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Germany and UK to ease Covid travel restrictions from Wednesday


Travel restrictions between the UK and Germany will be eased from Wednesday, after Germany’s disease control agency announced plans to downgrade the “virus variant area” status of the UK alongside Portugal, Russia, India and Nepal.

Travellers from the UK to Germany who have either received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, or can prove that they have recovered from an infection with the virus, will no longer be required to quarantine upon their arrival.

Those who are not vaccinated or have received only one shot will be required to quarantine for 10 days, but can leave quarantine from the fifth day with a negative test result.

The German foreign office has warned football fans who plan to travel to the UK for Euro 2020 that they will be turned away at the border if they have tickets for matches before the end of their quarantine period.

Rising infection rates and the wide spread of the more contagious Delta variant had led Germany to drastically tightening restrictions on travel between the two countries from 23 May. Currently travellers must still quarantine for 14 days, irrespective of their vaccination status.

But following a meeting with British prime minister Boris Johnson last Friday, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, hinted that quarantine rules could be relaxed as the Delta variant became more dominant in Germany. Health minister Jens Spahn also hinted at a change in policy last week.

Most recently available data, for the week of 14-20 June, shows the Delta variant makes up 37% of cases detected in Germany, up from 17% the week before. The variant of the virus, which was first detected in India, already makes up about 95% of cases in India.

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Even though the rate of coronavirus infections in Germany has dropped steeply since the end of April, with the Robert Koch Institute recording 419 cases on Tuesday, the Delta variant has been a cause for concern.

In view of Delta’s higher transmissibility, the institute on Monday revised upwards the recommended level of vaccination required to prevent a fourth wave of the virus in the autumn, to 85% of 12-59-year-olds.

“If this level of vaccinations can be reached in time,” a paper published by the German disease control agency said, “a pronounced fourth wave in the coming autumn/winter looks unlikely.”

As of Monday morning, 56.5% of the German public have received at least one dose of a vaccine, while 38.9 % of the population are fully immunised.

Following the UK’s downgrade to a “high-incidence area” for coronavirus infections, 11 countries remain on Germany’s virus variant area list, namely Botswana, Brazil, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Uruguay, Zambia and Zimbabwe.



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