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Germany eases travel rules for UK, India, others

July 6, 2021

The German government will soften coronavirus travel rules for travelers from Britain and four other countries. It means shorter or no quarantine time depending on your vaccination status.

UK Besuch der deutschen Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel - Angela Merkel visit to UK. Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomes the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, to Chequers, the country house of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in Buckinghamshire.
The announcement follows Angela Merkel's trip to the UK last weekImage: David Rose/Daily Telegraph/empics/picture alliance

Travelers from the UK to Germany will face softer quarantine restrictions, after altered recommendations from the German public health agency the Robert Koch Institute published on Monday. Portugal, Russia, India and Nepal have also been downgraded.

The change will means simpler requirements for people visiting those countries. People who have had either both vaccination doses, or who can demonstrate they have recovered from COVID, will not need to isolate on their return or arrival.

People who have not been vaccinated will be required to self-isolate, but only for up to 10 days. They will also have the option to leave quarantine early with a negative coronavirus test on the fifth day.

Under the countries' previous classification, all people reaching Germany were required to self-isolate for 14 days, no matter what their personal COVID status. And only German citizens or residents were permitted to travel from the affected countries, not visitors from places like the UK.

The plan, which kicks in on Wednesday, comes after talks on Friday between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Health Minister Jens Spahn had already hinted last week that a possible change of policy would be forthcoming.

A Lufthansa plane taking off from Frankfurt Airport
Flights between Germany and the UK were restricted to essential travel onlyImage: Frank Rumpenhorst/dpa/picture alliance

Fears over delta variant

Officials in Berlin had feared that British nationals could spread the more contagious variant known as delta, which was first discovered in India.

But now that new variant is also present in continental Europe, Germany has downgraded the UK to a "high-incidence area"for coronavirus infections.

It is the second highest designation under the German government's COVID-19 travel rules. Britain had been branded a "virus variant area" since May 23.

Changes to German travel rules

Eleven countries remain on Germany's "virus variant area" list.

They include Botswana, Brazil, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Uruguay.

A PCR test center at the Sao Paulo International Airport.
Brazil stays on the German blacklist owing to high infection ratesImage: Niyi Fote/TheNEWS2/ZUMA Wire/picture alliance

German COVID caseloads have stabilized at very low levels in recent weeks, despite concerns about variants making up a larger share of the cases that remain. The RKI on Monday reported 212 new cases and an incidence rate of 5 new infections per 100,000 people over the last seven days.

jf/msh (AFP, Reuters)