitung, November 20)

Environment Minister wants to make reusable packaging mandatory

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) wants to oblige the catering trade to use reusable packaging. Cafés and restaurants that offer their goods for take-away must then also have reusable cups and containers on offer, reported SWR on Thursday evening. In this way unnecessary garbage is to be avoided. Exceptions should only be made for small stores with less than three employees. “This whole throw-away mentality has to stop now,” Schulze told the station. “We need to find another way. The Minister also wants all cans and bottles: juice, wine, mixed drinks, and spirits to be subject to deposits. In addition, that at least one quarter of PET bottles must be made of recycled plastic in future. According to SWR, the Environment Minister’s plan is to have the law in force by summer 2021. Before then, however, the cabinet and the Bundestag must give their approval. (Swr, November 20)