German Chancellor Angela Merkel fractured a pelvic bone during a cross-country skiing accident over the holidays and will have to cancel travel and rest at home for the next three weeks, her spokesman told journalists in Berlin on Monday.
Merkel, 59, fell during her annual ski vacation to eastern Switzerland's Engadine Valley, which includes the St. Moritz resort, and initially thought she had just suffered a bruise, said spokesman Steffen Seibert.
Merkel consulted her doctor on Friday, after returning to the German capital, and was told she had sustained a pelvic fracture.
The injury "makes it necessary for her to lie down a lot for three weeks and to use a walking aid," Seibert said of the chancellor, who has experience on crutches following knee surgery three years ago.
Her doctor also advised her against air travel, prompting Merkel to postpone a planned Wednesday visit to Poland, Seibert said. Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel was expected in Berlin on Thursday, but that meeting has also been put off, the spokesman said.
Merkel does plan to attend the inaugural gathering of her new coalition government on Wednesday. Because her conservative Christian Democratic Union failed to win an outright majority in elections last year, she was forced to enter into a grand coalition with the center-left Social Democrats and will meet with the new Cabinet in spite of her injury, Seibert said.
Merkel is the second prominent German to be injured in a skiing accident over the holiday season. On Dec. 29, Formula One racing ace Michael Schumacher suffered a serious head injury while downhill skiing with his son at the Meribel resort in the French Alps. He remains in a medically induced coma at a hospital in Grenoble.