Germany to make Covid quarantine voluntary from May 1st

Germany will no longer impose compulsory quarantines on people infected with the coronavirus from May 1st, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said Monday.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach speaks at a press conference on Monday.
Health Minister Karl Lauterbach speaks at a press conference on Monday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd von Jutrczenka

Isolation remains “strongly recommended”, said Lauterbach, but he added that it will from next month be done “on a voluntary basis”.

“The current rules work but (it) is not necessary in the long term,” he said.

The only exceptions are employees of medical institutions, who must continue to isolate for five days if they catch the virus, he said.

READ ALSO: How Germany wants to relax quarantine measures

Infection numbers in Germany remain high, but with most cases reported to be mild, hospitals have not been overwhelmed.

As a result, Europe’s biggest economy has relaxed coronavirus curbs, lifting a requirement to wear masks in shops or schools.

An initial drive by Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government for compulsory vaccinations has also petered out.

As a proposal to introduce mandatory jabs for over-18s was unlikely to win a majority in parliament, the government committee working on the plan has scaled down its ambitions to look at compulsory vaccinations for over-50s.

Member comments

  1. Well I doubt lauterbach is trying to position himself as a voice of reason before we go into the inevitable inquests into covid policy. But he is changing his tune. And fast.

  2. That was possibly the fastest u-turn in politics. This guy really just flip flops through policies

  3. Pingback: Anonymous
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Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

With the EU changing its Covid recommendations for flights, there is some confusion around whether people boarding a plane in Germany will still need to wear a mask. Here's what we know so far.

Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

As of Monday, the aviation safety agency EASA and the EU health authority ECDC no longer recommend mandatory Covid masks in airports and on planes.

However, if masks are compulsory at the point of departure or destination, this should continue to apply in aircraft as well, they say.

So, what does this mean for passengers boarding flights in Germany? At the moment, not very much at all. 

In Germany, the Infection Protection Act still stipulates that masks have to be worn on long-distance trains and planes. Masks are also compulsory on local public transport.

The previous weeks have seen Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) come out in favour of scrapping compulsory masks – especially on flights.

But so far, nothing concrete has been done to change the Infection Protection Act, which is due to expire on September 23rd. 

READ ALSO: German politicians row over lifting mandatory Covid mask rule

What are the current rules on flights? 

According to the Federal Ministry of Health, masks are compulsory on all flights taking off or landing in Germany.

FFP2 or medical masks must be worn when boarding and disembarking and throughout the flight, though they can be removed when eating and drinking.

Children under the age of six are exempt from the mask-wearing requirement. 

The ministry has argued that the obligation to wear masks also complies with the new EU recommendations. 

What are the rules acros the EU? 

In general, the relaxed EU recommendation does not mean that masks are no longer compulsory on all flights. However, many countries have kept this measure in place as a simple way to reduce infection. 

Europe’s largest low-cost airline, Ryanair, published a list of 14 EU countries in which national laws continue to require the wearing of face masks to prevent the spread of Covid.

Besides Germany, popular tourist destinations such as Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy and France are included on the list. 

In other EU countries, the airline said it would be dropping mandatory masks on flights, adding that it “welcomed” the relaxed recommendations from the EU health authorities.  

READ ALSO: Will Germany soon get rid of mandatory face masks on public transport?