TRAVEL: Thousands of holidaymakers bring Covid back to Germany
The number of travellers returning to Germany with Covid-19 is on the rise, with thousands of new infections believed to have occurred abroad.
According to the Robert Koch Institute's (RKI) weekly report, in the four weeks between June 28th and July 25th, at least 3,662 holidaymakers tested positive for the virus after returning to Germany.
The majority had been in the popular holiday destinations of Turkey and Spain, but the Netherlands, Greece and Croatia were also named as countries where tourists are likely to have become infected.
All of the countries mentioned currently have a 7-day incidence of well over 100 infections per 100,000 people, with Spain topping the list with a 7-day incidence 373 infections per 100,000 people.
Spain and the Netherlands are the only countries mentioned that are currently on Germany's high-incidence list, however, having been bumped up from the basic risk list on July 27th.
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For the first weeks in which the data on returning travellers was collected, both Spain and Netherlands were absent from the risk list, before both being categorised as basic risk areas in early to mid July.
Travellers returning from basic risk areas by air must register on the government's entry portal and submit a negative test, or proof of vaccination or recovery within 48 hours - but they don't have to quarantine unless they test positive for coronavirus.
In recent days, the RKI has reported that an estimated 10 percent of all new Covid infections can be attributed to returning travellers, but - like the infection rates themselves - this figure could be on the rise.
In their recent report, the RKI said they believed around 81 percent of new infections occur in Germany - meaning that up to 19 percent of infections could be coming from across the border.
'Stemming the fourth wave'
With health experts claiming that Germany is at the beginning of its fourth Covid wave, ministers are attempting to buy themselves some time to progress further with vaccinations before infection rates become too high.
On July 28th, German hit a major milestone in its vaccination campaign as more than half of the population were fully vaccinated against Covid. The percentage of fully vaccinated people crept up to 51.5 percent on Friday, while 61.5 percent of people in Germany had received one vaccine dose.
The 7-day incidence of Covid per 100,000 people has been rising rapidly, however, and could be set to break the 20 mark over the coming days.
On Friday, there were almost 2,500 new cases reported in the last 24 hours, and the 7-day incidence had risen to 17.