In order to protect itself from more contagious corona mutants, is Coronavirus variants: Germany is reacting with an entry ban for individual countries. What that means and what it should bring – an overview.
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Compulsory testing, quarantine, and stricter border controls: Even now, entering Germany from most countries in the world is tedious. Due to the dramatic development of the corona pandemic, there are requirements for around 160 of the almost 200 countries. For seven of them, there is even an extensive entry ban from the weekend.
Why did the federal government take this drastic measure?
The aim is to curb the cross-border spread of dangerous virus mutations. Areas of origin of such mutations are Great Britain, South Africa and Brazil. In addition, the mutants are already very widespread in Portugal and Ireland as well as in the small South African states of Lesotho and Estwatini.
The federal government has classified these seven countries as so-called virus variant areas, but Lesotho and Estwatini only from Sunday.
How should entry be prevented?
By means of a transport ban for airlines as well as bus, train and shipping companies. They are generally prohibited from bringing people from these countries to Germany. But there are numerous exceptions. For example, all Germans and foreigners living in Germany can continue to come to Germany.
Commercial flights are likely to continue to be offered to them. A state-organized return campaign with charter flights by the federal government, such as during the border controls in spring, should not be repeated.
Will the movement of goods also be restricted?
What other exceptions are there?
- Transportation of medical personnel
- Ambulance flights and organ transport
- Promotions “for urgent humanitarian reasons”
- Transit passengers
- Crews of aircraft and ships
How many flights do you expect to have to be canceled?
It is unclear. But it could be hundreds. According to an analysis by German air traffic control, there were 1,601 arrivals from the five current areas of change and 1,572 departures there from January 1st to 26th – around 60 each day. Lufthansa alone currently offers 55 return flights per week to the affected countries.
How do you want to enforce the implementation of the transport ban?
In almost all countries that are currently designated as so-called virus variant areas, the entry ban is relatively easy to control, since people have to travel by plane. From the EU member state Portugal, someone could theoretically travel by car, bus or train across Western Europe to Germany.
However, due to the extremely high number of corona infections, the Portuguese government has already ordered the border to neighbor Spain to be closed from Friday. For an initial two weeks, the Portuguese-Spanish border may only be crossed in emergency situations.
What is changing at the German land borders?
Nothing at first. Because the federal government wants to avoid border controls, as they existed at several border sections in the spring, as far as possible. Instead, she relies on an intensified veil search. This means that the probability of being checked at the border in the 30-kilometer area is higher than in normal times.
Which entry restrictions already apply?
Around 160 countries are now classified in one of three categories of risk areas. For the lowest, a test requirement applies no later than 48 hours after entry and a ten-day quarantine requirement, from which one can free oneself after five days with a second negative test.
For around 40 countries in the two higher categories – including the mutation areas – the rules were tightened last week. When entering from these countries you have to present a negative test upon entry.