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German states call for stricter travel rules to keep Delta variant at bay

German states call for stricter travel rules to keep Delta variant at bay

German states call for stricter travel rules to keep Delta variant at bay

Despite falling coronavirus incidence rates in Germany, the federal states are calling for travel restrictions to be tightened in advance of the summer holidays, according to a media report. The reason for the concern is the highly-contagious Delta variant of COVID-19.

Ministers call for tighter entry restrictions in Germany

The leaders of Germany’s 16 federal states are calling on Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn to tighten entry regulations ahead of the holiday season, Business Insider reports. The ministers are anxious to prevent the Delta coronavirus variant from spreading widely in Germany. 

In a decision paper, the Conference of State Health Ministers (GMK) wrote: “In view of the incomplete entry regulations, the GMK is concerned that virus variants (especially the Delta variant) will be introduced during the upcoming holiday and travel season, the spread of which cannot be adequately prevented by the projected vaccination rate.” They are concerned that the severe nature of the variant could quickly cause the healthcare system to become overwhelmed. 

Self-test strategy could be replaced with two-test strategy

Specifically, the state health ministers are demanding that travellers from risk areas no longer be allowed to test themselves using antigen test kits. This, they argue, leads to “incomplete early detection of possible infections.” 

Under current regulations, anyone travelling to Germany from a risk area can avoid quarantine by presenting a negative antigen test taken no more than 48 hours before travelling (or a PCR taken up to 72 hours before departure). The federal states single this measure out for particular criticism, arguing that between testing and travelling there is more than enough time for an infection to occur. 

Moreover, the GMK argues that the current rules are too confusing and “do not allow the person concerned to easily see which obligation they have to comply with when entering the country.” They are therefore calling for the entry rules to be simplified. 

They suggest introducing a new two-test strategy, whereby all travellers must be tested upon arrival and then again five days later. It would also be mandatory to keep a list of one’s contacts as a precautionary measure, so that they could be followed up in the event of a positive test result. 

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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