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Reader question: Who can look after my children while they quarantine in Germany?

Under the latest German travel rules, vaccinated people are exempt from quarantine when returning from holidays abroad - but their unvaccinated children may not be. Here's who's allowed to take care of them.

Reader question: Who can look after my children while they quarantine in Germany?
Looking after children in quarantine can be tricky for working parents. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Karl-Josef Hildenbrand

Germany’s new travel rules, which came into force on August 1st, were in many ways intended to make it easier for families to go on foreign holidays. 

While previously all children over the age of six had to submit a negative test or proof of recovery from Covid when flying into a Germany, now only children aged 12 and over have to show a negative test (or proof of vaccination and recovery) on their return.

READ ALSO: Germany to require Covid tests for all unvaccinated travellers arriving by ‘plane, car or train’

That essentially means that only children who are legally able to get vaccinated fall under the scope of the new rules when returning from abroad – so families whose kids are too young to get a jab won’t have to pay for tests for them.

Of course, in a global pandemic things are never quite that simple: under the latest rules, some families may still run into problems when returning from a high-risk or virus variant areas. If all the adults are vaccinated, they won’t have to quarantine, but unvaccinated children will face anywhere from five days (for a high-risks area) to two weeks (for a virus variant area) confined at home. 

Here’s what you can do if your children are in quarantine but you’re not – and you need a third-party to help look after them. 

Can grandparents or a babysitter come round to help out? 

In general, visitors aren’t allowed to enter the house during quarantine, the Federal Health Ministry told regional radio station BR24. If several people are allowed to pay visits and then leave again, it would be much harder to control the spread of the virus – which is, of course, the whole aim of self-isolation.

However, there are exceptions to this if there is a “good cause” for the visitors to be there, the ministry explained. This could mean, for example, that a carer could come into to check on an elderly resident in quarantine, or that a babysitter could come to look after the children in urgent situations.

Be aware, though, that even a “good cause” doesn’t give you a free pass to invite a rotating cast of babysitters and neighbours round to your home. Social contact should still be limited as much as possible, so it’s best to stick to a regular babysitter or relatives such as grandparents, who can come round regularly over the course of one or two weeks while your children are in quarantine. 

Can the children quarantine at someone else’s house? 

According to the Ministry for Health, that can be worked out on a case-by-case basis – and specific rules may vary depending on where you live.

READ ALSO:

The best thing to do is to contact your local health authority and ask them for advice on your situation. They’ll be able to advise you directly on whether, for example, the children’s grandparents or another relative can pick them up from the airport and take them to stay with them for the duration of the quarantine.

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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: What are the Covid rules for transiting through Germany?

Germany has tough rules in place for entering the country, with Covid tests or proof of vaccination a must. But what happens if you're only transferring flights at the airport?

Reader question: What are the Covid rules for transiting through Germany?
If you're just transiting through somewhere like Frankfurt Airport (pictured), you won't have to abide by Germany's usual entry rules. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

The latest rules from the German Health Ministry state that you don’t need to abide by the usual Covid rules if you’re only passing through, so unlike normal trips into the country, you won’t need to present a negative test, or proof of full vaccination, to enter the country. 

READ ALSO: REVEALED: Germany’s plans to curb Delta wave with new Covid travel rules

On its FAQ page detailing the Covid regulations, the Health Ministry explains: “Airline passengers who are simply changing flights at an airport in the Federal Republic of Germany need not comply with the provisions of the Ordinance on Coronavirus Entry Regulations.

“A direct transfer at an airport in order to continue one’s journey into another (Schengen) state is not considered an entry within the meaning of the Ordinance on Coronavirus Entry Regulations.”

That means that, as long as you’re going directly to your next flight and don’t plan on leaving the airport, Germany’s usual stringent entry rules won’t apply to you. That includes obligations like having to provide your details on the Digital Entry Portal and provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative test. And it probably goes without saying you won’t have to quarantine, either.

Just be aware that your end destination – wherever that is – will likely have their own set of entry rules in place, so be sure to read up on those before jetting off on your travels. 

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