Travel update: Germany imposes travel ban in response to COVID-19 variants
Updated: Feb 2
On Friday 29th January, the German government announced that a temporary transportation ban, starting on Saturday 30th January, will go into effect for all flights, trains, buses and ships from countries where the coronavirus variants have spread. This is due to increased concerns regarding the spread of new, more contagious coronavirus strains.
Photo: Dominic Wunderlich via Pixabay
Travellers from countries such as the UK, Ireland, Brazil, Portugal and South Africa will now face entry restrictions. These areas are deemed high risk, due to the rapid spread of coronavirus mutations. From Sunday 31st January, the restrictions will also apply to visitors from the African countries of Lesotho and Eswatini. The restrictions are in place until at least 17th February.
In a nutshell, this means the majority of airlines are not allowed to carry passengers from these countries to Germany. There are a few exceptions to the new travel regulations. German citizens and residents, diplomats, those transporting goods, as well as urgent humanitarian and medical flights, are exempt from the regulation.
Therefore, some airlines, such as Lufthansa, are permitted to offer flights from high-risk, virus-variant areas, as long as passengers can present a negative Covid-19 test. Alongside the new regulations, the existing testing and quarantine rules set individually by the 16 German states must be followed by travellers entering Germany.
In the new regulations created by the German government, it states “a temporary restriction on transport of passengers from countries classified as virus variant areas is necessary”, in order “to protect the population in Germany and to limit the entry and rapid spread of the new virus variants.”
Additionally, German Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, told German tabloid Bild “the danger posed by numerous mutations forces us to consider drastic measures. That includes significantly stricter border checks, especially at border with high-risk areas, but also reducing air travel to Germany to almost zero.”
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, told lawmakers that, for now, she is opposed to an all-out international travel ban, but did continue to call for a halt to all tourism, in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Click here to view Germany's current coronavirus statistics.