USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs – Local news translated – Oct 21, 2020
Germany pledges NATO soldiers for Corona missions
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense says, the German government has promised NATO support for emergency planning. According to this plan, medical personnel and other specialist from the troops would be made available for missions to defend against nuclear, biological, or chemical hazards as required. In total, 160 military specialists are expected to be deployed. (Ard, October 21)
Intensive care shortages involve personnel, not beds
Currently, six percent of individuals who test positive with COVID-19 are admitted to hospital. Approximately two percent of those patients require intensive care. The total number of intensive care patients with Covid-19 is currently “still relatively moderate.” According to Dr. Stefan Kluge, the head of intensive care medicine at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and virologist Dr. Sandra Ciesek, “the healthcare system is prepared for a further increase in the number of patients. “Nobody in Germany will die because they cannot get a respiratory bed. That will not happen,” says Kluge. There are currently enough free intensive care beds. The bottleneck is the personnel. “The lack of caregivers is our main problem. This was already the case before Corona. If more COVID patients have to be treated in intensive care units, staff will have to be reallocated within the clinic” and that will lead to a reduction in the performance of the other departments, we have to be very clear about that.” (Handelsblatt, October 21)
Obstacles in fight against virus not logistical but mental
Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder says for Germany, the biggest obstacles in fighting the pandemic are not logistical, but rather obstacles of political will. Söder has backed Bavarian district administrator Bernhard Kern for making the tough decision in Berchtesgaden to largely shut down public life. He said the decision had been necessary and right. At the same time, Söder defended himself against the accusation that Bavaria had not been sufficiently prepared for the second wave of Corona. There is no call for a “guilt debate.” Rather, he said, it was a matter of fighting the pandemic together, so as not to have to impose a comprehensive lockdown like in other European countries. Söder has the support of the majority of citizens who, according to nationwide surveys, find current German measures by and large correct. (Ard, October 21)
The Italian region of Lombardy imposes night curfew
The northern Italian region of Lombardy imposes a night-time curfew because of the spread of the coronavirus. Starting Oct 22 until Nov 13, citizens are required to stay indoors from 11 pm to 5 am, the authorities announced. Exceptions are possible for medical or professional reasons. The southern Italian region of Campania is also implementing a curfew starting on the 23rd. (NTV October 21)
What happens after the “Red Alert” stage?
According to information from the Robert Koch Institute on Tuesday, 134 of 416 districts, city districts or town councils have now exceeded the mark of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days. In further 77 regions, the traffic light is amber, as the so-called seven-day incidence there is higher than 35 – there too, the trend is currently mostly upward and moving towards red. As the State of Baden-Württemberg as a whole has already implemented the third and final stage of its pandemic plan, the question arises as to what is to happen after the red alert.
Which further measures are still possible can be seen with the local lockdown in the district of Berchtesgaden, which has the highest value in Germany at 236. Whether or not there would be regional shutdowns would still depend on local conditions. The head of the Federal States already agreed last week that “further targeted restriction steps are unavoidable” in hotspots above the 50 mark if the infection dynamics with what has already been implemented “does not come to a standstill within the next 10 days”.
If the speed of new corona infections continues to increase, the Stuttgart State government does not rule out another nationwide lockdown. Kretschmann justified the limitation of the number of participants at funeral services and open-air burials. “A funeral service with 100 people is not exactly at the limit of reverence now.” Nobody has to be afraid “that we would go to cemeteries and say: You are not allowed to stand there”. State churches and dioceses are well organized. The problems are to be found in Muslim and free church funeral ceremonies, where hundreds of people meet. Since Tuesday, the limit of 500 people has been in effect for religious events in open air. For open-air events in the event of deaths, a maximum of 100 people is authorized. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 21)
Politicians call for a Corona-Warning-App upgrade
In view of the increasing number of corona infections, politicians from several parties have called for an upgrade to the “Corona Warning App” with additional functions. It is not acceptable that only 60 per cent of positively tested users report their findings to the app. Up to now, users with a positive result have to actively agree so that their risk contacts are informed via the app. According to current government information, the Corona Warning App has now been downloaded 19.6 million times. In 1.8 million cases, test results have been transmitted via the app. Currently, about 500 infections per day are reported by users in the app and potential contact persons are informed. The use of the Corona-Warning-App is just as voluntary as the information about a positive result. The State government has made an urgent appeal to citizens to show discipline, otherwise another lockdown is eminent with the potential for enormous collateral damage, warned Minister President Winfried Kretschmann. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 21)
Restaurant Curfew and Alcohol Ban
Effective from October 22 (and initially, through November 8), the city of Stuttgart has instituted a curfew for restaurants and bars from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. The city has also implementing rules that restrict the sale of alcoholic beverages on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9 p.m. through the following morning. Consuming alcohol in public will be prohibited within the City Ring, as well in a number of parks and plazas in other areas of town, from 11 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. From October 22, “to go” sales of alcoholic beverages from restaurants is prohibited around the clock.(Stuttgarter Nachrichten, October 21)