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CHRISTMAS

World-famous Nuremberg Christmas market cancelled over Covid-19 concerns

The German city of Nuremberg has cancelled its world-renowned Christmas market over soaring coronavirus cases, officials said on Monday.

World-famous Nuremberg Christmas market cancelled over Covid-19 concerns
View of the Christkindelsmarket in December 2018. Photo: DPA

The worsening pandemic has already forced a slew of other German cities,
including Berlin, Düsseldorf and Cologne, to announce they are scrapping or severely curtailing their Christmas markets.

READ ALSO: Berlin's famous Gendarmenmarkt cancelled due to coronavirus concerns

“After much deliberation and in order to protect the population, we have come to the conclusion that the Christmas market will not take place this year,” Nuremberg mayor Marcus König said in a statement.

Germany is home to some 2,500 Christmas markets each year that are popular
with visitors who come to sip mulled wine, nibble on roasted chestnuts and
shop for seasonal trinkets among clusters of wooden chalets.

They draw about 160 million domestic and international visitors annually who bring in revenues of €3 to €5 billion, according to the BSM stallkeepers' industry association.

Nuremberg's “Christkindlesmarkt”, famous for its “Christkind” Christmas
gift bringer dressed in a golden crown and robes, attracts more than two
million visitors annually.

READ ALSO: Quiz: How well do you know these festive German traditions?

It is also one of Germany's biggest and oldest such markets.

Germany has seen a surge in Covid-19 cases over the past week and has
regularly reported more than 10,000 new cases a day.

With regional disagreements hampering efforts to fight the virus, Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet the heads of Germany's 16 states on Wednesday in a bid to agree new national measures.

Merkel made a renewed plea on Saturday on citizens to limit their contacts
and avoid unnecessary travel to prevent further transmission of the virus.

“How the winter will go, how our Christmas will be, all that will be decided in the coming days and weeks,” she said.

She acknowledged that the curbs are “not only difficult but also a painful
sacrifice”.

“But we must do it only temporarily, and we're doing it for ourselves: for
our own health and that of everyone we can spare from falling ill.”

The country has recorded 437,866 cases and 10,056 deaths so far, according
to the Robert Koch Institute disease control centre.

Member comments

  1. What’s going to be the impact on Nuernbergers with this cancellation? My guess is that it’s several hundred million euros to the local economy. Businesses go bankrupt. People struggle for years due to lost income. Maybe the Christkindlmarkt is not the same for years (or ever). And this is just one tiny example. It’s very easy to believe that the cure is literally much worse than the disease.

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HEALTH

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. 

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