The UK will be classified as a ‘virus variant area of concern’ from midnight on Sunday December 19th due to the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
The move puts in place a temporary ban on almost all travellers arriving from the UK to Germany, except from its own residents.
Travellers who are allowed to enter Germany – such as German nationals and people with residence rights – will have to quarantine for two weeks even if they are fully vaccinated, or have recently recovered from Covid.
They also have to show a negative “up to date” PCR test before departure. Antigen tests are no longer accepted for travellers coming from Germany’s red list.
The move is a blow to those heading home for Christmas, who will now have to cancel their plans or face the much tougher rules.
Germany’s Health Ministry noted in the latest Robert Koch Institute risk list update: “Before departure, please be prepared for your carrier (e.g. airline) to require from you an up-to-date PCR test if you spent time in an area of variants of concern at any time in the ten days prior to entry.
“After your arrival, further PCR testing may be ordered by the health authorities at the airport or at the place of isolation/quarantine. Please be aware of the 14-day quarantine requirement, which also applies to vaccinated and recovered individuals. The duration of the 14-day quarantine may not be shortened.”
The RKI said the regions on the ‘virus variant list’ would remain there until at least January 3rd.
Other countries in Germany’s highest risk category include South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
The UK reported over 90,000 new Covid-19 infections on Saturday, setting a record for the third day in a row. This figure included 10,059 new confirmed cases of the Omicron variant.
There are estimated to be hundreds of Omicron cases in Germany, RKI boss Lothar Wieler said at a recent press conference.
Germany has classified UK as area of variants of concern due to Omicron
Travel rules change from 20 Dec:
➡️ ban on carriage, exceptions e.g. German nationals/residents & transit
➡️ Test pre-departure
➡️ 14-day quarantine, incl vaccinated & recovered
— German Embassy London (@GermanEmbassy) December 18, 2021
The ban does not apply to people on flight transfers through Germany who are not leaving the airport.
It comes after state health ministers across Germany called on the federal government to tighten the rules on travellers from the UK.