Germany aims to lift warning against worldwide travel from mid-June

Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas hopes Germany's worldwide warning against travel can be scrapped after June 14th – and turned into travel advice to allow people to make their own decisions.

Germany aims to lift warning against worldwide travel from mid-June
A beach in Athens, Greece on May 14th. Photo: DPA

During an interview on ZDF's Morgenmagazin show, Maas said that he believed holidays in Europe would be possible this summer for people in Germany – but with restrictions.

“Holidays this year will not be like the ones we know from the past,” Maas said.

During another interview on ARD's Report from Berlin on Sunday, the Foreign Minister also advocated the lifting of quarantine rules within the EU.

It would mean only people entering from non-EU countries would have to do a two-week mandatory quarantine when arriving in Germany in future.

He said the pandemic had not yet been beaten, and that safety precautions would have to be taken in case the number of infections spiked again.

However, he said there were “many positive developments”, including some countries announcing they will open their borders from June or July.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about travelling in Germany this summer

Maas to discuss travel restrictions with EU colleagues

Maas also pointed out that there would be restrictions in place in all popular holiday destinations due to the pandemic.

On Monday, Maas was set to hold a video conference with his counterparts from Spain, Italy, Austria, Greece, Croatia, Portugal, Malta, Slovenia, Cyprus and Bulgaria to discuss easing restrictions.

Heiko Maas wearing a face mask on a Luftwaffe aircraft on May 16th. Photo: DPA

Among other things, the ministers want to talk about entry regulations, quarantine rules and cooperation between health authorities, said Maas.

The goal, he said, is to drop the worldwide travel warning, which currently applies in Germany, and turn it into travel advice as of June 15th. This would allow people to judge for themselves on where – and whether – to visit a country on holiday.

READ ALSO: Germany extends worldwide tourist travel warning until mid-June

The advice would answer questions such as where you can go, if travel is justifiable or allowed there, and what regulations apply, said Maas. 

Everyone must then decide for themselves “whether they want to go there on holiday, given the restrictions that will be imposed everywhere”, said Maas.

However, some people are concerned about Germans travelling outside the country and instead want to promote domestic tourism.

READ ASO: Weekend Wanderlust: How to travel the world without leaving Germany

Markus Söder, leader of the centre-right Christian Social Union (CSU) in Bavaria, said he was more cautious about holidays in European countries this summer.

The debate on summer holidays during the crisis must be about “how to promote holidays in Germany in particular”, Söder said before a CSU board meeting in Munich. This could be achieved, for example, through tax deductions or holiday vouchers.


Travel warning – (die) Reisewarnung

Safety precautions/measures – (die) Sicherheitsvorkehrungen

Quarantine regulations – (die) Quarantänebestimmungen

Popular holiday destinations – (die) beliebten Ferienländer

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Is the pandemic over in Germany?

As much of Germany lifts - or prepares to lift - the last remaining Covid-19 measures, intensive care units say Covid-19 admissions are no longer straining the system.

Is the pandemic over in Germany?

Despite a difficult winter of respiratory illnesses, intensive care units in Germany say Covid-19 admissions have almost halved. The number of cases having to be treated in the ICU has gone down to 800 from 1,500 at the beginning of this month.

“Corona is no longer a problem in intensive care units,” Gernot Marx, Vice President of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, told the German Editorial Network. “A the moment, we don’t have to think every day about how to still ensure the care of patients, but how to actually run a service that can help.”

Marx said the drop has allowed them to catch up on many postponed surgeries.

The number of sick employees in hospitals is also falling, helping to relieve the pressure on personnel.

The easing pressure on hospitals correlates with the assessment of prominent virologist and head of the Virology department at Berlin’s Charite – Christian Drosten – who said in December that the pandemic was close to ending, with the winter wave being an endemic one.

German federal and state governments are now in the midst of lifting the last of the country’s pandemic-related restrictions. Free Covid-19 antigen tests for most people, with exceptions for medical personnel, recently ended.

READ ALSO: Free Covid-19 tests end in Germany

Six federal states – Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hessen, Thuringia, Lower Saxony, and Schleswig-Holstein – have ended mandatory isolation periods for people who test positive for Covid-19.

Bavaria, Saxony-Anhalt, and Schleswig-Holstein have ended the requirement to wear FFP2 masks on public transport, while Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxony, Thuringia, and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania will follow suit on February 2nd.

At that time, the federal government will also drop its requirement for masks to be worn on long-distance trains. Labour Minister Hubertus Heil says that’s when he also intends to exempt workplaces – apart from medical locations – from a mask requirement.

READ ALSO: Germany to drop mask mandate in trains and buses from February 2nd

Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg will also end the requirement for patients to wear a mask in doctor’s offices. That’s a requirement that, so far, will stay in place everywhere else. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has also said that he thinks this requirement should remain. 

But some public health insurers and general practitioners are calling for a nationwide end to the obligation for wearing masks in doctor’s offices.

“The pandemic situation is over,” National Association of Statutory Health Physicians (KBV) Chair Andreas Gassen told the RND network. “High-risk patients aren’t treated in all practices. It should generally be left up to medical colleagues to decide whether they want to require masks in their practices.”