(New: infection numbers and more background)
BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – The federal government is loosening the entry restrictions for Portugal, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Russia, India and Nepal due to the spread of particularly contagious corona variants. On Wednesday, the five countries will be downgraded from virus variant area to high incidence area, as the Robert Koch Institute announced on Monday evening. This means that entry into Germany is possible again for all groups of people. The quarantine obligation is no longer applicable for those who have been completely vaccinated and those who have recovered; for all others it is shortened.
Chancellor Angela Merkel had already promised to make travel easier in the past week. The background is that the delta variant of the corona virus is now also very widespread in Germany. The actual purpose of the drastic travel restrictions – to slow down the spread of the delta variant – has thus largely been done.
India had already been classified as a virus variant area at the end of April, with Nepal and Great Britain following in May. The EU country Portugal and Russia did not join until June 29th. In the highest corona risk category of the virus variant areas, there are drastic entry restrictions:
– Airlines, bus and train companies are not allowed to transport people from virus variant areas to Germany unless they are German citizens or have a place of residence in Germany.
– Anyone entering Germany from virus variant areas must be in quarantine for 14 days – even if he or she has been fully vaccinated or has recovered.
With the downgrading to a high incidence area, the ban on transport is no longer applicable, so entry into Germany is basically possible again for all persons using all means of transport. Those who have not been vaccinated or recovered only have to be in quarantine for ten days, but can shorten it to five days with a second negative test.
The number of infections in the five downgraded countries is still high, but the number of infections is now falling significantly in India. On Tuesday, the new corona infections recorded within one day reached their lowest level in more than three months. In Russia, on the other hand, the numbers continue to rise, with well over 20,000 new cases being counted every day. On Tuesday, the number of corona deaths reached a new high of 737.
Great Britain is the country with the highest numbers in Europe, with around 230 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days. Portugal has the highest numbers in the European Union after Cyprus.
Since the week before last, the number of infections has been increasing in Europe as a whole. However, it is unlikely that the delta variant will result in new classifications of virus variant areas with hard quarantine rules – because this variant is already widespread in Germany.
With the downgrading of the five countries, the number of virus variant areas worldwide drops again on Wednesday from 16 to 11. The remaining countries are Brazil and Uruguay in Latin America, as well as nine countries in Africa: South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe./mfi/DP/mis