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The wearing of face masks on public transport – trains, buses, trams, underground tubes etc. – is still be compulsory across Germany/Photo: © BZgA

Covid-19: Newly updated government directives in Germany

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of government of the federal states (Laender) have agreed on further measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus in Germany. At the meeting held in Berlin on Thursday, the following directives were issued to people living in Germany:

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Foreign travel

  • The federal and state governments appeal to all citizens, wherever possible, to avoid travel to designated high-risk countries (Risikogebiete). Due to the high incidence of coronavirus infection, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s centre for disease control and prevention, classifies some countries as high-risk countries. The federal and state governments advise against travelling to such countries. If possible, please check before your planned trip whether a travel warning or classification as a high-risk area exists for your destination. For the current travel and security advice from the German Foreign Office, please visit here
  • Special regulations apply to returnees from high-risk countries. They are obliged to go directly to their homes immediately after entering Germany and to remain in quarantine there for a period of 14 days. Henceforth, returnees from high-risk areas will be able to end their quarantine at the earliest with a test from the fifth day after return.
  • From 15 September, free corona test will no longer be available for travellers from non-high-risk countries.

On 3 June 3, the Federal Cabinet lifted the worldwide travel warning. Since 15 June, individual travel warnings have been in force for the EU member states, Great Britain, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. The countries themselves decide on possible entry bans. For travel to countries outside of Europe, the travel warning will remain in force up to and including 14 September.

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May I travel within Germany?

The rules of the federal states (Laender) apply. Due to local outbreaks, some regions may be subject to lockdown restrictions again. On 26 June, the federal and state governments decided that travellers from affected regions may only travel within Germany if they have a negative test for the new coronavirus infection (SARS-Cov-2). Before planning your trip, please check which regulations apply to your region and destination. 

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Events & large gatherings

  • Big events where contact tracing and compliance with hygiene regulations is not possible are prohibited until the end of this year.

The federal states (Laender) decide in which framework smaller public or private events or celebrations as well as events without festive character can take place. Hygiene and social distancing rules must always be observed.

The regulations of the federal states (Laender) can be found here

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Religious gatherings

  • Worship services and prayer meetings can take place if the requirements of infection control are met.
  • The general rules of social distancing must be observed.
  • Special religious rites such as baptisms, circumcisions and weddings as well as funeral services may take place only in small groups.
  • Religious activities that attract large numbers of visitors should be avoided (for example, pilgrimages or processions).
  • Parish and choir singing as well as orchestral accompaniment is not recommended.

The details of religious gatherings are regulated by the respective federal states (Laender).

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Private festivities & Meetings

All citizens are asked to weigh critically whether, how and to what extent private festivities are necessary and justifiable in view of the danger of coronavirus infection. Where possible, meetings should be held outdoors

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Social distancing

  • The social distancing and hygiene rules continue to apply. The obligation to maintain a minimum distance of 1.5 meters remains.
  • Citizens are required to keep the number of people with whom they have contact to a minimum and to keep the number of people they come into contact with as constant as possible.

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Face masks

In certain public areas, such as in public transport and when shopping, face masks are mandatory. The federal states will set the fine for violations of the mask obligation at a minimum of 50 euros. Saxony-Anhalt is exempted as the state has announced that it will not introduce a fine.

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Palliative

To ease the burden on families in the Corona pandemic, child health benefits will be paid for five additional days per parent in 2020, and for ten additional days for single parents.

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What to do when coronavirus infection is suspected?

  • Anyone who has had personal contact with a person in whom the new coronavirus has been detected should immediately contact the public health department (Gesundheitsamt) by phone – even if no signs of illness are visible. The Gesundheitsamt responsible for your location can be found via a database of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) here 
  • Anyone who has stayed in a high-risk area designated by the RKI should – even if he or she has no signs of illness – avoid unnecessary contact and stay at home if possible.

READ ALSO Coronavirus: New study reveals how most people get infected in Germany

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Rules for quarantine

Home quarantine is a protective measure and is intended to prevent you from infecting other people and thus spreading the coronavirus. Therefore it is important that you follow the instructions of the health authorities exactly:

  • Do not leave your home!
  • Do not receive visitors!
  • Measure your body temperature twice a day and keep a diary of any signs of illness.
  • Make a note if you have had personal contact with another person.

The public health department will regularly inquire about your state of health.

If you live with your family or other persons in the same household, the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Population Assistance advises you to stay in a separate room from the other members of the household if possible. Observe the rules of social distance and hygiene and air the apartment regularly. Do not share household items such as dishes and laundry with other people and clean surfaces and objects with which you come into contact thoroughly.

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You should consult a doctor if

  • You have been in contact with a person in the past two weeks who has been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • You were in an area where many COVID-19 cases have already been recorded
  • You have a respiratory disease and it is getting worse (shortness of breath, high fever),
  • If you come into contact with people who have a high risk of serious illnesses (for example, in hospital) 

Femi Awoniyi

More details on the official website of the German Federal Government here

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