BERLIN (AP) – Germany is removing all countries currently on its list of “high-risk areas” as part of a rethink of its coronavirus travel rules that will take effect today.
The country’s disease control centre, the Robert Koch Institute, said from now on Germany’s list will only include places where high infection rates are linked to variants of COVID-19 that are more virulent than the currently dominant omicron variant, which in many cases leads to relatively mild illness.
That change will result in the current list of “high-risk areas”, which contains dozens of countries and territories, being wiped clean from today. Health Ministry spokesman Andreas Deffner said yesterday, however, that Germany will still require people to show proof of vaccination, recent recovery or a negative test to enter the country.
People arriving from “high-risk areas” who either haven’t recovered recently or been fully vaccinated have to self-isolate for 10 days, which can be cut to five with a negative test. Everyone arriving from those areas has to register online before arrival.
For countries that do end up on the list, quarantine requirements will be relaxed for under-12s – who will be able to avoid self-isolating with a negative test – and dropped for children under six. Germany’s coronavirus infection rate is drifting downward slowly after a wave of infections with Omicron peaked last month. Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the country’s 16 state governors agreed in mid-February on a three-step plan to end most restrictions by March 20.