Daily Host Nation Stories September 30, 2020
Government emergency summit announces revised corona guidelines
In regions severely affected by the Corona virus, only a maximum of 50 people will be authorized to gather and participate in celebrations in public places. A limit of no more than 25 persons will be authorized for celebrations at home. In the future, guests of restaurants, pubs or bars, who willingly make false statements about their data (name, addresses and phone numbers) can face fines of 50 Euros. (In the State of Schleswig-Holstein even up to 1000 Euros.) These new measures will go into effect whenever more than 35 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants occur in a district within seven days. If more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants occur within a seven-day-period, then no more than 25 participants can attend events in rented or public spaces, and then it would be strongly recommended that no more than ten people attend celebrations in private places. The state of Saxony-Anhalt is the only outlier. Saxony-Ahhalt does not issue fines and has recently abolished the use of contact lists.
During the summit Merkel emphasized that the so-called AHA formula (1.5 meter distance, wash hands, the wearing of masks) remains unchanged. And she added that the practice of ventilation needs to be added to hygiene practices and taken seriously. Ventilation could become one of the most effective and cheapest measures in the fight against the pandemic. The German government plans to invest 500 million euros to modernize ventilation systems.
Merkel stressed that a second nationwide lockdown was to be prevented at all costs. It was necessary to “act regionally, specifically and precisely.” For example, entire schools should no longer be quarantined, but rather only the “affected clusters.” In addition, a testing strategy for teachers and children “and a specific behavior when an infection occurs” is needed. According to Merkel, the Federal Government’s top priority is was to keep the economy running and schools and daycare centers open. Therefore, the Chancellor said, it was still important to adhere to the rules of hygiene.
A new color warning scheme is being planned which will link specific infection numbers to a certain color which will have uniform protocols that then would apply across the regions. This would create more clarity than before, and still taking into account the level of infections on site. (TV news “Tagesschau”, Sep 29)
Testing strategies for autumn and winter
For autumn and winter, the Federal States want to define exactly when a corona test is useful for school children with symptoms and when not. This, in conjunction with “quick access to a regional testing facility”, should ensure “that students would miss school as little as possible.” Then “rapid tests” could also be used more frequently, which in suitable cases should replace or supplement the existing laboratory tests. In the expectation that there will be more people with symptoms of the disease in the autumn and winter, the German government will soon present a concept for fever outpatient clinics and specialist practices that will help to prevent overburdening other places. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Sep 30)
760 people in Stuttgart in quarantine
Currently in Stuttgart there are 220 people listed as acutely infectious with the virus and 760 people are in quarantine. A few dozen cases of the seriously infected have occurred in schools and daycare centers, which is why many close contacts have had to go into quarantine. In August, the public health department identified an average of two to three contact persons for each infected person. These people were “usually in the same household.” (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Sep 30)