Daily Host Nation Stories September 28, 2020
Germany reports 67 deaths in one week
In their daily reports, 11 of 16 German states report increases in the number of infections over the weekend. According to these reports, there were a total of 1203 new infections and two more deaths within 24 hours in Germany, which means 11,435 new cases and 67 deaths were registered in Germany in one week. (Ntv, September 28)
Pandemic has now claimed over one million lives
The number of deaths recorded worldwide in the Corona pandemic has exceeded the symbolic threshold of one million cases in total. This is the result of a census by the news agency AFP, based on information provided by the authorities. According to this, at 00:30 CEST there were exactly 1,000,009 deaths. The number of recorded cases of infection at that time was 33,018,877. (Taz, September 28)
Cinema industry leaders appeal for new rules
In a letter from AG Kino – German Film Art Theater to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, cinema industry leaders have called for a relaxation of the distance regulations in cinemas. The business has been hit hard financially by the pandemic. Even with doors open, the current distancing rules does not allow for enough occupancy to be financially feasible. In the letter, industry representatives pleaded for a nationwide rule, regulating that only one seat needs to remain vacant in between strangers, and while sitting, patrons would not be required to wear a mask. Currently, guidance for cinemas varies from state to state. The biggest complaint by managers is that the current regulation requires a distance between patrons well over 2 meters, which for cinema managers means a maximum occupancy rate of only 20 percent. (Focus, September 28)
Merkel expresses grave concerns over rising infection rates
Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed great concern about the increasing number of infections in Germany. She said in a video conference of the CDU presidium that local sources of infection must be tackled very clearly, otherwise there would be numbers like in France at Christmas, according to information from circles of participants. The Chancellor was quoted as saying that the infection figures in Europe were worrying. She said that everything possible must be done in Germany to prevent the numbers from rising exponentially. At the same time, Merkel expressed doubts that the Berlin state government was seriously trying to take measures against the outbreaks in view of the sharp rise in numbers in the capital. “Something must happen in Berlin,” said the Chancellor. This Tuesday, Merkel wants to hold a video conference with the Minister Presidents to discuss suitable measures against the rising infection figures. (Stern, September 28)
TUI to begin flying again to the Canary Islands
Despite the travel warning of the Federal Government, starting this weekend, TUI will offer flights to the Canary Islands. Customers can purchase package tours despite the infection risk and possible quarantine when they return to Germany. TUI Germany boss, Marek Andryszak, firmly believes “that many customers will weigh this up carefully,” and expects “that many customers will go on vacation despite travel warnings.” Andryszak stressed that this would not be in opposition to the current German policy. After all, travel warnings are not travel bans, but only recommendations to be careful. (Ntv, September 28)
Infection spreads in Baden-Württemberg schools
According to a Ministry of Education announcement last week, in the two weeks since the start of the new school year, 172 school classes in Baden-Württemberg have been taken out of so-called attendance classes. At 128 locations, classes are temporarily taught only in distance learning due to an infection with the coronavirus or the suspicion of an infection.
Meanwhile, the Green Party in the state parliament is demanding air filters for classrooms to reduce the risk of infection in schools and daycare centers. “The Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs must now do rapid preparatory work before even more school classes have to stay at home in the winter months,” the faction’s technology policy spokesman, Thomas Poreski, told the German Press Agency.
Aerosols, or the airborne liquid particles that can remain suspended in a closed space for hours, are considered the major driver of the corona pandemic. As life returns to the indoors with the coming of autumn and winter, the risk of corona infection increases. (Heidelberg24, September 28)
Police shutdown party over disregard for corona rules
The police in the North Rhine-Westphalian town of Hünxe (district of Wesel) broke up a birthday party with about 100 guests, because the Corona Protection Ordinance guidance were not being followed. The participants of the celebration had neither kept the required minimum distance nor had a guest list been kept, the police announced today. The officers had been called to the party on Saturday evening because there had been a physical altercation among the guests. When the party broke up, one guest behaved so aggressively that he was taken into police custody, and an ambulance called to treat the injured person. (Ntv, September 28)
Union strikes close more than 100 daycare centers
Stuttgart – Numerous children have to stay at home in Stuttgart today because of a warning strike in the public service. “Well over 100 daycare centers will remain completely closed today,” said Ariane Raad of the Verdi union on Monday morning. Estimates predict anywhere between 1000 to 2000 strikers will participate. School day-care centers were also affected by the warning strike in the wage conflict in the public service sector at federal and local level.
According to Verdi spokesman Andreas Henke, more warning strikes are planned for Tuesday. Two hospitals in the district of Goeppingen are affected, and work is to be stopped in local public transport throughout the state.
Verdi is demanding 4.8 percent more pay, or at least 150 euros more per month, for the 2.3 million public sector employees in the federal and local government across Germany. The employers have not yet submitted an offer in the first two rounds of negotiations. The third round of negotiations is scheduled for October 22 and 23. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, September 28)
The Filder cabbage is the star of Autumn
Just south of Stuttgart is the Filder plateau, famous for the pointed cabbage, which has been grown here for centuries. This type of cabbage accounts for only 10 percent of the cabbage industry, but enthusiasts consider it the much tastier variant of white cabbage. In particular, it can be shaved finer and has a much milder taste. Although the annual Filder Cabbage Festival has been cancelled due to the coronavirus, the pointed cabbage is enjoying increasing popularity both among star chefs and the general public and can be found this time of year in weekly markets in the Filder area. (BB24, September 27)
Woman assaulted on a Stuttgart S-Bahn
A 26-year-old woman filed a criminal complaint with police after being sexually harassed, verbally insulted, and then spat at while riding on a Stuttgart suburban train last Friday around 6:00 pm in the evening. She was riding the S1 in the direction of Herrenberg between the main station and the university. The suspect and an uninvolved companion fled in an unknown direction via the stairs at the University bus stop. Police are asking for witnesses to come forward by calling 0711 870 350. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, September 28)