Local news translated – Oct 23, 2020

USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs – Local news translated – Oct 23, 2020

Merkel to issue government statement next week

In view of the worsening pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to make a government statement before the parliament. The goal of her speech on Thursday morning is to explain the government’s policy in the Corona pandemic, said government spokesman Steffen Seibert in Berlin. In doing so, the Chancellor is also reacting to demands from the opposition. (Ntv, October 23)

A Berlin lockdown possible

Several Berlin districts are in the top 20 of the German corona hotspots, and the governing mayor of the capital considers a new lockdown possible. “I have to admit that it can no longer be ruled out,” Michael Müller said on ZDF last night. The SPD politician appealed to Berliners to stick to the rules. If necessary, the upper limits for the number of participants at major events may have to be lowered once again. (ZDF, October 23)

Vaccination will take at least a half a year longer

Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn estimates a possible vaccination of the population against the novel coronavirus to take at least another six months. As soon as sufficient vaccine is available, “in six or seven months a large number of those who want to be vaccinated can be vaccinated,” he told “Der Spiege.l” Spahn reaffirmed that there will be no compulsory vaccination. Regarding the potential vaccine, the minister said: “Of course, it would be best if a vaccine would prevent new infections. However, it would also be a gain “if it would alleviate the course of the disease,” he added. When a vaccine will be available is still an open question. He added that this could be done “early next year.” It could be January, perhaps February or March – or even later. (Ard, October 23)

Virus detectable in wastewater

The idea of searching for the coronavirus in wastewater has been around for some time. The British government now announces that this can actually be detected there, as studies would have shown. The newspaper “Guardian” reports that such detection could act as an early warning system. Infections could thus be detected before symptoms break out. The authorities could then become particularly active in the affected areas. (Ntv, October 23)

Poland tightens measures

Poland is tightening restrictions on public life in the face of rising corona numbers. Only a maximum of five people are allowed to meet, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced. In-class attendance at schools will only be through the third grade. Pupils from the fourth grade have returned to home school. In addition, children may only leave home between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. if accompanied by an adult. People older than 70 are recommended to go outside only in urgent cases. Furthermore, restaurants are only allowed to sell food outside the house. (Ntv, October 23)

Infection rates across Europe have doubled in ten days

Coronavirus infections in Europe have more than doubled in the past ten days, according to a count by the Reuters news agency. On Thursday, the number of new cases in Europe rose above the 200,000 mark for the first time, and on October 12 the 100,000 mark was exceeded for the first time. According to the census, the total number of infections in Europe amounts to 7.8 million and 247,000 deaths. (Ntv, October 23) 

Mask wearing at schools has been relaxed during recess

Schools are relaxing the mask wearing requirement during recess if students can keep the proper distance from one another. This is in reaction to justified feedback from the schools and parents, as the permanent obligation to wear masks is a particular burden for the students and also for the teachers. The mask can also be dispensed with during exams, as long as the distance is maintained. The mask must still be worn during regular classtime. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 23)

Baden-Württemberg seeks to avoid state-wide shutdown

The Ministry of Social Affairs of Baden-Württemberg does not see any reason for a state-wide shutdown at present. “Exceeding the 50 threshold for the 7-day incidence nationwide is no reason for a shutdown in Baden-Württemberg. The number of cases alone cannot be the decisive factor in this,” said a ministry spokesperson. However, he also stressed: “The figures are worrying. We are in the middle of the second wave.”  With the Corona Ordinance, even stricter measures were taken nationwide on Saturday, he said. Whether all of these measures are effective or not, will be seen in one to two weeks time. In view of the increasing number of new infections with the coronavirus, citizens must now take responsibility. In concrete terms, this means reducing contacts by at least half, avoiding unnecessary travel, and consistently adhering to the rules of distance and hygiene. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 23)

Non-Corona News

Phone scams on the rise in Böblingen

In the past few days, the police have registered an increase in the number of phone scams, especially in the Böblingen district. Criminals seek to convince victims to hand over or transfer a specific amount of money. The callers, who usually contact elderly people, pretend to be employees of a lottery company, bank employees, grandchildren, Microsoft employees, or policemen, and then pretend that the called person won money, but must pay a fee before collecting the larger amount. In the cleverly and sometimes aggressively conducted phone calls, they put the called parties under pressure to hand over or transfer money or valuables. Police remind the public to never give out any personal information over the phone, especially regarding your financial situation, and especially if you did not initiate the call or conversation. Never give money or other valuables to unknown people. As soon as a call seems suspicious to you, hang up and inform the police. (BB Heute, October 23)

Members of child pornography rings identified

The criminal investigation department in Waldshut-Tiengen has charged twelve further suspects in the course of a preliminary investigation for possession and distribution of child pornography. Eleven of the suspects were working out of Germany. The persons identified are nine men and one woman between the ages of 20 and 61 years, as well as a teenager. (SWR, October 23)