Germany plans stricter COVID testing rules for returning travellers

Germany plans stricter COVID testing rules for returning travellers

The German Health Ministry is examining the possibility of tightening the test requirement, according to a media report. The change would mean that almost all unvaccinated travellers would be required to present a negative test upon entering the country. 

Germany considers tightening entry restrictions

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Health is apparently planning a significant expansion in the test requirement for returning travellers. According to reports across the Funke Media Group, Health Minister Jens Spahn wants to change the rules so that all travellers would in future have to present a negative COVID test when entering Germany, regardless of where they come from and which mode of transport they travel with. 

Currently, the test obligation only applies to passengers travelling by plane into a German airport, or those coming from designated high-risk areas - unless they can show proof that they are fully vaccinated against coronavirus or have recovered from the disease in the last six months. However, if someone is driving or taking a train from a basic risk area, such as France, they are not required to show a test. 

Proportion of coronavirus cases with foreign origin increasing

But with coronavirus cases rising - and reports indicating that a significant number of people are being infected abroad - the Ministry of Health now wants “the fastest possible expansion of test requirements on entry.”

According to the Robert Koch Institute, the number of German coronavirus cases with probable foreign origin increased significantly between June 21 and July 18. During this time, around 2.042 people - or 10 percent of all reported cases - were probably exposed to the virus abroad. Between May 31 and June 6, just one percent of cases had a foreign origin. “This shows an increasing role of travel-associated cases in the current infection incidence,” the RKI stated. 

“We should not repeat last year’s mistake”

The state premier of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Manuela Schwesig, has called for Germany to tighten its entry requirements. “We need stricter rules again on entry from foreign risk areas,” she said. “If the federal government doesn’t want to make stricter rules, at least the states should have the option. We should not repeat last year’s mistake of not testing travellers sufficiently.” 

However, according to the report, Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht in particular is against the proposal, arguing that a comprehensive test obligation is disproportionate to the current situation. 



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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