Local news translated – Oct 16, 2020

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

RKI reports new all-time high with 7,334 infections

With 7,334 new infections, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reports a new all-time high in recorded new infections. Yesterday, the institute had already recorded a peak value with 6,683 reported infections. (Robert Koch Institute, October 16)

Judges overturn travel restrictions in the State of Baden-Württemberg

The State’s administrative court declared the ban on accommodation unconstitutional and overturned it. Meaning persons coming from other Corona “Hotspots” states within Germany, are authorized to travel around Baden-Württemberg again without restrictions. A family from a risk area in North Rhine-Westphalia had appealed to the judges because their vacation in Ravensburg was in danger.

Despite the decision, B-W Minister President Winfried Kretschmann, urged citizens to only travel when absolutely necessary at this time. “The virus spreads by people traveling, as it had spread from China throughout the entire world and was spread in March from Ischgl, Austia to Baden-Württemberg,” said Kretschmann.

According to the Ministry of Education, the obligation to wear masks will soon apply throughout the state starting in the 5th grade. Those who refuse to wear masks must expect sanctions. According to the Ministry, teachers who refuse to wear masks are not authorized to enter school grounds, and students can be excluded from classes.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 6,638 new infections in Germany on Thursday. The highest ever since the pandemic began. In view of the increasing number of infections, sick leave can be requested by telephone again in the next two and a half months. This exemption was granted at the federal level due to the upcoming cold and flu season. According to this regulation, patients with respiratory diseases can call the doctor’s (rather than visiting in person) in order to request sick leave. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 16)

German Soldiers report for duty at local Health offices

In order to relieve the local health authorities, the city has asked for the support of the Bundeswehr. According to the Baden-Württemberg State Command, the first 30 of a total of 60 assigned soldiers will take up duty on Thursday. “That’s when the first shift will be briefed on their work, and they will start work on Friday,” says Lieutenant Colonel Markus Kirchenbauer. According to the press officer, the soldiers are part of the Hunter Battalion 292 in Donaueschingen and are to help track down contacts of Corona infected persons.

Due to the increasing number of infections, the city has adopted new measures to contain the pandemic – Lord Mayor Fritz Kuhn has cancelled the Stuttgart Christmas market until further notice.  A different decision could be made if the number of new infections would decrease significantly by the beginning of November and the 7-day incidence had fallen below the 50 mark. “In the light of this, we will then decide on this at the beginning of November. The next two or three weeks are crucial,” Fritz Kuhn said.

The Corona Drive-through Test Center in Wasen (located at P-10 in the Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt area) plans to expand its testing capacities with extended hours in the morning and evening, and double the number of daily tests up to 3,000. This center is open to pedestrians, cyclists, and cars. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 16) 

Baden-Württemberg introduces compulsory masks in class

In view of the sharp rise in the number of infections in Baden-Württemberg, the obligation to wear masks in secondary schools will be extended to include teaching from next week. “The extension of compulsory masks from grade 5 on to the classroom will apply from a state-wide 7-day incidence of over 35,” a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Education announced. “We will inform the schools today that this must be observed as of next Monday.” (Swr, October 16)

Masks required in the inner city of Stuttgart

Stuttgart is taking action against the spread of the corona virus by requiring the obligation to wear masks in the city center. It applies to adults, and also for children aged six years old within the city ring. The ring is bordered by Arnulf-Klett-Platz, Schillerstraße, Adenauerstraße, Hauptstätter Straße, Theodor-Heuss-Straße and Friedrichstraße. In addition, there is the area west of the Paulinenbrücke between Österreichischer Platz and the Marienkirche with Rupert-Mayer-Platz. Police would first and foremost remind the citizens of their obligation to wear masks, says a policeman. There are no plans to impose fines for the time being. Most of the pedestrians addressed were understanding. However, in the city center there are no signs indicating to the new measure. The city refers to the fact that information of the mandatory wearing of masks was released via social media and through displays at tram and train stations, leaflets have been printed and will be distributed by the police and the municipal enforcement service in future at their patrols. Posters are already in the works, as well. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 16)

Corona-positive person charged for visiting a family member in hospital

The Harz Clinic has filed charges against a corona-positive woman who visited a family member in hospital despite having virus symptoms herself and awaiting test results, which turned out to be positive. All patients and visitors to the clinic have to fill out a declaration that they have no symptoms, the Harzklinikum in Quedlinburg announced. The municipal hospital has now filed a report against the woman for intentional endangerment of patients, visitors, and employees. She has also been charged with providing a false statement on the patient and visitor declaration. (Tagesschau, October 16)

Study shows hand hygiene vital in combating coronavirus

A new study by Japanese scientists shows that the corona virus can survive up to nine hours on human skin. In the study, the Japanese research team applied both corona and influenza viruses to human skin to check how long the viruses remain active on it. By comparison, influenza viruses of type influenza A survived on the skin for just two hours. The sars-CoV-2 viruses, COVID-19, remained active on the skin for up to 11 hours. “The nine-hour survival time of sars-CoV-2 on human skin means an increased risk of contact transmission compared to the influenza A virus,” the authors conclude in the study published in the journal “Clinical Infectious Diseases.” After the researchers applied an ethanol-based disinfectant to the infected skin areas, all viruses were completely killed within 15 seconds. Their study results suggested, according to the researchers, the importance of thorough hand hygiene to prevent the virus from spreading. (Ntv, October 16)

Non-Corona News

Daimler makes one billion euros more profit than expected

In the third quarter, carmaker Daimler made a pre-tax profit of three billion euros. That is 300 million euros more than in the same period last year. Experts had thought a profit of no more than two billion euros was conceivable. The market has recovered faster than expected, said Daimler. Business had developed strongly, especially in September, and the savings program was taking effect. Daimler also expects good business for the rest of the year – if there are no new lockdowns. The Corona crisis had plunged Daimler deep into the red in the second quarter and led to a production stop for weeks. Daimler plans to make further savings in personnel costs. At its headquarters in Untertürkheim alone, the Group is considering cutting up to 4,000 jobs. Daimler is focusing on e-mobility and luxury vehicles. This will require fewer personnel. (SWR, October 16)