COVID-19: Germany to test all arrivals from ‘high risk’ countries due to surge of new cases

The head of the Robert Koch Institute for health, Lothar Wieler, said on Tuesday (28 July) that he was “very concerned” by the surge of new coronavirus infections in Germany, the press reported. “We don’t know yet if this is the beginning of a second wave, but of course it could be,” Wieler said. Last week, Germany recorded 3,611 new infections.

Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn announced on Monday plans to make tests mandatory for people returning from risk-risk areas, DW reported. “We must prevent returning travellers from infecting others unnoticed and thus triggering new chains of infection,” Spahn tweeted. In order to decrease the risk of transmission, all travellers from abroad should be tested “as long as their entry was not longer ago than 72 hours,” said news magazine Der Spiegel, quoting a draft plan by German government.

The new measure would go into effect next week and the tests would be free of charge.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Research Minister Anja Karliczek says it’s unlikely a coronavirus vaccine will be made available to the wider public before the middle of 2021. She therefore urged people to continue to observe rules designed to stop the virus from spreading.

Germany has so far recorded more than 205,000 infections and over 9,000 deaths.

COVID-19: Who is allowed to enter Germany? 

The corona pandemic has a massive impact on migratory movements. Germany – like many other countries – has imposed far-reaching entry restrictions.

The important information on the subject of corona pandemic and migration.

Corona pandemic: Who is allowed to enter Germany?

What applies to German citizens?

There are no entry restrictions for German citizens. However, like all travellers to Germany, they must be placed in quarantine upon arrival if they enter from a risk area. Depending on the federal state, there are exceptions for persons who only enter for transit or who have tested negative for the coronavirus within 48 hours.

What applies to foreign nationals?

Entering from an EU country: You can enter Germany unhindered from an EU country, the Schengen area and Great Britain.

Entry from third countries: Since the beginning of July, people from third countries “with a low incidence of infection” may re-enter Germany without restrictions. The list of these states includes Australia, Georgia, Canada, New Zealand, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay (status: 17.7.2020). Persons from other third countries may enter the country if they are resident in Germany.

There are exceptions for the following groups of people:

  • Doctors and nursing staff,
  • Qualified specialists in necessary economic sectors, seasonal workers in agriculture, Personnel in freight transport, Sailors,
  • Students (if they are unable to carry out their studies abroad),
  • Foreigners* who move to Germany to live with children, parents or spouses or who have to visit their relatives for urgent family reasons
  • Diplomats, staff of international organisations, military personnel,
  • Late repatriates.

Tourist travel by third-country nationals is not permitted in principle. 

Visa issuance is based on the applicable entry restrictions. Only persons who are among the exceptional cases can currently apply for a visa. In addition, many German consulates only operate in emergency mode. With the gradual lifting of travel restrictions from 30 June, visa issuance is also to be resumed. The EU Commission has presented guidelines for this.

Vivian Asamoah

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