Germany is easing strict restrictions on travel from five countries including India that were imposed because of the rise of the more contagious delta variant of coronavirus.
Germany’s national disease control centre, the Robert Koch Institute, announced late on July 5 that the United Kingdom, Portugal, Russia, India, and Nepal were no longer “virus variant areas”, reducing travel restrictions for people arriving in Germany from those countries from July 7.
German Ambassador to India Walter J Lindner tweeted about the lifting of travel restrictions.
“Promised to work hard on easing travel restrictions for travelers from IND and update you immediately. And voila: from tomorrow on GER is removing entry ban and easing travel rules for 5 countries where the Delta variant is widespread, including IND! Details soon on the website(sic),” Lindner posted on July 6.
All five countries have been now moved into the second-highest category of “high-incidence areas”, the Robert Koch Institute said.
The development comes days after Chancellor Angela Merkel indicated during a visit to Britain on July 2 that the restrictions on travel from the UK would soon be relaxed.
The UK had been in the top coronavirus risk category since May 23, and was joined in June end by Russia and Portugal, one of Germany’s partners in the European Union.
People arriving from “high incidence areas,” however, can avoid quarantine if they can prove that they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19. Others can cut short a mandatory 10-day quarantine by testing negative after five days.
“If you have spent time in a high incidence area prior to entry, the relevant test may not be conducted earlier than five days after entry,” the institute said on its website.
Transport is no longer restricted. Officials have said the listings would be reviewed as the proportion of infections caused by the delta variant in Germany rises. Although overall case numbers are very low, more than half of new cases are now believed to be caused by the delta variant of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, eleven countries will remain on Germany’s “virus variant area” list for now: Botswana, Brazil, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Uruguay.
(With inputs from agencies)