Local news translated – Nov 6, 2020

USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs – Local news translated – Nov 6, 2020

Number of intensive care patients continues to rise significantly

The number of Covid-19 patients undergoing intensive care treatment in Germany continues to rise steadily. According to the current daily report of the Divi Intensive Care Register, 2,753 infected patients (+100) are currently receiving intensive care treatment, 1,445 of which (+23) are ventilated. Just one week ago, the figure was 1,819 (919 ventilated). Around 7,024 intensive care beds are currently still available in German clinics, which corresponds to an increase of 130 beds. (Ntv, November 6)

Minister of the Interior wants to have quarantine objectors hospitalized

According to the will of Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of the Interior Thomas Strobl, quarantine refusers are apparently to be forcibly admitted to a closed hospital if they do not comply with the requirements for domestic isolation due to a corona infection or suspected corona. Strobl suggested this in a letter to Social and Health Minister Manfred Lucha and Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann, the “Stuttgarter Zeitung” and the “Stuttgarter Nachrichten” report. According to the report, such a compulsory hospitalization should be carried out “in an orderly court procedure” – i.e. by court order.(Stuttgarter Zeitung, November 6, 2020) 

Baden-Württemberg corona labs cannot keep up with tests

The laboratories in Baden-Württemberg are sitting on a mountain of corona tests to be processed. Last week there was a backlog of 6,182 samples to be processed, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health told the German Press Agency. The laboratories are currently working at 122 percent capacity. Recently, fewer and fewer corona laboratories throughout Germany have followed suit in evaluating tests. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 69 laboratories reported a backlog of 98,931 samples to be processed last week. Two weeks earlier, according to the RKI management report from Wednesday evening, 52 laboratories still had 20,799 samples to be processed. The so-called positive rate for corona tests is higher in the State of B-W than the national average. Of the 185,390 tests carried out in the southwest last week, 8.1 percent were positive. Nationwide the rate was 7.3 percent. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 6)

Germany shortens quarantine period for arrivals from high-risk zones as of November 8

Starting on Sunday, November 8, a person entering Germany can present a medical certificate showing they have a negative PCR test less than 48 hours old. “The test must have been carried out in a member state of the European Union or a country with a comparable quality standard,” the Ministry notes adding that alternatively, the test can be done after entry at the place of border crossing or at the place of accommodation. According to the new regulation, the period of self-quarantine for travelers from high-risk areas is shortened to 10 days. At the same time, only travelers who have been in a high-risk area in the last ten days will be asked to quarantine–if they chose not to test. As per those deciding to get tested and who result negative, they will still need to self-isolate for five days at least, after reaching Germany. The new model regulation will be implemented at the state level; therefore, travelers must consult the rules of each federal state before traveling there. The new resolution on COVID-19 restrictions notes that hotels or other accommodation will only offer overnight stays for necessary trips, whereas accommodation offers for tourist trips are generally no longer permitted. A visa for tourism purposes will thus only be possible in exceptional cases. In principle, entry to the country remains possible for travelers from the EU-Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and the UK, as well as for travelers from select third countries and categories traveling to Germany for essential purposes. (Schengenvisainfo news, Nov 3)

Teachers wear disinfectants “as bracelet” around their wrists

Since the time after the autumn vacations, the teachers at the Körschtalschule in Stuttgart-Plieningen have been wearing green and yellow wristbands. This is not the latest fashion trend, but rather the colorful wristbands are filled with disinfectant, which is always readily available.  The Fellbach-based product development company Averis designed the so-called hygiene bracelet in spring. A hygienic wristband consists of a silicone tube filled with disinfectant and a cap containing a small atomizer, as found on perfume bottles. According to the manufacturer, enough disinfectant for 20 sprays fits into the bracelet. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 6)

Non-Corona News

Stuttgart’s Lord Mayor Fritz Kuhn departs at year end

During his eight-year term, Lord Mayor Kuhn has dealt with the huge “Stuttgart 21” construction project at the main train station. He also leaves his successor open construction sites in housing construction, as well as in the dispute over air pollution control and mobility. In a survey, Kuhn is rated as trustworthy, but criticized for being more of an administrator than a “doer.” It was only after pressure from the courts that the first nationwide large-scale diesel driving bans were imposed to keep the air clean. The lack of affordable housing remains a major problem, as well as the horrendous rents. According to the Stuttgart tenants’ association, 25,000 apartments are missing in the city, land prices have risen by 130 percent in a decade, existing rents by 40 percent – and last year only 950 apartments were built, says association chairman Rolf Gaßmann. “Kuhn has been more of a speaker than a doer,” he criticizes. “He has always stressed the importance of housing construction, but I have not seen any action.” Many of these issues, however, involve solutions at the state or federal level. Perhaps that influenced Kuhn’s decision not to run for office again, which came as a surprise even for party friends. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 6)

Sexual harassment incident on public bus

The criminal investigation department of the Ludwigsburg police headquarters is investigating a sexual harassment incident early Thursday morning on the 701 line from Böblingen to Sindelfingen involving a young woman. The perpetrator, a middle-aged man left the bus at the bus stop “Marktplatz” in Sindelfingen. Witnesses can contact police at 0800-1100225. (Sindelfinger Zeitung, November 6)

Car thieves strike twice in Vaihingen

Unknown suspects are said to have stolen two cars in Stuttgart-Vaihingen during the night of November 5th. According to police reports, the thieves captured a black Mazda CX-5 parked on Schießmauerstraße between 8:30 p.m. and 7:40 a.m., bearing the license plate number S-NK-1983 and worth around 40,000 euros. Between 7:30 p.m. and 7:40 a.m. a red Mazda CX-5 with the license plate number S-SL-1117 was stolen at the street In der Schranne, the value of which is about 30,000 Euros. How the two vehicles were stolen and whether there is a connection between the two crimes is currently being investigated. Witnesses are asked to contact the criminal investigation department at 07 11/89 90 57 78. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, November 6)

“We will fight this barbaric terror with all our strength”

After the attack in Vienna, Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU) sees a “tremendous threat” from Islamist terrorists in Germany. Attacks must also be expected in Germany at any time, said the CSU politician during a current hour in the Bundestag. Therefore everything must be done to protect the health and life of the population. Vienna, Nice, Paris, Dresden – the attacks of the past days have stirred up many domestic politicians. Thuringia’s Minister of the Interior Georg Maier (SPD) can be heard particularly clearly. “People are insecure nowadays because of the pandemic. These attacks, which indiscriminately find victims is spreading fear and terror in an already nervous population. I would like to say to the citizens, they can rely on us to fight this barbaric terror with all our might – and with all the instruments at our disposal,” said Seehofer.

The Minister of the Interior says that the security authorities are wide awake after the latest attacks. Close to 600 persons identified as Islamist are currently being targeted by investigators. More than half of them have a German passport. And with that Seehofer already answers the question that AfD head Tino Chrupalla asks only a few minutes later,”What is stopping us from deporting these people immediately to their home countries?” Chrupalla sees above all immigration as the cause of Islamist terrorism. The Green politician Konstantin von Notz contradicts, “The perpetrator of Vienna was Austrian, which is why the blanket demand for deportation is misleading as the solution.”

The fact that many people oppose the radical tendencies can also be seen in Nuremberg. The telephone at the Federal Office for Migration’s Counseling Center for Radicalization is ringing much more frequently these days. Friends and relatives can go there if they fear that someone is radicalizing Islamist tendencies. Since the beginning of October, more people have registered there as usual in three months. This week alone, there have been a dozen calls. (SWR, November 6)