Germany bans travel from high risk Covid-19 variant countries from Saturday

Germany bans travel from high risk Covid-19 variant countries from Saturday
Photo: DPA
Travel to Germany from countries deemed high risk due to mutations of coronavirus will be almost completely banned from Saturday.

Countries affected by the new restrictions include Brazil, South Africa, Britain, Ireland and Portugal, the Interior Ministry said.

The entry ban for people travelling from these countries on any form of transport is to be in force from January 30th to February 17th.

As of Sunday, the small African states of Lesotho and Estwani will also be affected, reported Welt.

German citizens and foreign residents who live in Germany are exempt from the ban, as are freight workers and diplomats, Spiegel reported.

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Flights are also permitted for emergencies (such as medical) as well as for members of aircraft, ships and crews.

READ ALSO: What can we expect from Germany's new travel ban to deal with Covid-19 variants?

The German government says the drastic step is needed due to the danger posed by mutated virus variants.

“The dynamics of the spread of the variants is particularly worrying in these states,” says the decree.

“The UK government estimates that the variant is up to 70 percent more transmissible and has a 0.4 point higher reproduction rate (R) compared to the previously known variant of SARS-CoV-2.”

Federal police are responsible for monitoring the regulation, says the government.

The Local previously previewed the draft rules, which were put together on Thursday afternoon.

There were long negotiations on Friday. Under the final decision, transit passengers passing through Germany to another destination are also exempt from the ban.

According to Spiegel, Lufthansa pushed for this exemption so that passengers can continue their journey via the hubs at Frankfurt and Munich airports.

Travel very restricted already

The German government has already made entry to the country more difficult in recent weeks and months.

Around 160 of the almost 200 countries worldwide are now classified in one of the coronavirus risk categories.

For the lowest category, testing is mandatory 48 hours after entry at the latest and quarantine is mandatory for 10 days, from which you can be released after five days by a second negative test.

For about 40 countries in the two higher categories – including the mutation areas – the rules were tightened last week. When entering from these countries, you have to present a negative test already upon entry, which has led to queues and traffic jams at the German-Czech border.

However, the new ban adds another layer to the restrictions.


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