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Germany imposes stricter entry rules for travelers

July 30, 2021

The new measures mean testing will be compulsory for all unvaccinated travelers, whether they enter Germany by train, plane or car.

Arrivals to Germany at Munich International Airport
German authorities are trying to mandate more testing to prevent the delta variant from spreading via incoming travelersImage: Zumapress/picture alliance

Germany will require all inbound unvaccinated travelers to present a negative coronavirus test starting from August 1 amid concerns over rising infection rates in holiday destinations. 

The move was approved by Germany's Cabinet on Friday.

What did German authorities say about the rule?

"All unvaccinated people entering Germany will have to be tested in the future — regardless of whether they come by plane, car or train," Health Minister Jens Spahn said. "By this means, we will cut the risk of having additional infections brought in."

The rule applies to all unvaccinated individuals aged 12 and older. Cross-border commuters and those traveling through the country in transit are exempt from the testing mandate.

Vaccinated people and those who have recovered from the virus will also be exempt.

Marcel Klinge, who belongs to the business-friendly Free Democratic Party in Germany's Bundestag, criticized the new testing rule, saying it would hurt the tourism sector.

Previously, unvaccinated travelers arriving in Germany would only have to present a negative COVID test if they arrived by plane. Those entering by road, rail or sea were not required to do so.

However, the rules are stricter for travelers entering Germany from "high-risk" countries such as Brazil, as these individuals must be tested even if they have received the jab. 

Authorities worried about delta variant

German authorities are becoming increasingly concerned about the spread of the delta variant, which is regarded to be more contagious than the original strain of the coronavirus.

Cases have been slowly rising since early July, with Germany confirming 2,454 new cases on Friday.

A little more than half of the German population is fully vaccinated, with Spahn and other officials encouraging residents to get the jab as a means to combat the pandemic.

The delta variant has caused cases to surge in neighboring France, with French PM Jean Castex saying the country is experiencing a fourth wave of the virus.

Italy's National Health Institute (ISS) said Friday that delta has accounted for the vast majority of coronavirus cases as of July 20.

wd/nm (AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa)