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US warns against travel to Germany due to ‘very high’ Covid numbers

The United States on Wednesday increased its travel warning to its peak level for Germany due to its ‘very high’ coronavirus figures.

US warns against travel to Germany due to 'very high' Covid numbers
An American Airlines flighting landing at San Diego International Airport in California. Photo: DPA

“Do not travel to Germany due to Covid-19,” wrote the U.S. Department of State on its website.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Germany due to Covid-19, indicating a very high level of Covid-19 in the country.”

It also stated that travellers to Germany should ‘exercise increased caution’ due to terrorism activity, a warning which had already been in place.

Prior to Tuesday of this week, the State Department listed 34 of about 200 countries worldwide with the “Do Not Travel” warning, and has since increased the number to 150 countries based on the recommendations of the CDC.

Other European countries placed on the Level 4 list include France, Spain and Switzerland.

The warning, however, does not bar Americans from travelling to these countries. Yet many have imposed their own restrictions on travellers from the US, as well as several other non-EU countries.

Germany has banned non-essential travel for Americans who aren’t residents, and makes only a small number of exceptions for business travelers, medical purposes, and for family reasons such as the birth of a grandchild or couple reunification. 

Yet all American travellers still face quarantine and testing requirements once they arrive in Germany.

The U.S. on Tuesday also extended its travel ban on non-US citizens by 30 days. The restrictions have already been in place for 13 months.

READ ALSO: IN NUMBERS: How important are US tourists to Germany?

Member comments

  1. Ok on the Corona Virus rates…
    But Terrorism? Maybe they would be better to warn their citizens not to leave their House due to the chance of being shot in their own Country!

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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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