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HEALTH

Merkel’s third coronavirus test comes back negative

Chancellor Angela Merkel's third coronavirus test has come back negative but the German leader will stay in home quarantine for the coming days, her spokesman said Monday.

Merkel's third coronavirus test comes back negative
Angela Merkel's third coronavirus test was negative. Photo: DPA

Merkel, 65, has been in self-isolation at her Berlin flat for just over a week, after learning on March 22 that a doctor who gave her a vaccination two days earlier was infected with the virus.

“The chancellor's third test also turned out negative. The chancellor will continue to carry out her official business from her at-home quarantine in the coming days,” spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear if Merkel would undergo further testing.

People who have come into contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases are generally advised to self-isolate for 14 days.

While in isolation, Merkel has kept working and held government meetings via video link.

On Saturday she released an audio message thanking Germans for heeding the country's unprecedented confinement measures and avoiding unnecessary social contacts.

She also pleaded for patience, saying it was too soon to say when the restrictions could be eased.

Germany has recorded over 57,000 coronavirus cases and 455 deaths, according to the Robert Koch Institute for disease control.

READ ALSO: Merkel goes into quarantine after meeting doctor with coronavirus

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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