LATEST: Germany reports 6,868 new coronavirus infections as more hotspots declared

On Tuesday morning, Germany recorded 6,868 new coronavirus infections within the past 24 hours.

LATEST: Germany reports 6,868 new coronavirus infections as more hotspots declared
A woman with a facemask at the Marktplatz in Aachen, one of Germany's current hotspots. Photo: DPA

The figure is considerably higher than the 4,122 cases registered one week ago. 

The number of new daily infections reached 7,830 on Saturday, the third consecutive record since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in Germany. 

However, the current figures can only be compared with those from the spring to a limited extent, because considerably more tests are now being carried out – and thus more infections are being detected.

READ ALSO: More than 100 districts declared risk zones in Germany: What you need to know

Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, at least 373,167 people in Germany have been infected with the Sars-CoV-2 virus, according to RKI.

There have been 9,836 deaths resulting from the virus, with 47 within the last 24 hours. A total of 298,300 people have reported themselves to have recovered.

According to the RKI management report of Monday, the reproduction rate, or R-value for short, was 1.35 in Germany (down from 1.44 the previous day). 

This means that 10 people with coronavirus infect on average 13 to 14 other people. The R-value reflects the course of infection about one and a half weeks before.

Situation around Germany

As the map below shows, a few regions around Germany are particularly affected. The Bavarian district Berchtesgadener Land went into a lockdown as its seven-day incidence of infections climbed to the highest level in Germany, or 272.8 cases per 100,000 residents. 

The RKI considers city or district to be a risk area if infections climb above a value of 50.

This graph from DPA shows Germany's current hotspots as of Tuesday morning.

As of Tuesday morning, the entire Ruhr Area in northwest Germany was also catagorised as a risk area, with Cologne showing a value of 97.8. The cities of Aachen, Solingen, Gelsenkirchen and Herne also had values over 100.

In the meantime, the President of the German Teachers' Association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, called for class sizes to be reduced in coronavirus hotspots.

“At the current values we should return to alternating classes with reduced operation,” he told the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung on Tuesday.

He added that he does not yet know of any schools in Germany who have been following this model, which was frequently used as schools reopened following the lockdown in March and April. 

A Germany-wide debate on sealing off hotspots, such as Berchtesgadener Land in southern Bavaria, also arose on Tuesday.

READ ALSO: Should Germany impose border controls as as Covid-19 rates rise across Europe?

In light of the rising infections, German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently made an appeal for people in Germany to stay home as much as possible.

“Meet with significantly fewer people, whether outside or at home,” said Merkel. “Give up any trip that is not really essential, any celebration that is not really essential.”


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EXPLAINED: The new rules around getting a sick note over the phone in Germany

Due to high Covid infection numbers throughout the summer, it’s now possible to get a sick note from a doctor over the phone again for some illnesses. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: The new rules around getting a sick note over the phone in Germany

What’s happened?

In spring 2020, German authorities changed the law so that people with a mild upper respiratory tract illness, such as the common cold, were able to get an incapacity to work certificate or AU-Bescheinigung by simply calling and speaking to their GP.

The rule was extended several times and finally reversed on June 1st this year due to falling infection figures. Since then people have had to go back to the practice – or do a video call if the doctor’s office has that system in place – to get a sick note.

Now, due to a decision by the Joint Federal Committee, the regulation has been reintroduced and patients can call their GP again for a sick note.

Can I get a sick note over the phone for any illness?

No. As before, the regulation only applies to patients suffering from a mild upper respiratory tract illness. Though Covid has not explicitly been named in the announcement, it seems that it is intended to be covered by the regulation.

If the doctor is convinced that the patient is unfit for work after a telephone consultation, then they can issue a sick note for up to seven days.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The changes around doctor’s notes in Germany you should know

If the symptoms persist after seven days, the certificate can be extended once more for another week.

Why now?

According to the Chairman of the G-BA, Josef Hecken, the regulation has been introduced now as a response to rising Covid numbers and in anticipation of the cold and flu season in the coming months: “We want to avoid full waiting rooms in doctors’ offices and the emergence of new infection chains,” he said.

The telephone sick leave rule is a simple, proven and uniform nationwide solution for that, he said. The rule is also necessary because video consultation hours are not yet available everywhere.

What else should I know?

The health insurer DAK is calling for telephone sick leave in the case of light respiratory diseases to be made possible on a permanent basis in Germany. DAK’s CEO Andreas Storm said that this should “not always be up for debate, because it has proven itself.” 

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about making a doctor’s appointment in Germany

The social association VdK also welcomed the reintroduction of the rule. The VdK’s President Verena Bentele said that the regulation would help to protect high-risk groups in particular from potential infections.

What are the rules to know about sick notes in Germany?

Germany has a strict system in place. If you are sick, you need to give your employer a Krankmeldung (notification of sickness) before the start of work on the first day (of your illness).

However, you also need to hand in a Krankschreibung (doctor’s note) on the fourth day of your illness. Some employments contracts, however, require you to submit a sick not earlier than the fourth day so check with your boss or HR on that point.