Local news translated – Oct 29, 2020

USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs – Local news translated – Oct 29, 2020

German-wide partial lockdown begins Nov 2nd

A partial lockdown will now begin in Germany on 2 November and last until 30 November under terms agreed by Chancellor Angela Merkel and the 16 state premiers. Bars and restaurants will close except for takeaway. Bars and restaurants will close except for takeaway. Theaters, fitness studios, cinemas, concert halls and swimming pools will also have to close until the end of the month. Social contacts will be limited to two households with a maximum of 10 people, and tourism will be halted. Schools, daycare centers, and retail outlets will remain open. The goal is with strict measures now, Germans will be able to celebrate Christmas in the circle of loved ones, without contact restrictions. Chancellor Merkel said in order for Germany to avoid an “acute national health emergency” it would require a “national effort.” Otherwise, Germany would be “at the limits of the health system’s capacity within weeks.” (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 29)

Basic Law Article 13 comes under scrutiny by health experts

German Basic Law Article 13 states “the integrity of the home is untouchable.” Interventions and restrictions may only be made to avert a common danger or a danger to life for individual persons, and by law also to prevent urgent dangers to public safety and order, to combat the danger of epidemics or to protect endangered young people. Searches may only be ordered by a judge, in case of imminent danger, also by other authorities, provided for by law, and can only be executed as stated in the article 13. Dr. Karl Lauterbach of the Social Democratic Party, however has stated publicly in reference to the pandemic that the country is in a national emergency, and that the “integrity of the home should no longer be an argument for lack of controls.” If private celebrations in apartments and houses endanger public health and security, the authorities should be able to access the homes and intervene.” (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 29)

58 of 60 laboratory COVID results detected as false positives

A medical laboratory from Augsburg has delivered several dozen false positive corona test results according to the district of Upper Bavaria. The error was noticed in the Isar-Amper-Klinikum in Taufkirchen (Vils) on Saturday, said district spokeswoman Susanne Büllesbach on Wednesday. Previously, the “Münchner Merkur” had reported about the mishap. According to the report, 60 positive tests were registered in the district’s own clinic in one day after analysis by the laboratory in Swabia. This seemed strange to the hospital staff. “We noticed the sheer number of positive tests,” said the spokeswoman. A follow-up examination, which was also carried out by the service provider from Augsburg, revealed that in fact only two of the 60 patients had been infected with the coronavirus. According to this, 58 tests were wrong. The clinic assumes that there was a technical error in the laboratory, explained Büllesbach. The company is one of the largest providers of laboratory diagnostics in Germany. According to the service provider, more than 1500 employees work in the laboratories nationwide. According to a spokeswoman, however, the LGL does not have a complete overview of the procedures used in private laboratories. A few days ago, a Bavarian soccer player who plays for the known “FC Bayern” league, also tested positive for Corona. After half a dozen check-ups, which were all negative, a false positive result had also occurred in his case. After the breakdown at the local service provider, the city of Augsburg announced that the municipality would no longer have their COVID tests conducted by that private Augsburg office. (Welt.de, October 29)

Restaurant owners furious about another lockdown

The pandemic is hitting the restaurants in Stuttgart and surrounding areas hard. They have had to invest in upgrades to increase hygiene rules. Many have purchased additional outdoor seating to meet social distancing rules and invested in heating lamps to keep customers warm as the weather turns colder. Only to to be shutdown again. “This is a mess! A new lockdown is “a restriction of basic rights.” Urs Zondler, owner of  “Ochs’n Willi” (Steak Restaurant) had recently invested close to 70,000 Euros for a winter hut for up to 70 guests and extra tables for the square in front of the restaurant. Other restaurateurs, who have sought and found creative solutions for the cold season, now feel they are also being taken for a ride. Michael Zeyer is therefore clearly at odds with politics. His assessment of the situation: “The storm was in spring, and here comes the hurricane.” The hotel and restaurant association has therefore already announced that it will take legal action against the closure of the gastronomy. If a restaurant owner starts the winter with debts after the first lockdown, the current restrictions will of course hit him even harder. It can be expected that many businesses will not survive the winter. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 29)

Great concern about possible school closures

As Germany and the Southwest of Baden-Württemberg in particular become a corona hotspot, there is growing concern among parents that schools and daycare centers could be closed again. The Institute for Public Opinion Research in Allensbach has explicitly asked how important it is to citizens “that reliable care for children in schools and childcare facilities is guaranteed even in times of crisis.” An overwhelming 92 percent of the parents surveyed believe that this is very important (58 percent) or important (34 percent). Adding to the discontent with current events, for an economically strong state like Baden-Württemberg, it is problematic that citizens rate their own technical equipment at home better than the digital infrastructure of the schools. 69 percent of parents do not see their private equipment with computers and Internet access as a problem in distance learning. On the contrary, well over half of them consider their children’s school to be technically unsatisfactory: 21 percent rate the digital equipment there as very poor and a further 37 percent as poor. Only 30 percent of parents consider their children’s school to be well equipped. The conclusion of the opinion polls: “The often-cited digitalization push by Corona seems to have only reached schools to a limited extent so far. (StN, Oct 29)