To slow down the spread of particularly contagious coronavirus mutations, the federal government has drastically restricted entry from Portugal, Ireland, Great Britain, South Africa and Brazil into Germany beginning from Saturday (30 January).
According to the new ordinance passed by the federal cabinet, airlines, rail, bus and shipping companies are in principle no longer allowed to transport passengers from these countries to Germany until 17 February.
On Sunday, Lesotho and Eswatini, will join the restricted countries.
There are exceptions for all Germans and foreigners living in Germany as well as transit passengers. The movement of goods also remains unaffected.
“For the few exceptional cases, however, the following applies: They must present a negative test result upon entry and then go into quarantine,” Federal Minister of the Interior, Horst Seehofer, said.
“The transport ban is a drastic measure, but it is absolutely necessary to protect our population,” Seehofer said in defence of the entry bans.
At the same time, the minister urgently appealed to the population to refrain from any travel abroad that was not absolutely necessary. He sees this as a “civic duty”.
“To travel to mutation areas now without a really compelling reason (…) would be downright foolish,” Seehofer said.
The German government had already made entry into the country more difficult in recent weeks and months. Around 160 of the almost 200 countries worldwide are now classified in one of three Coronavirus risk categories.
For the lowest category, testing is compulsory 48 hours after entry at the latest and quarantine is compulsory for ten days, from which one can be released after five days by a second negative test.
For about 40 countries in the two higher risk categories – including the mutation areas – the rules were already tightened last week. When entering from these countries, one must now present a negative test upon entry, which has led to queues and traffic jams at the German-Czech border.
According to the latest figures of the Robert Kock Institute, there have been 2,207,530 confirmed cases of infection in Germany since the oubreak of the pandemic. A total of 57,095 people have so far died. On average, 11,770 new infections are recorded every day.