“Children have had to cope with a lot in this pandemic. That’s why we are relaxing entry requirements at a time when the current Omicron wave has passed its zenith,” Health Minister Karl Lauterbach told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung on Monday.
“Travel for families will be easier as a result. But they should still be cautious while on vacation,” he added.
Currently, children under the age of 12 who are not vaccinated and who return from a country classified as ‘high risk’ need to go into quarantine for at least five days.
The entire EU with the exception of Spain and Ireland is classified as ‘high risk’ at the moment due to prevalence of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
At the beginning of Feburary, the EU recommended exempting young children from quarantine rules.
Germany is the only EU member still to require all unvaccinated children under 12 to go into self-isolation. Opposition politicians had criticized the government for a rule which they said put undue stress on families.
Lauterbach is to propose the rule change to cabinet on Wednesday and it is expected to come into force on March 4th.
Daniel Caspary, a member of the European parliament for the CDU, told Bild newspaper that the change was coming too late.
“Right now, many families with young children are on vacation. It would help these families a lot if the rule change were to be implemented immediately,” Caspary said.
Lauterbach also confirmed that the definition of a high-risk country would soon change to only include places where a Covid variant more deadly than Omicron was dominant.