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COVID-19

Germany records another new low in Covid-19 numbers

Germany has recorded a 7-day incidence rate of below 25 dropping to another new low, according to the latest Robert Koch Institute (RKI) figures from Sunday.

Germany records another new low in Covid-19 numbers
(Photo by David GANNON / AFP)

On Sunday morning, the RKI reported a 7-day incidence of 24.7 infections per 100,000 residents, down from 26.3 the day before.

It marks a continuing downward trend, as Germany dipped below an incidence rate of 30 for the first time since October on Friday.

Health authorities registered 2,440 new cases in the last 24 hours, with 74 more people dying from the virus, bringing the total death toll for Germany to 89,222.

ANALYSIS: How do Germany’s Covid-19 numbers compare to other European countries?

The figure stood at 3,852 new infections a week ago with the death count standing at 56 in a 24 hour period.

However, in a situation report, the RKI indicated the low figures could be attributed to a public holiday on Thursday (Corpus Christi), celebrated by six states in Germany.

“When interpreting the case numbers, it should be noted that fewer people visit a doctor on public holidays, which also means that fewer samples are taken and fewer laboratory tests are carried out. This leads to fewer pathogen detections being reported to the responsible health authorities,” stated the report.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the RKI has counted 3,700,367 positive infections with Sars-CoV-2.

The actual total number, however, is likely to be significantly higher, as many infections are not recognised.

READ ALSO: State by state: What are the new rules for tourism around Germany?

Those who recovered is 3,538,000, according to the Institute.

Thuringia reported the highest 7-day incidence on Sunday (30) closely followed by Saarland (29.6) and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania reported the lowest (8.4), according to the latest health data.

There are also 22 districts that have a high 7-day incidence of more than 50, with no district reporting above 100 per 100,000.

The following graph shows the geographical distribution of cases in Germany over the last 7 days.

Source: RKI

Numerous clusters, especially in households, in the professional environment as well as in day-care centres and nursery schools are cited as reasons for higher incidence rates.

Germany relaxes restrictions

As Germany records positive figures, more states in Germany began to open up this weekend.

As of Friday, out-of-state tourists are permitted to go on holiday again in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, a popular destination situated along the Baltic Sea

Holidaymakers staying in a vacation apartment, and not visiting restaurants or museums, do not need to take another test. All others must be retested at least every 72 hours.

READ ALSO: Indoor dining and gyms: How Berlin’s new eased Covid rules affect you

Berlin also saw numerous restrictions relaxed this weekend. Six people from three households are now allowed to meet indoors and the figure goes up to ten people from five households if meeting outside.

Children under the age of 14 are not counted. Shopping and outdoor dining are possible without a coronavirus test. Indoor dining will also open up, with a mandatory test.

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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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