Travelling within Germany: Do you need a coronavirus test?
Just in time for the start of the school holidays, Germany’s federal and state governments have agreed to a uniform regulation for travel within the country.
Visitors from coronavirus hotspots need negative test
From now on, anyone travelling from an area with a high occurrence of coronavirus infections may only stay in hotels or guest houses if they have a medical certificate confirming that they are not infected.
Any area where more than 50 new infections per 100.000 inhabitants have been confirmed within the past seven days is considered to have a high infection rate. According to the ruling, the certificate “must be based on a molecular biological test that was carried out at most 48 hours before arrival.”
The agreement was welcomed by Armin Laschet, State Premier for North Rhine-Westphalia, which as Germany’s most populous state has been at the centre of a number of high-profile infection clusters over the past few weeks. “It’s good that we now have uniform regulations nationwide that take into account risk provision and freedom of travel,” he said.
Concern after mass coronavirus outbreak in NRW
The debate over regulations for domestic travel was prompted when two districts in NRW were placed back in lockdown after a massive coronavirus outbreak at a local slaughterhouse. More than 1.500 people tested positive for the virus at the plant, but when testing was extended across the wider local population, only around 70 infections were discovered.
Nonetheless, several German states responded to the outbreak in knee-jerk fashion, stating that they would turn away would-be tourists from the affected districts. One couple from Gütersloh was kicked off the island of Usedom in the Baltic Sea last week, while Bavaria announced it was closing its hotels to visitors from coronavirus hotspots.
Reports began to come in of individuals from the affected districts facing insults and vandalism, prompting Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office to describe the backlash as “unacceptable and disgusting”. A spokesperson emphasised that everyone in Germany “must treat each other with respect and sympathy, especially in difficult situations”.
Laschet has since advised anyone wishing to travel elsewhere in Germany to get themselves tested for coronavirus. “For those people who are planning a holiday, we recommend that you get tested,” he said. “But one thing is not okay: That people from the district of Gütersloh are openly stigmatised.”