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Germany to impose travel ban on arrivals from UK, South Africa & Brazil

Germany to impose travel ban on arrivals from UK, South Africa & Brazil

Germany to impose travel ban on arrivals from UK, South Africa & Brazil

The coronavirus infection rate may be falling in Germany, but ministers are still gravely concerned about mutated strains of the virus. The Federal Ministry of the Interior has therefore confirmed that it is preparing a travel ban for arrivals from the UK, Brazil and South Africa. 

Germany preparing travel ban for next week

A draft law that would prevent arrivals from the UK, Brazil and South Africa from touching down in Germany is currently being put together, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer confirmed on Thursday. The CSU politician said that a decision from the federal cabinet is expected on Friday, and the ban could be implemented as soon as next week. 

The justification for the ban is the highly-contagious mutations of COVID-19 that have been detected in these countries, which the federal government wishes to prevent spreading rapidly in Germany. It is conceivable that the travel ban might also include other countries where these virus mutations have already spread widely - such as Portugal, Denmark and the Netherlands. 

There will likely be some exceptions to the travel ban - for instance, it may not apply to German citizens, commuters or diplomats - but Seehofer said exactly which exceptions will apply is currently being clarified. “I don’t want to speculate about that now,” he said. He only said explicitly that Germany was not waiting for an EU-wide approach to the travel ban.

Ban draws criticism from opposition

Earlier this week, Chancellor Angela Merkel indicated that she was in favour of tighter travel restrictions, stating at an internal CDU / CSU meeting that Germany should make travel as uncomfortable as possible. Several other political parties joined the call on Wednesday. Thomas Kreuzer, the CSU parliamentary group leader in Bavaria, said to Welt: “In order for restrictions to be successful in one’s own country, the constant introduction of the virus from abroad must be prevented.” 

However, the proposal has attracted criticism from the opposition. FDP interior expert Stephan Thomae told the Augsburger Allgemeine that far-reaching travel restrictions were an expression of governmental failure. “Coronavirus and its mutations are extremely dangerous,” said Thomae. “Nonetheless, we are not at war.” He called for more rapid coronavirus tests to be offered at national borders and airports

Other countries have already imposed travel restrictions

If the measure is passed, Germany would join a number of other countries that have already imposed strict entry restrictions. Portugal stopped all flight connections with Brazil on Wednesday, while Norway announced that it would close its borders to almost all foreigners from Thursday at midnight. Finland also said that it would put a stop to all “unnecessary” air travel. 

The UK government has also announced a tightening, so that in future all travellers returning from high-risk areas will have to go into a 10-day quarantine at a so-called “quarantine hotel”. 

Meanwhile, the new variants continue to spread around the world. According to the World Health Organisation, the mutation initially discovered in the UK has now been detected in 70 countries. The “South African” variant has now been detected in 31 countries. 

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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