Right now, it has been deemed important to stop the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) from spreading. Although there are efforts to develop a vaccine, one is not available yet. However, just like all citizens, if you are currently an international student in Germany, you should also make sure you’re taking the necessary measures to protect yourself and other people from the disease.
According to a survey done by Studying-in-Germany.org, 85% of international students’ plans were affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
Although this is a new disease, it has been estimated that the virus is spread through person to person contact. More specifically, through cough/sneeze droplets. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Washing your hands properly is one of the most important things you should do to prevent getting or spreading the virus (more on this below).
In this article, you will find coronavirus information which is important if you’re an international student in Germany.
Scholarship Holders and Applicants
With regards to international scholarship holders and applicants, these decisions have been made as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19):
- The DAAD has announced that the Individual Scholarships for studying in Germany will not be available for the summer semester 2020.
- For those who are already scholarship holders and are unable to return to their home country as a result of coronavirus travel restrictions, the support will be extended.
Individual programmes have been suspended completely in spring/summer 2020, including:
- University summer courses for 2020 have been annulled.
- RISE / WISE internship programmes for spring/summer 2020 have also been cancelled. Already made commitments will be given priority in 2021.
- The EU Commission has made known that if changes are to happen in the travel plans of Erasmus students, the costs of return/cancellation tickets can be reimbursed up to the amount of the total scholarship.
- If you want to cancel your Erasmus+ semester/internship, which you have already started, you can do so as a result of the current situation. You are advised to contact the relevant advice centres of either your host university or home university.
- Travelling is not advised
Summer Term Information:
- The start of the summer term at Universities of Applied Science and Universities of Art and Music in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg has been delayed to April 20, 2020 (this includes all other universities in these regions).
- It is expected for the authorities of the other regions to make similar decisions with regards to the summer term.
Frequently Asked Questions About Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The current situation might cause confusion among students, therefore, below you will find a few answers to questions you might have during this time.
Will my health insurance in Germany cover the costs of coronavirus?
Health insurance funds have been covering the cost of coronavirus testing starting 28 February 2020. However, the physician must decide whether the patient needs testing or not.
If you’re insured with Dr-Walter’s health insurance policies, such as EDUCARE24, medical costs are not an issue, since the medical treatment of the virus is covered. This insurance policy also includes 90-day coverage if you are forced to stay abroad for longer as a result of coronavirus.
Quarantine costs are not covered since this is a precautionary measure. If you get the illness during quarantine, your treatment will be insured by the health insurance policy.
Can I close my German blocked account due to coronavirus?
If you are not travelling to Germany due to coronavirus, or if you’re returning home, then you have the possibility to close your German blocked account. Typically, you can apply to close your blocked account through the standard procedure each financial institution has. This means, you will be required to contact the institution with which you opened your blocked account and ask them to close it.
The bank will send you a form which you have to fill in and submit, or alternatively, ask you to submit necessary documents, such as an official confirmation from the German Embassy/Consulate, which allows them to close your account. The official confirmation must also include an instruction which allows the bank to remove the block from the account.
Fintiba has created an information page for international students and how will coronavirus affect them in regards to their blocked account, you can read it here.
Can I get my money back from my blocked account in Germany?
Yes, you can get your money back from your blocked account in Germany if you cancel your account. As soon as you close your account (which you must do by contacting the responsible bank you have opened an account with), they will transfer the money to the account from which the money was initially transferred.
How do I avoid transmission of coronavirus?
To avoid transmission of the virus, make sure you keep in mind and put into practice the safety measures that have been circulating lately.
- Maintain your distance (at least two metres) from other people when they (or you) are coughing or sneezing. You may also turn away.
- Sneeze/cough on a tissue, then throw the tissue in the bin. If you have no tissue, sneeze/cough into the crook of your arm.
- Wash your hands regularly and frequently with soap, for about 20-30 seconds.
- Avoid shaking hands or any other form of physical contact when greeting other people.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your mouth, eyes, and nose.
- Do not share used cups or bottles with other people.
- Do not share objects such as dishes, towels, or pens with other people.
- Clean/disinfect frequently used objects.
Make sure you wash your hands when you arrive at work, in any educational institution, at home, after breaks and sports activities, after using the toilet, after blowing your nose/sneezing/coughing, and before preparing and eating food. Do not underestimate the importance of hand hygiene.
What should I do in case I develop symptoms?
In case you develop symptoms, make sure to contact your general practitioner by phone initially, and they will inform you how to proceed before visiting the doctor. If you visit the doctor without calling them first, you risk infecting other people as well.
How is Germany handling the current situation?
The overall risk of the population in Germany is currently rated as high, but the risk largely varies from one region to another. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is more serious with age and other underlying health issues. This is why it is essential to distance ourselves and avoid spreading the virus, especially to the elderly or those with existing medical conditions.
The situation of the health care system in Germany is dependent on the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Isolation, quarantine, and social distancing are essential to prevent the number of infected persons from going up and ease the burden of the health care system.
What is self-isolation and how long does it last?
If you have been tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) and your condition is mild, doctors might ask you to self-isolate at home. However, you should do so properly and make sure you do not infect other people.
- If you develop symptoms, you should self-isolate for at least 7 days. If the symptoms worsen during this time, or you feel like you can’t handle the symptoms at home, you should call your doctor.
- If you live with other people (e.g: roommates), they should also self-isolate for a period of 14 days, from the day you started having symptoms. If they show symptoms during those 14 days, they should stay in self-isolation for at least 7 more days.
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