Germany mulls compulsory coronavirus tests for returning travellers
Germany may introduce compulsory coronavirus testing for holidaymakers returning from high-risk destinations, the health minister said.
As the number of new infections in the country hit a two-month high the German government is under pressure to take precautions.
Health Minister Jens Spahn told Deutschlandfunk radio the government were looking into whether they could legally oblige someone to take a test.
“We are also checking whether it is legally possible to oblige someone to do a test, because it would be an encroachment on freedom,” Spahn said, according to Reuters.
The minister said the courts were examining all coronavirus measures to ensure they are proportionate in light of their impact on people's rights.
On Friday, Germany announced it would offer free coronavirus tests to all returning travellers, as concerns grow over a surge due to summer travel.
"Those returning from risk countries should be tested, and those returning from non-risk countries will also have the option," said Berlin health minister Dilek Kalayci after the measures were agreed by the health ministers of Germany's 16 states.
She said the tests would initially be non-mandatory and the cost would be covered by the state in all cases.
If a holidaymaker arriving home from a high-risk country including the US, Brazil and India, tests negative they will not have to observe a 14-day quarantine, which is otherwise mandatory.
Those who refuse a test or test positive on arrival will be forced to quarantine at home for 14 days.
The number of new confirmed cases increased sharply on Friday to 815, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.
That represented the biggest tally since mid-May. On Saturday there were 781 reported new cases.