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Germany requires negative Covid test for travellers from the Netherlands after Easter

From Tuesday, travellers from the Netherlands will need to show a negative Covid test and quarantine on arrival in Germany, after Berlin declared the Netherlands an area of "particularly high risk'.

Germany requires negative Covid test for travellers from the Netherlands after Easter
Ramon van Flymen / ANP / AFP

The whole of the Netherlands, including its constituent countries and the overseas territories of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is now deemed “at particularly high risk of infection due to a particularly high number of cases,” Germany’s public health body the Robert Koch Institute said.

This becomes effective from Tuesday, meaning that anyone who wants to enter Germany from the Netherlands after that time will need to show a negative Covid test that has been carried out 48 hours before entry at the earliest.

For commuters, a negative test is valid for 72 hours. 

Anyone entering Germany from the Netherlands will also need to register on this website before they arrive. Those who are travelling through the country or who are staying for less than 24 hours don’t need to do this.

Those arriving from the Netherlands will also need to comply with Germany’s quarantine requirements: this includes a compulsory ten-day quarantine with the option to take a Covid test after five days and end the quarantine period early if this test is negative.  

The Netherlands is the fourth country to border Germany – after Czech Republic, Poland and France – that Germany has qualified as an area of particularly high risk.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: Germany requires negative Covid test for travellers from France

According to the RKI, a country is designated as particularly high risk when it has more than 200 new infections per 100,000 residents within the last seven-day period.

The seven-day incidence rate in the Netherlands stands at just under 300 new infections per 100,000 residents, according to Statista.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the Netherlands registered 8,139 new infections on Saturday, 492 more than the previous day. 

The Netherlands recently extended its lockdown and evening curfew until April 20th.

The country has been in lockdown since mid-December, while the curfew was put in place at the end of January.

Despite these restrictions, case numbers are continuing to increase as can be seen in the below chart from Our World in Data, which compares daily new case numbers in Germany and the Netherlands per million people.

Germany’s existing travel and safety advisories can be seen here.

The RKI did not make any other changes to the countries it classifies as areas of risk, high-incidence or virus variant of concern.

 

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COVID-19

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Since the start of Germany’s Oktoberfest, the incidence of Covid infections in Munich has risen sharply. Though a connection with the festival can’t yet be proven, it seems likely.

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Two weeks after the start of Oktoberfest, the Covid numbers in Munich have more than tripled.

On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an incidence of 768.7 for the city of Munich, though updated figures for the end of the festival are not expected until later in the week. Usually, on weekends and public holidays, there is a delay in reports.

In the entire state of Bavaria, the incidence value on Sunday was 692.5.

According to Munich’s public health officer, Beatrix Zurek, bed occupancy in Munich hospitals has also increased. Two weeks ago, 200 beds in Munich were occupied by Covid patients, whereas there are now around 350.

Though a relationship between the sharp rise in infections with Oktoberfest, which ended on Monday, can’t be proven at the moment, it seems very likely, according to experts. A significant increase in Covid incidences has also been shown at other public festivals – about one and a half weeks after the start. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, around 5.7 million visitors came to this year’s Wiesn according to the festival management – around 600,000 fewer than at the last Oktoberfest before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) took to Twitter to comment on the rise in incidence in Munich during the Oktoberfest. “This would not have been necessary if self-tests had been taken before admission,” he said.

“Compared to the price of a measure of beer, €2-3 (for tests) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.

Even before the start of the Wiesn, he had spoken out in favour of people taking voluntary self-tests. Lauterbach stressed that now is the time for special measures against Covid.

“The development shows what will happen if the states wait too long with the mask obligation in indoor areas,” he added.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

In neighbouring counties, where many Oktoberfest visitors came from, the number of Covid cases has also risen noticeably.  Beatrix Zurek said that it is unclear, however, how much of a role Oktoberfest played in these figures, as people are currently much more active socially overall, with concerts and other events also taking place throughout the state.

Christoph Spinner, an infections specialist at Munich’s Klinikum, has urged people not to be alarmed by the rising numbers.

“We had expected rising incidences here. We knew that there could be a doubling, tripling, even quadrupling,” he said.

He said that this is no cause for concern, as many people have been vaccinated or have also recovered from previous Covid infections, so any new infections are therefore usually mild.

The virologist advises people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions to get a second booster vaccination, but otherwise said people shouldn’t be alarmed by the rising incidences.

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