Germany's wintry Covid-19 lockdown casts a pall on year-end activities for Singapore student

Chicken rice made by Ms Kelly Yeo, a preparatory student at a university in Marburg, Germany, who hopes to prepare the dish for her partner's family for Christmas. PHOTOS: KELLY YEO

SINGAPORE - With Germany in a month-long lockdown from Monday (Nov 2), Christmas will not be the same for the country famed for its winter markets, with year-end festivities expected to be a muted affair for Singaporean students staying put there.

"The list of Christmas markets has been shrinking and shrinking. I can't see Christmas markets happening because that's where people get drunk with friends," said Ms Kelly Yeo, a preparatory student at a university in Marburg, a town in Germany.

The annual festival is a major family affair for the nation, so much so that one usually needs to book a table for a Christmas meal one year in advance, added Ms Yeo, 20.

But with evolving safe distancing measures, her plans for a Christmas lunch remains up in the air since it involves four households and going ahead with that could breach the rules.

"I plan to make chicken rice for my partner's family this year for Christmas, if it actually happens," said Ms Yeo.

Amid a long and wet winter, making the most out of current restrictions takes priority.

With the gym closed, she plans to exercise regularly by joining zoom classes.

Schools remain open in Germany, said Ms Yeo, who takes 1½ hours to travel to her university in Marburg.

She hopes that train frequencies will not be reduced further - they were cut after the first wave of coronavirus cases.

"Public transport here is not like in Singapore. The trains come every half-hour or sometimes even an hour apart, depending on where you live," she added.

To protect herself from the virus, she disinfects her hands with a sanitiser whenever she sits down and makes an effort to wash her hands the moment she returns home.

Despite the uncertainty, Ms Yeo is confident that she will not be as affected should schools be closed again as they will be better prepared compared with when they closed in March.

"I will still have other activities to do as well. I enjoy cooking for my partner and me. Making food helps keep me sane," she said.

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