BERLIN (AFP) - The German city of Nuremberg has cancelled its world-renowned Christmas market over soaring coronavirus cases, officials said on Monday (Oct 26).
The worsening pandemic has already forced a slew of other German cities, including Berlin, Duesseldorf and Cologne, to announce they are scrapping or severely curtailing their Christmas markets.
"After much deliberation and in order to protect the population, we have come to the conclusion that the Christmas market will not take place this year," Nuremberg mayor Marcus Koenig said in a statement.
Germany is home to some 2,500 Christmas markets each year that are popular with visitors who come to sip mulled wine, nibble on roasted chestnuts and shop for seasonal trinkets among clusters of wooden chalets.
They draw about 160 million domestic and international visitors annually who bring in revenues of three to five billion euros (S$4.83-8.05 billion), according to the BSM stallkeepers' industry association.
Nuremberg's Christkindlesmarkt, famous for its Christkind Christmas gift bringer dressed in a golden crown and robes, attracts more than two million visitors annually.
It is also one of Germany's biggest and oldest such markets.
Germany has seen a surge in Covid-19 cases over the past week and has regularly reported more than 10,000 new cases a day.
With regional disagreements hampering efforts to fight the virus, Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet the heads of Germany's 16 states on Wednesday in a bid to agree new national measures.
Merkel made a renewed plea on Saturday on citizens to limit their contacts and avoid unnecessary travel to prevent further transmission of the virus.
"How the winter will go, how our Christmas will be, all that will be decided in the coming days and weeks," she said.
She acknowledged that the curbs are "not only difficult but also a painful sacrifice".
"But we must do it only temporarily, and we're doing it for ourselves: for our own health and that of everyone we can spare from falling ill." The country has recorded 437,866 cases and 10,056 deaths so far, according to the Robert Koch Institute disease control centre.