Local news translated – Oct. 4, 2022

Graphic by U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs Office

Host Nation Update, Oct. 4, 2022

Changes to COVID Ordinances

On 27 SEP 22, B-W issued a change to its basic Coronavirus ordinance, to align it with the federal Infection Protection Law (IfSG). The changes went into effect on 01 OCT 22 and are valid until 30 NOV 22, codify the requirement to wear a surgical or FFP2 mask on local public transportation in B-W. The federal IfSG requires passengers to wear FFP2 masks while traveling in public long-distance ground transportation. Passengers who transfer from local to long-distance public transportation during their trip need to be aware of the differences in mask requirements. Separately, B-W has dropped the requirement for children and youths to show a negative test before returning to their CDCs or schools. (B-W) 


Corona pandemic in Germany – New rules apply – infection figures rise

After the new Corona rules came into force, different signals continue to come from the federal government on the COVID course. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) called on the states to enact new rules such as mandatory masks indoors in view of rising infection figures. Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP), on the other hand, pointed out that they could lift the isolation requirement on their own – and disregard expert recommendations if necessary.  Lauterbach had previously again urged caution. He circulated on Twitter a graphic, which shows the strong COVID spread in Bavaria and especially Munich since the beginning of the Oktoberfest. Nationwide uniformly there is a FFP2 mask obligation at present only in long-distance trains and long-distance buses, nursing homes, hospitals and medical practices. The health ministers of the individual states are sticking to the mask requirements in regional transport. With the new regulation, the states can impose even stricter measures on their own, such as mandatory masks in stores and restaurants. Currently, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) is recording sharply rising infection figures. On Saturday morning, the RKI gave the nationwide seven-day incidence as 497.0. However, it is actually likely to be much higher, as by far not all infected people have a PCR test done, so they are not even recorded.   Nevertheless, some federal states have called for an end to the obligation to isolate infected persons. Buschmann stressed that they could decide this at their own discretion. “There is only a recommendation from the RKI, therefore, I can only call out to these state governments: Go ahead, you have all the options!”  

RKI recommends that states order five days of isolation for infected persons – and not end self-isolation until test is negative. Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse and Schleswig-Holstein, on the other hand, want infected people to remain at home on their own responsibility.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 4) 

German Reunification Day – Wolfgang Schäuble invokes unity in Stuttgart

Representatives from local and state politics, representatives of the U.S. military stationed in Stuttgart, as well as representatives from culture, justice and business associations marked the 32nd anniversary of German reunification on Monday with a ceremony in the black-red-gold decorated Great Meeting Hall of the City Hall. The keynote address, entitled “What does reunification mean to us – then and now?” was given by Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU). In his welcoming speech, Stuttgart’s Lord Mayor Frank Nopper (CDU) reminded the audience that the former president of the Bundestag was also the longest-serving member of parliament in German history.

Schäuble, who celebrated his 80th birthday just a few days ago, had traveled directly from Erfurt on Monday, where this year’s central celebrations for German Unity Day were taking place. In his speech, the politician recalled that Germany owes the “happiest moment in recent German history” to former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who died on Aug. 30 of this year. He stressed that German reunification in 1990 could only succeed because all those with political responsibility understood “an unshakable adherence to cooperation and security” as prerequisites for the peaceful success of the reunification process.  Schäuble thus drew parallels from security policy before and during reunification to the current threat to peace in Europe posed by Russian aggression against Ukraine. Self-critically, Schäuble said that already after Vladimir Putin’s speech in the German Bundestag in 2001, “we could have known” what policy the Russian president was pursuing. “We didn’t want to see it,” Schäuble said, at the same time emphasizing that “historical know-it-allism” would not help at this point in time.  Not only do we now need renewed willingness to cooperate and partner,” Schäuble continued. “We also want to cooperate with a Russia that abides by a minimum of international rules.” At the same time, the politician stressed “that a credible deterrent” is indispensable and that this can only succeed in Europe together with the United States.  With regard to the state of the West’s liberal democracies based on the rule of law, Schäuble said that the greatest current crisis is the “dwindling support for democracy” all over the world. However, Schäuble said that the stability of democracies depended on “each and every one assuming his or her responsibility for democracy and the cohesion of our society.”  After the 320 or so guests in Stuttgart’s City Hall thanked Schäuble for his speech with a prolonged round of applause, those present in the hall sang the German national anthem to conclude the event.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 4)