Several injured in Germany as Storm Ciara halts trains

A tree blocks a road in the Taunus region in a strong storm near Frankfurt, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 10 February 2020

Several injured in Germany as Storm Ciara halts trains

  • Two women were badly hurt by a falling tree in Saarbruecken on the French border
  • Weather forecasters said winds of up to 170 kilometers per hour (105 miles per hour) had hit mountainous areas

FRANKFURT: Three people were seriously injured as Storm Ciara battered Germany on Sunday and Monday, lashing the country with high winds that forced the rail operator to suspend intercity trains.

Two women were badly hurt by a falling tree in Saarbruecken on the French border, with one of them receiving life-threatening injuries, police said overnight.

Further north in Paderborn, a 16-year-old boy was hit on the head by a falling branch.

Weather forecasters said winds of up to 170 kilometers per hour (105 miles per hour) had hit mountainous areas.

State-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) shut down intercity trains on Sunday evening and warned there would be more disruption as the storm heads south.

“Several hundred” travelers slept overnight in trains set up for those stranded in stations, DB said.

Hundreds of flights were canceled at the largest airports, including 190 in Frankfurt and 420 in Munich, news agency DPA reported.

In the financial capital Frankfurt, police said a construction crane had struck the roof of the cathedral, but could not immediately detail the extent of the damage.

Storm Ciara mostly struck northern and western Germany as it swept Europe with powerful winds overnight between Sunday and Monday.

On Monday, the German Weather Service (DWD) declared the second-highest storm warning in effect across southern Germany, with parts of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg states even labelled with the highest.


Seoul mulls electronic wristbands for quarantine violators 

Updated 08 April 2020

Seoul mulls electronic wristbands for quarantine violators 

  • Repeat offenders face $8,000 fines or up to one year in prison

SEOUL: South Korea is considering electronic wristbands as a way to track people who break quarantine conditions amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The idea follows a rising number of people flouting the rules, leaving their homes despite the government’s tough stance against violations.

South Korea reported 53 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the nation’s total number of infections to 10,384, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while the total number of reported deaths rose to 200. 

“A majority of people are following self-isolation rules, but there have been some cases of (people) leaving (designated venues),” Yoon Tae-ho, director-general for public health policy at the Ministry of Health, told reporters. “Unless the self-isolation rules are observed, it will make the government consider various options to prevent such a move.”

Authorities were looking for practical and effective ways to monitor people isolated at homes and facilities, he said, adding there were concerns about electronic wristbands in terms of privacy and the infringements of rights.

The electronic wristband, which would be connected to a mobile app, would trigger an alarm and alert authorities when it moved more than 10 meters away from the smartphone installed with the app, ministry officials said.

South Korea has a two-week quarantine period for all international arrivals. Authorities have found 75 people breaching the self-isolation rules, and six of them are to be prosecuted.

The government has increased penalties for quarantine violators to a maximum one-year jail term or $8,000 in fines.

Several people, including foreign nationals, have in recent weeks broken the self-isolation rules put in place to combat the spread of coronavirus. 

The city of Gunpo, south of Seoul, reported a married couple in their 50s to the police for ignoring the rules. Health authorities found that the couple, who had tested positive for the virus, went out several times during the self-isolation period to visit an art gallery, lottery shops, supermarkets, and banks.  

In Gunsan, around 270 kilometers south of Seoul, three Vietnamese students were found leaving their quarantine premises without permission on April 3. They went out, leaving their smartphones behind to avoid being tracked by the authorities. The Ministry of Justice is now considering deporting the students.