Today in Germany: A round-up of the latest news on Thursday

From the latest coronavirus news to comic relief on a Bavarian mountain, here's an overview at the most recent German news.

Today in Germany: A round-up of the latest news on Thursday
A person in Passau's Altstadt. Photo: DPA

Robert Koch Institute expects “many more deaths”

In a press briefing Thursday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 22,046 new cases of infection within one day in Germany. The number of coronavirus-related deaths rose by 479 to 17,602, according to the data.

In the briefing in Berlin, the head of the institute, Lothar Wieler, said that the protective measures adopted by politicians had succeeded in stabilising the number of cases. This is undoubtedly a success, he said, because without the measures the current situation would be much worse.

READ ALSO: ANALYSIS: Just how effective has Germany's partial lockdown been?

Nevertheless, Wieler warned that the number of cases was still too high. Health authorities and hospitals have reached their limits. The number of serious cases and deaths was currently increasing from week to week. Since this development is delayed, “many more deaths” are to be expected in the near future, Wieler said.

“We are not helplessly at the mercy of this virus. Covid-19 is a preventable disease,” Wieler said, reminding people in Germany to observe the AHA rules: Abstand (keeping distance), pay attention to hygiene and – where space is tight – wearing an Alltagsmaske (everyday mask).

Sick leave by telephone

Any employee who has cold symptoms in Germany – even mild ones – is allowed to receive a sick note by phone from their doctor

The special regulation has been extended until March 31st 2021, as decided by the Federal Joint Committee of doctors, health insurance companies and hospitals on Thursday. This should reduce contacts and the risk of infection, they said. 

However, doctors would have to “conduct a detailed telephone interview” to personally check their patients' health status and see whether a physical examination might be necessary.

Sick leave over the phone can last up to seven days and can be extended by telephone for a further seven calendar days. The special arrangement had previously been limited until the end of the year.

Photo of the day

Police are investigating the mysterious disappearance of a wooden penis “monument” about two-metres high in the Allgäu region. But in the meantime, locals erected a new version on Thursday to withstand the chilly temperatures until the old artwork is found.

READ ALSO: Mystery in Germany: Who stole Bavaria's giant wooden penis?

Adolf Hitler wins elections – in Namibia

Adolf Hitler has been elected county administrator in Namibia – for a former anti-apartheid party. The Namibian politician Adolf Hitler Uunona, as he is known by his full name, achieved a full 84.88 percent of the votes in his constituency of Ompundja in the north of the country.

Namibia was part of the German colony of Deutsch-Südwestafrika from 1884 to 1915. Therefore German names and names are still widely used in Namibia today – including Adolf. However, combinations with the surname Hitler are quite unusual.

“My father named me after this man. He probably didn't even understand what Adolf Hitler stood for,” Uunona told Bild newspaper. As a child, the name seemed perfectly normal to him. “It was only when I was growing up that I understood: this man wanted to subdue the whole world.”

Unequal housework in the pandemic

During the pandemic, according to a survey, housework and family work weighs particularly heavily on women's shoulders. A survey commissioned by the Bertelsmann Foundation showed that in times with a large number of home offices and temporary homeschooling, the distribution of tasks at home follows mainly classic role models. 

For the representative survey, market researcher Ipsos interviewed more than 1,000 people. “Domestic and care work has become the responsibility of women. The pandemic has shown how little has changed in the traditional distribution of roles,” criticised DGB deputy chair Elke Hannack.

According to the study, the consequences of restrictions in public and professional life and in child care services are a heavy burden especially on women.

Around 69 percent of the women stated that they mainly did the majority of general housework. Among men, only 11 percent said that they did so, according to the survey published on Thursday.




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REVEALED: The most commonly asked questions about Germans and Germany

Ever wondered what the world is asking about Germany and the Germans? We looked at Google’s most searched results to find out – and help clear some of these queries up.

Hasan Salihamidzic, the sports director of FC Bayern, arrives with his wife at Oktoberfest in full traditional dress. Photo: picture alliance/dpa |

According to popular searches, Germany is the go-to place for good coffee and bread (although only if you like the hard kind) and the place to avoid if what you’re looking for is good food, good internet connection and low taxes. Of course, this is subjective; some people will travel long stretches to get a fresh, hot pretzel or a juicy Bratwurst, while others will take a hard pass.

When it comes to the question on the bad Internet – there is some truth to this. German is known for being behind other rich nations when it comes to connectivity. And from personal experience, the internet connection can seem a little medieval. The incoming German coalition government has, however, vowed to improve internet connectivity as part of their plans to modernise the country.

There are also frequent questions on learning the German language, and people pointing out that it is hard and complicated. This is probably due to the long compound words and its extensive grammar rules, however, as both English and German are Germanic languages with similar words in common, it’s not impossible to learn as an English-speaker.

Here’s a look at some of those questions…

Why is German called Deutsch? Whereas ‘German’ comes from the Latin, ‘Deutsch’ instead derives itself from the Indo-European root “þeudō”, meaning “people”. This slowly became “Deutsch” as we know it today. It can be a bit confusing to English-speakers, who are right to think it sounds a little more like “Dutch”, however the two languages do have the same roots which may explain it.

And why is Germany so boring? Again, probably a generalisation, especially given that Germany has a landmass of over 350,000 km² with areas ranging from high rise, industrial cities to traditional old town villages and even mountain ranges, so you’re sure to find a place that doesn’t bore you to tears.

Perhaps it is a question that comes from the stereotype that Germans are obsessed with strict about rules, organised and analytical. Or that they have no sense of humour – all of these things being not the most exciting traits. 

Either way, from my experience I can confirm that, even though there is truth to German society enjoying order and rules, the vast majority of people are not boring, and I’m sure if you come to Germany you’ll meet many interesting, funny and exciting people. 

READ ALSO: 12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Germany

When it comes to the German weather, most people assume a cold and cloudy climate, however this isn’t entirely true. While the autumn and winter, especially in the north, comes with grey skies and sub-zero temperatures, Germany can have some beautiful summers, with temperatures frequently rising above 30C in some places.

Unsurprisingly, the power and wealth of the German nation is mentioned – Germany is the largest economy in Europe after all, with a GDP of 3.8 trillion dollars. This could be due to strong industry sectors in the country, including vehicle constructions (I was a little surprised to find no questions posed on German cars), chemical and electrical industry and engineering. There are also many strong economic cities in Germany, most notably Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg.

READ ALSO: Eight unique words and phrases that tell us something about Germany

Smart and tall?

Why are Germans so tall? They are indeed taller than many other nations, with the average German measuring a good 172.87cm (or 5 feet 8.06 inches), however this may be a question better posed to the Dutch, who make up the tallest people in the world.

Why are Germans so smart? While this is again a generalisation – as individuals have different levels of intelligence in all countries – this question may stem from Germany’s free higher education system or their seemingly efficient work ethic. Plus there does seem to be some scientific research behind this question, with a study done in 2006 finding that Germans had the highest IQ in Europe.

So, while many of the questions posed about Germany and Germans on Google stem from stereotypes, we can confirm that some aren’t entirely made up. If you’re looking to debunk some frequently asked questions about France and the French, check out this article by our sister site HERE.