‘Troublesome but possible’: How Brits in Germany feel about going home after quarantine rules eased

'Troublesome but possible': How Brits in Germany feel about going home after quarantine rules eased
Travellers in Stuttgart get ready to fly. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Schmidt
Many people breathed a sigh of relief this week when the UK government finally gave the green light to allow people coming from most amber countries in the EU to skip quarantine. But not all Brits in Germany are rushing to book a flight.

The UK government said on Wednesday that people who were fully vaccinated in the EU and the US will no longer need to quarantine when arriving in England, Scotland and Wales from an amber list country like Germany (excluding France as it is an ‘amber plus’ country) from Monday August 2nd. 

The move potentially opens up travel to thousands of British people in Germany who’ve felt unable to visit home up to this point due to restrictions like having to quarantine for 10 days. 

READ ALSO: What are the new rules for travel between Germany and the UK?

But it’s still no easy ride. There are strict testing rules dictating that travellers must take either an antigen or PCR test before departing for the UK and a PCR test on or before the second day after they arrive. 

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There’s also the fear that rules could change in a split second, meaning people feel uneasy about making travel plans. 

The Local asked readers to share their thoughts in quick survey on Thursday, and we also did a shout out on Twitter. 

Summing up the general feeling, Peter J Callow, 59, in Hamburg, said a trip to the UK was now “troublesome but at least possible”.

‘It’s been too long’

Some people are elated. Mark Oiver, 57, in Dreieich has booked his flights back already. “It means I can now meet my family for the first time in nearly a year,” he said. 

Phil Shaw, 67, based in Weimar, is planning to book a trip. “Much more feasible without quarantine at both ends,” he said, although he raised concerns about the cost of PCR tests in the UK and possible pricey airline ticket prices. 

Fred Bergklo, 29, in Berlin said he had booked a trip home. “I had my second jab 2 days ago, and now I know this will let me avoid quarantine.”

Pete Michaels said the change in rules was welcome.

‘Restrictive and expensive’

Lots of people flagged up the enormous costs involved with testing in the UK, even if there will be less testing under the new rules. 

Previously, people had to pay for day two and day eight mandatory tests, and a test for day five in England if they were opting for early release from quarantine. These test packages can cost anywhere from 150-200 pounds. 

READ ALSO: What are the Covid-19 testing requirements for entering Germany?

Some people – including children over six – also have to take a test in the UK to get back into Germany if they are not vaccinated. 

Charlotte Kulow, 46, in Leipzig, said the rule change affects her family “only slightly”.

“We are vaccinated but it still costs 88 pounds to get a check (PCR test) on day two in Scotland. Plus none of my kids are vaccinated so they are required to quarantine on there return to Germany plus a PCR test for early release, so it’s still very restrictive and expensive for anyone with a family.”

Stuart Picton, 33, in Berlin, said: “Tests are still too expensive. Do not understand why a vaccinated person cannot just do a lateral flow/quick test. I do not understand how going on a plane wearing a face mask is considered a risk that requires PCR, whereas going to bars, nightclubs etc are considered ok with a rapid test (especially in the UK).    

“Also politicians in all countries need to stop thinking that everyone is travelling just to go on holiday and therefore the trips are unnecessary. Some of us are trying to travel for our living and to see family and friends that we have not seen in months.”

‘Barriers’

Many readers said they are not planning to book a trip back to the UK just yet. 

Mark Murphy, 61, in Achern, Baden-Württemberg, said: “Yes, I am double-jabbed but still required to take two tests when the UK’s infection rate is much higher than Germany’s – ridiculous!”

Fraser Duthie said on Twitter: “I’m not going back yet, mostly due to a pregnant girlfriend in Köln. But my parents are going to try and come across in September.”
 
Jon Morris said on Twitter: “The rule change is welcome but there are still barriers. I have no faith in the logic of how decisions are being made and no confidence in not suddenly being stuck or blocked entry.”
Others said they were worried about several factors including the more transmissible Delta variant of Covid, which is fuelling cases in Germany and caused a recent wave in the UK.

Thomas Boon, 25, in Frankfurt, who is planning to book a trip back to the UK, said: “I have a fear of NHS test and trace calling and telling me to isolate for 10 days because of somebody on the plane. Especially because I plan to travel for fewer than 10 days, so such a call would strand me.”

Some people remain undecided – especially as no one knows how the autumn will develop. 

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Thanks to everyone who shared their experience with us. Although we weren’t able to include all the submissions, we read each of them and they help inform our reporting.

If you have any feedback, please feel free to get in touch.

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  1. Mike Moseley because of a family funeral I had to go back to the UK a few days before the rules changed. Requiring me to self isolate for 10 days and pay £155 for three COVID at home tests. Disappointing that I had to wait two days to get my day 5 result. Still it looks simpler now which will help my sisters return to the UK later in August after she comes to stay with me in Germany for a couple of weeks after my brother in-laws death. I can’t see me going back to my previous work patten of 3-4 days in UK and 3-4 days in Germany.

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