Munich cancels Christmas market in face of rising infections

Munich cancels Christmas market in face of rising infections
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The German city of Munich has cancelled its renowned Christmas market, which attracts more than two million visitors, due to the "exponential growth" of Covid-19 infections, mayor Dieter Reiter announced on Tuesday.

In the face of the new wave affecting Germany, Munich is the first major German city to make such a decision this year, Belga News Agency reports. 

"This is bitter news (...) but the dramatic situation in our hospitals and the exponential growth in infections leave me no other choice," Reiter said in a statement.

The mayor of Munich, the country's second-largest city with more than 1.5 million inhabitants, justified his decision by not wanting to send a "bad signal" at a time when the city's hospitals are facing "a catastrophic situation," according to their managers.

The Munich Christmas market was due to open on 22 November.

The situation in Germany

Germany is facing a surge in infections due partly to a vaccination rate that falls short of government targets (currently 67.6%). Bavaria, of which Munich is the capital, is particularly affected by this wave with a seven-day incidence rate of more than 500. Two other regional states, Saxony and Thuringia, are even more heavily affected.

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The seven-day incidence in Germany reached a record high of more than 312 on Tuesday; the number of new Covid-19 infections reached 32,048 in 24 hours, according to the Robert-Koch Institute for Health Surveillance.

While all Christmas markets, a long-standing tradition in Germany, were cancelled last year because of the pandemic, some have already said they will go ahead this year. The city of Nuremberg, in northern Bavaria, has decided to adapt its Christmas market, it confirmed on Monday. It will be held from 26 November in four different parts of the city to avoid large gatherings.

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