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Germany imposes travel bans for regions with feared virus variants

By Babatunde Abdulfatah [NAN]

Germany on Friday introduced travel bans for regions with particularly dangerous variants of the novel coronavirus, starting Saturday, the Interior Ministry told dpa.

Cabinet ministers implemented a transportation ban for airlines as well as train, coach and shipping companies from countries where more contagious coronavirus variants have spread, according to the ministry.

The concerned countries are Britain, Ireland, Portugal, South Africa and Brazil starting Saturday, and Lesotho and Eswatini starting on Sunday.

The measures would initially be in effect until Feb. 17 and include exceptions for people with the right to reside in Germany, for transit passengers and for the transport of goods.

Other exceptions include the transport of medical personnel, urgent medical transports and travel “for urgent humanitarian reasons’’, the ministry said.

Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, had already announced on Thursday that tougher travel rules were coming.

The government had gradually restricted entry to Germany in the last weeks and months, with around 160 of the world’s almost 200 countries classified under one of three coronavirus-risk levels.

People entering from countries with low risk have to undergo testing 48 hours after arrival at the latest and quarantine for 10 days.

Although they may leave isolation after five days if a second test is negative.

Around 40 countries are in the higher two categories – including the countries with widespread mutations – for which rules were already tightened last week, requiring people to present a negative test upon arrival.

This had for instance led to queues at the Czech-German border.

Germany is registering “more and more cases and outbreaks of variants,’’ Lothar Wieler, President of the Robert Koch Institute for Disease Control, warned in Berlin on Friday. (dpa/NAN)


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