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TRAVEL: Germany adds nearly 40 countries to Covid ‘high risk’ list

Several regions across the world, including Sweden, Israel, Australia and the United Arab Emirates, have been classed as Covid-19 'high risk' areas by Germany.

A person takes luggage through Berlin airport.
A person takes luggage through Berlin airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christophe Gateau

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced on Friday that dozens of countries were being classified as high risk areas because of the Covid situation. 

Among the countries added to the ‘orange list’ are Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, Sweden, Dubai, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Iceland, Estonia, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia and Israel. 

The full list can be found on the RKI’s page.

As of midnight on Sunday January 9th, people who have stayed in these areas in the previous 10 days before arrival in Germany face stricter entry rules.

What are the rules for ‘high risk’ countries?

Unvaccinated travellers arriving in Germany from these countries have to quarantine for up to 10 days. They can take a Covid test five days into the quarantine at the earliest. If it is negative they can end the quarantine. The local authority usually gives guidance on quarantine and testing to affected travellers on their arrival. 

For children under the age of 12, the self-isolation period automatically ends five days after entry – they do not need to take a test. 

All travellers who have spent time in a risk area (high risk area or area of variants of concern) have to complete the Digital Registration on Entry.

People have to upload proof of a negative Covid-19 test, recovery or a vaccination pass before travel. Fully vaccinated and recovered people don’t have to quarantine as long as they have submitted proof of their documents before entering Germany. 

In total, the number of high-risk zones has now increased to more than 100. This means that about half of all countries worldwide are now seen as Covid high risk areas.

Of Germany’s neighbouring countries, only Austria has not been placed on the orange list. It was recently removed from this group and placed in the no risk or green list category after seeing Covid rates plummet following a lockdown. 

Classification as a high risk area is linked to a travel warning issued by the Federal Foreign Office urging people in Germany not to visit these regions for non-essential tourist trips.

There are currently no regions on Germany’s red list. Last week Germany removed a number of countries from the ‘virus variant areas of concern’ list including South Africa and the United Kingdom. 

Only German nationals and people with residence rights are allowed to enter Germany from countries on the red list. They must also quarantine for 14 days upon arrival back in Germany – regardless of their vaccination status. 

They also have to show a negative Covid test before being allowed to board a flight to Germany.

READ ALSO: How removing the UK from ‘virus variant list’ affects you

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TRAVEL NEWS

When will Germany’s €49 ticket start?

Germany announced a €49 monthly ticket for local and regional public transport earlier this month, but the hoped-for launch date of January 2023 looks increasingly unlikely.

When will Germany's €49 ticket start?

Following the popularity of the €9 train ticket over the summer, the German federal and state governments finally agreed on a successor offer at the beginning of November.

The travel card – dubbed the “Deutschlandticket” – will cost €49 and enable people to travel on regional trains, trams and buses up and down the country.

There had been hopes that the discount travel offer would start up in January 2023, but that now seems very unlikely.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Germany’s €49 ticket

Martin Burkert, Head of the German Rail and Transport Union (EVG) now expects the €49 ticket to be introduced in the spring.

“From our point of view, it seems realistic to introduce the Deutschlandticket on April 1st, because some implementation issues are still unresolved”, Burkert told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland. The Association of German Transport Companies, on the other hand, considers the beginning of March to be a realistic start date.

The only thing that seems clear regarding the start date is that it will be launched at some point in 2023.

Why the delay?

Financing for the ticket is continuing to cause disagreements between the federal and state governments and, from the point of view of the transport companies, financing issues are also still open.

Burkert from EVG said that the federal government should be prepared to provide more than €1.5 billion for the ticket if necessary.

“Six months after the launch of the Deutschlandticket at the latest, the federal government must evaluate the costs incurred to date with the states and, if necessary, provide additional funding,” he said. 

READ ALSO: OPINION: Why Germany’s €49 travel ticket is far better than the previous €9 ticket

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bahn has warned that the network is not prepared to cope with extra demand. 

Berthold Huber, the member of the Deutsche Bahn Board of Management responsible for infrastructure, told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that a big part of the problem is the network is “structurally outdated” and its “susceptibility to faults is increasing.” 

Accordingly, Huber said that there is currently “no room for additional trains in regional traffic around the major hub stations” and, while adding more seats on trains could be a short terms solution, “here, too, you run up against limits,” Huber said.

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