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Germany: COVID test is now required for all flight arrivals | UKTN | 30.03.2021

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Germany’s new COVID testing requirements for travelers entering the country went into effect on Tuesday.

The rule change comes as Germany grapples with a third wave of infections and thousands of German tourists have flown abroad for the Easter holidays.

What are the new rules?

  • Travelers will need to take a COVID test before departure, regardless of the level of risk in their home country.
  • Airlines will only be allowed to board passengers with proof of a negative COVID test.
  • The test must be taken 48 hours before departure at the earliest.
  • Travelers will have to pay for the tests themselves. Approved PCR tests and rapid tests will be accepted.
  • Airline crews are exempt, as are children under 6 years old.
  • Those who return will have to be quarantined according to local rules set by the 16 German states.
  • The testing requirements will last until at least May 12 and could be extended.

Why have the travel rules been changed?

The new testing rules went into effect shortly after midnight on Tuesday, after their implementation was postponed to give airlines and travelers more time to prepare.

Previously, only people returning from designated high-risk countries had to test negative before traveling to Germany.

The decision to implement new travel rules comes as thousands of German holidaymakers have flown to the Spanish island of Mallorca in recent days. The German government lifted its travel warning for the popular destination in mid-March after the incidence rate placed it in the low-risk category.

Until now, those returning from low-risk areas were not required to self-quarantine or be tested upon return.

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Are other travel measures on the horizon?

The German government is still examining whether it is possible to implement a temporary ban on holidays abroad all together.

A decision is expected to be made later this week.

What is the coronavirus situation in Germany?

Last week Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s 16 heads of state agreed to extend the country’s lockdown until April, but quickly reversed the decision to implement a hard 5-day lockdown over Easter.

Germany is currently grappling with a third wave of infections – mainly due to the highly contagious variant of the B117 coronavirus which was first discovered in Britain.

On Tuesday, the seven-day incidence rate of new coronavirus infections continued to rise, up to 135 new infections per 100,000 population. Officials have agreed to implement more stringent lockdown measures in areas where the rate exceeds the critical 100, although implementation has been inconsistent.

rs / rt (dpa, UKTN)

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