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Germany to require COVID tests on all flight arrivals

March 25, 2021

Germany will require everyone entering the country by plane to undergo a coronavirus test starting on Sunday. Previously, only travelers from high risk areas were required to present a negative test.

A person holding a test swab at Dresden's airport
The new regulation comes as Germany experiences a third wave of COVID-19 infectionsImage: Robert Michael/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa/picture-alliance

The German Health Ministry announced on Thursday that people flying into Germany will be required to undergo coronavirus testing as of midnight (2300 UTC) on Sunday, March 28. 

What are the new rules?

  • Travelers will be required to take a COVID test before departure, regardless of the coronavirus risk level in their country of origin.
  • Airlines will only be allowed to let passengers on board with proof of a negative COVID test.  
  • Travelers will have to pay for the tests themselves. PCR tests, and approved rapid tests will be accepted.
  • Airline crews are exempt 
  • Anyone who tests positive will be required to quarantine according to local rules at their own cost.
  • The testing requirements are expected to last until mid-May. 

The old rules had required tests only from travelers coming from high-risk areas. Now, travelers coming from popular vacation destinations with lower case numbers, like Mallorca, will need a negative test. 

The stricter rules were originally supposed to have been enacted on Friday. However, health officials said they would push them back to Sunday to allow passengers and airlines time to prepare.

Airlines have said they will lay on hundreds of extra flights to cope with the surge in demand.

Latest move comes after lockdown ditched

The latest policy change comes after the federal government scrapped an agreed Easter lockdown.

Talks were regional leaders had been held on Monday, with the view to a tighter shutdown between April 1 and April 5.

But Chancellor Angela Merkel made a rare U-turn after criticism from business leaders and scientists.

Most shops would have closed, while Germans were told they must stay at home.

But Merkel reversed course when party officials from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) said the blueprint was unenforceable.

The number of virus cases per 100,000 population currently stands at 113 in Germany.

sms/wmr (AFP, dpa)