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LIVING IN GERMANY

LATEST: Germany sees new record of daily Covid-19 cases

The number of coronavirus cases recorded within 24 hours reached their highest level so far on Friday.

LATEST: Germany sees new record of daily Covid-19 cases
A face mask on the ground in Berlin. Photo: DPA

What's the coronavirus situation right now?

On Friday morning, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 23,648 new Covid-19 infections within 24 hours, which is more than the previous peak recorded one week ago (23,542).

It brings the total number of coronavirus infections recorded in Germany so far to 879,564.

In the last 24 hours, 260 people have died in connection with Covid-19. A total of 13,630 people have died in connection with the viral infection since the beginning of the pandemic.

Around 579,100 people are considered to have recovered from the virus.

A total of 286,834 cases are still active – about 7,000 more than the day before (279,846).

 

READ ALSO:

Where in Germany is most (and least) affected?

Across Germany, the so-called 7-day incidence on Friday morning was 139.0. That means there have been on average 139 cases per 100,000 residents in the last seven days.

Compared to the previous day (138.9), the incidence has increased slightly.

On Friday morning, however, no federal state exceeded the value of 200 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days.

According to the RKI, the 7-day incidence number is still highest in the states of Berlin (199.9), Hesse (170.3), Saxony (169.5), Bavaria (168.4) and North Rhine-Westphalia (166.5). These figures are also significantly higher than the national average.

What about districts?

Several districts continue to exceed the incidence level of 300 cases per 100,000 residents in seven days.

The map by DPA shows the most affected districts in Germany.

Meanwhile the reproductive number, (R0) which shows how many people someone with coronavirus goes onto infect, is currently at 0.88.

If the R number is below 1, an infected person infects less than one other person. In order to keep the current infection situation under control, experts say it should be below 0.7.

Germany fared well in the first wave but is struggling to get numbers down at the moment. A partial shutdown has been in place across Germany throughout November.

Chancellor Merkel had wanted to introduce tougher measures on Monday November 16th but the state leaders did not agree to this.

Instead, a number of strong recommendations were issued to people in Germany to cut down on contacts.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Germany's new Covid-19 recommendations

A meeting will take place on Wednesday November 25th where Merkel and states will decide if measures should be tightened and if they will be extended beyond November.

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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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