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18. June 2020

Update from the Chancellor: Status Quo – Corona Warning App – Returning to Germany

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It is now close to three months that we have all been navigating in the current reality created by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and together have managed to continue our academic journey under the new pretense of online blended learning.

With this academic term coming to an end in a few weeks, I thank all of you for remaining calm and adapting so quickly. We all learned and lived with a new reality and a new terminology.

From a small news item in China, we rapidly went to an epidemic in the City of Wuhan and finally to a pandemic that has affected the whole world.

We learned what the difference is between a lockdown (e.g. France, Italy, Spain, India, …) and a shelter-in-place or stay-at-home (e.g. Germany and the Netherlands), which incorporated social-distancing and home isolation. Self-quarantine, self-isolation, home-office and home-schooling became part of our daily vocabulary and life.

And all of us quickly learned what the coronaviruses are, what the incubation time is, what droplet transmission is, what do we mean by ‘asymptomatic’, what super-spreaders are, what the R-Factor is and that we need to wear facemasks and wash our hands with soap diligently and more often than ever before (Most of us do not leave home without a hand sanitizer in our pockets).

All these measures were focused at slowing the transmission and, by this, reducing the infections – Flattening the Curve. And to a certain extent, the world community has been able to slow, not stop, the spread.

We have been exposed to the medical and economic consequences of the pandemic, but we have also been challenged by a global media landscape that was dictated by competing and at times very confusing and contradictory messages.

Not to forget, the endless word-of-mouth and social media galore that facilitated the easy spread of false news, false hope, conspiracy theories and drama.

During this time, we were also dramatically reminded how systemic racism, social inequality and discrimination are still part of our societies. We all must hope that the death of George Floyd is remembered and that we all contribute to making the world a better place.

So, it fills me with a lot of pride, that we as academics, ranging from our pathway students and our MBA students to our most senior faculty members, despite all of above (and much more) have remained calm and focused on our studies and, with that, the future.

How effective the measures by the government in Germany and Bavaria have been can be seen by the lowering of the regulations concerning our daily lives, which were published yesterday by the Bavarian prime minister Dr. Söder:

From Wednesday, 17th of June, following regulation are eased:

  • Meetings of up to 10 people are allowed in public places. The minimum distance of 1.5 meters is still mandatory.
  • Meetings in private space are not limited anymore, as long as the minimum distance of 1.5 meters is maintained.
  • Public events inside can take place with 50 participants.
  • Public events outside can take place with 100 participants.

From Monday 22nd of June, following regulations are eased:

  • Restaurants & Bars: Restaurants and beer gardens will be allowed to open in the evening for an extra hour and serve guests until 11 pm. Pubs and bars must remain closed for the moment.
  • Events & Celebrations: The ban on large events remains in place, but smaller gatherings – in a more private setting – will be permitted, especially weddings, funerals, birthdays, graduation celebrations and work meetings. Up to 50 people can take part in indoor meetings and up to 100 people in outdoor meetings.
  • Culture & Recreation: The maximum number of visitors to concerts, cinema and theatre performances will be increased; arts and cultural events may have 100 visitors indoors and up to 200 visitors outdoors.
  • Retail: The minimum square metre per customer will be halved from 20 to 10 square metres. This means that twice as many people will then be able to shop in stores. Staff in counter or checkout areas will also no longer have to wear face masks if they are protected by plexiglass panels.
  • Travel: Travel will again be permitted in most European countries. Travel in the EU, Great Britain and the Schengen states (Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein) is again possible. At the same time, restrictions at Europe’s internal borders and mutual quarantine obligations are to be lifted.
  • Religious services: From next week on, slightly more people will be allowed to attend public services.
  • Schools: Attendance & classes for all grades at all types of schools are to be resumed. There will be further loosening of the rules for the opening of kindergartens and nursery schools.

Irrespective of the loosening, contact restrictions and the obligation to wear face masks in shops as well as in local and long-distance traffic will continue to apply in Bavaria.

More details in English can be found here:
https://www.br.de/nachrichten/deutschland-welt/coronavirus-in-bavaria-assistance-in-english,RtO8eS2

In order to support the slowing down of the transmission, I highly recommend that you download the Corona Warning app for your smartphone.

For all those who are worried about privacy rights, the app only stores date locally and is a tracing app; not a tracking app.

All independent authorities in Germany have lauded the app for being safe to use and because all privacy concerns are covered.

Please follow the link below, for the official English website of the German government for the Corona-Warn-App:

https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-de/themen/corona-warn-app/corona-warn-app-englisch

A good video explanation in English on how the app works:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4KzZF8XrTU

Yesterday, researchers from Oxford University made it public that they have discovered that Dexamethasone, a widely available and affordable medication, could help save the lives of seriously ill patients.

For more information please follow this link:

https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53061281

With the easing of the regulations and with the first small but significant scientific advances, it seems that we can slowly see a small light at the end of the tunnel.

We all must understand, that this deadly disease is far from being banished; we have merely slowed down its all too rapid progression and we must continue to adhere to wearing a mask, washing our hands and maintaining the 1.5 safety distance at all possible times.

Considering the current developments, I feel comfortable with the thought that we will soon be able to return to our academic life on campus – probably with facemasks and clear hygiene regulations, but in times like these a small step already creates a huge difference.

Sending you all my very best regards,
stay safe – stay healthy,

Sascha Liebhardt

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Sascha Liebhardt
Chancellor | Founder | Managing Director 

T: +49 (0) 89 8130 2018
M: + 49 (0) 160 96 88 48 79
chancellor@new-european-college.com
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