Germany to relax entry rules for vaccinated travellers from COVID variant areas
The German federal government has announced that it plans to extend and adapt quarantine rules for travellers vaccinated against COVID-19.
New rules for fully-vaccinated travellers from virus variant areas
The new ordinance, which comes into force on July 28 and applies provisionally until September 10, keeps most of the current quarantine rules in place. They were originally set to expire at the end of July.
However, one significant rule change means that fully-vaccinated people entering from so-called “virus variant areas of concern” - a definition given by the Robert Koch Institute that applies to countries such as Brazil and South Africa - will no longer have to self-isolate for a mandatory 14 days.
In future, quarantine rules will not apply so long as the person “has been vaccinated with a vaccine that is sufficiently effective against the virus variant” circulating in that region, the federal government said in a statement. It’s not yet clear how people will be able to prove that - but more details will be released soon.
The cabinet also decided that in future, if a virus variant area is downgraded to a high-incidence area while returnees are still in quarantine, the rules for high-incidence areas will apply immediately. This means that travellers will be able to end their self-isolation period after five days with a negative test, or immediately if they can prove they have either been vaccinated against, or have recovered from, coronavirus.
Travel still restricted from variant countries
Travel between Germany and virus variant areas is currently largely banned, with exceptions made only for those with German citizenship or residency. Currently, anyone who does enter the country from a variant area has to quarantine for 14 days, with no option to cut it short.
Reacting to the rapid spread of the Delta variant of coronavirus in Germany, the government recently downgraded five countries, including the UK and Portugal, from areas of variant concern, to high-incidence countries.