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German 101-year-old sneaks out of nursing home amid coronavirus lockdown

A 101-year-old woman crept out of an old people's home in a bid to get to visit her daughter on her birthday, German police said Tuesday.

German 101-year-old sneaks out of nursing home amid coronavirus lockdown
File photo: DPA

Officers intercepted her after she had escaped via an emergency exit at the home in Lower Saxony, northern Germany.

Brunswick police said they were called out after the elderly woman lost her way in her search for her daughter's house in a suburb.

Although she claimed that she lived with her daughter, officers suspected the truth.

When they brought her to the house, the daughter explained that her mother had moved into the old people's home only two weeks before and had been “missing her daughter terribly”.

Police said the elderly woman was able to see her daughter – from the safety of the patrol car's window – before they brought her back to the home.

Germany has been under nationwide lockdown for more than two weeks, with gatherings of more than two people in public banned and most businesses and institutions closed.

READ ALSO: Germany bans gatherings of more than two to control coronavirus spread

Old people's homes have been closed to visitors to limit the spread of infection to their vulnerable residents.

Last week, Brunswick prosecutors confirmed they were investigating an old people's home in Wolfsburg, after 22 people died there following coronavirus infections.

READ ALSO: What's the latest on coronavirus in Germany and what do I need to know?

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COVID-19

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Since the start of Germany’s Oktoberfest, the incidence of Covid infections in Munich has risen sharply. Though a connection with the festival can’t yet be proven, it seems likely.

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Two weeks after the start of Oktoberfest, the Covid numbers in Munich have more than tripled.

On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an incidence of 768.7 for the city of Munich, though updated figures for the end of the festival are not expected until later in the week. Usually, on weekends and public holidays, there is a delay in reports.

In the entire state of Bavaria, the incidence value on Sunday was 692.5.

According to Munich’s public health officer, Beatrix Zurek, bed occupancy in Munich hospitals has also increased. Two weeks ago, 200 beds in Munich were occupied by Covid patients, whereas there are now around 350.

Though a relationship between the sharp rise in infections with Oktoberfest, which ended on Monday, can’t be proven at the moment, it seems very likely, according to experts. A significant increase in Covid incidences has also been shown at other public festivals – about one and a half weeks after the start. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, around 5.7 million visitors came to this year’s Wiesn according to the festival management – around 600,000 fewer than at the last Oktoberfest before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) took to Twitter to comment on the rise in incidence in Munich during the Oktoberfest. “This would not have been necessary if self-tests had been taken before admission,” he said.

“Compared to the price of a measure of beer, €2-3 (for tests) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.

Even before the start of the Wiesn, he had spoken out in favour of people taking voluntary self-tests. Lauterbach stressed that now is the time for special measures against Covid.

“The development shows what will happen if the states wait too long with the mask obligation in indoor areas,” he added.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

In neighbouring counties, where many Oktoberfest visitors came from, the number of Covid cases has also risen noticeably.  Beatrix Zurek said that it is unclear, however, how much of a role Oktoberfest played in these figures, as people are currently much more active socially overall, with concerts and other events also taking place throughout the state.

Christoph Spinner, an infections specialist at Munich’s Klinikum, has urged people not to be alarmed by the rising numbers.

“We had expected rising incidences here. We knew that there could be a doubling, tripling, even quadrupling,” he said.

He said that this is no cause for concern, as many people have been vaccinated or have also recovered from previous Covid infections, so any new infections are therefore usually mild.

The virologist advises people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions to get a second booster vaccination, but otherwise said people shouldn’t be alarmed by the rising incidences.

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