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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Majority of Germans in favour of ‘extending the €9 ticket’

The €9 ticket is set to expire at the end of the month. But more than half of Germans want the cheap travel deal to continue, according to a new survey.

Majority of Germans in favour of 'extending the €9 ticket'

In three weeks’ time, Germany’s cheap summer travel offer will come to an end. While members of the traffic light coalition government have been unable to agree on a continuation of the ticket, the majority of Germans are in favour of keeping the heavily-discounted travel card in place.

According to a survey conducted by the opinion research institute Civey for German news magazine Spiegel, 55 percent would like to see an extension of the ticket, which allows people to use public transportation throughout Germany for €9 per month. Meanwhile, 34 percent of Germans are against extending the offer. 

READ ALSO: Could drivers in Germany fund a future €9 ticket scheme?

The survey also showed that mainly Green Party supporters are for an extension of the €9 ticket, as more than two-thirds are in favour of continuing the deal. A majority of supporters of the Left Party and the SPD are also in favour of continuing the discount campaign.

Leading Green Party politicians have put forward proposals for a cheap successor to the €9 ticket: a regional ticket for €29 and a nationwide ticket for €49 a month. 

Meanwhile, FDP Finance Minister Christian Lindner has heavily criticised demands for extending the cheap transport deal. On Monday he tweeted that a “freebie mentality is not sustainably financeable, not efficient and not fair”. He also told the  Augsburger Allgemeine that there is no scope for an extension in the federal budget.

The Spiegel poll backs up the results of a questionnaire conducted by The Local, which showed that 85.4 percent of readers want the €9 ticket to continue after August. Meanwhile, 47.2 percent of readers said that reduced cost was the most important issue for them in relation to public transport in Germany. 

READ ALSO: ‘Affordable and simple’: What foreigners in Germany want to see after the €9 ticket

Reader Asa from Hamburg, 26, told the Local “I’d love to see a successor to the €9 ticket supported. It’s given me the chance to explore the surrounding towns in a way that would otherwise be financially unviable.”

Bethany, a reader from Kaiserslautern, said she had replaced at least six long-distance car journeys with public transport in June and July.

“Before, the cost of taking a train wasn’t worth it. But now? I’ll put up with delayed trains for €9,” she said.