TRAVEL: Germany to impose stricter quarantine and border checks for summer

TRAVEL: Germany to impose stricter quarantine and border checks for summer
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and Health Minister Jens Spahn on Thursday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Wolfgang Kumm
Controls at German airports will be stepped up in the summer months to help slow the spread of Covid-19 and variants in Germany, according to the government.

Checks at airports by border control staff – and monitoring of quarantine orders by health offices – will be stepped up, said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer at a joint press conference with Health Minister Jens Spahn on Thursday. 

Anyone returning to Germany by plane from abroad currently needs to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test, proof of recovery or vaccination before boarding the flight.

Earlier this week, some state leaders had pushed for more stringent controls and tougher restrictions. However, Seehofer said long traffic jams at border crossings needed to be avoided. 

READ ALSO: Germany holds back on imposing tougher travel rules to tackle Delta variant

He said there were no plans to bring in fixed checkpoints at the border when people are arriving by car or train. 

“Those who want to enter the country by car should, however, be prepared for random checks in the border area,” Seehofer added.

The reason for the more relaxed handling of the situation on land is that Germany is currently not surrounded by any risk or virus variant areas.

Under Germany’s rules, only travellers who have been in a risk area, high incidence area or virus variant area in the past 10 days have to fill out an electronic entry form before arriving in Germany and adhere to any regulations. 

Spahn said this year’s summer vacation will be different to 2020 due to vaccination rates. The crucial difference is that “two out of three Germans have been vaccinated at least once” he said. 

He also said there are lots of testing centres and a system for imposing travel restrictions. There are “clear rules right from the start”, Spahn said. 

Spahn also said that due to the lower number of infections, the health authorities now have more capacity to monitor compliance with quarantine orders better. 

Germany lifted its blanket travel warning against tourist travel on July 1st, but some restrictions remain. 

Portugal and UK may soon no longer be ‘virus variant’ areas

Due to the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Germany, Portugal and the UK may soon no longer be classified as virus variant areas, said the Health Minister. 

READ ALSO: Germany could ease travel rules for UK and Portugal soon, says Health Minister

If the Delta variant becomes prevalent in Germany, and with the knowledge that being double jabbed also protects against this virus variant, “we will look at the situation in the next few days” said Spahn.

“If both of these things are confirmed, we will then be able to treat Portugal and the United Kingdom as high-incidence areas”, rather than variant countries, he said.

‘UEFA is acting irresponsibly’

When it comes to Euro 2020 games and concerns over the Delta variant spreading among football fans in packed stadiums, Interior Minister Seehofer said that “no problems had come” from the games held in Munich. 

The situation in the UK is different, he said. “When you look at the pictures of people standing close together, celebrating success with big hugs, it’s obvious that this will promote infections,” said Seehofer.

In allowing a high number of people to attend the matches, UEFA is “acting irresponsibly”, he added.

There were 41,973 spectators at London’s Wembley Stadium for the German national team’s 2-0 loss to England in the European Championship on Tuesday.

As many as 60,000 spectators are to be allowed for the semifinals and final – despite the fact that the UK. already has by far the highest incidence figures in Europe.

READ ALSO: Germany urges UK to reduce Euro 2020 crowd sizes


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