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Fighting the pandemic: Agreement on new corona travel restrictions

Fighting the pandemic : Agreement on new corona travel restrictions

The travel season is just around the corner and people in areas with significant corona outbreaks are uncertain. Do they have to cancel their trips? Not if they have had a recent corona test with a negative result.

Travelers from a district with a high incidence of corona cases are only allowed to stay in a hotel if they have a medical certificate confirming that they do not have coronavirus.

This is according to a decision made on Friday by the head of the Federal Chancellery and political leadership within the German states. The required medical certificate "must be based on a molecular biological test that was carried out no more than 48 hours before arrival".

The federal and state governments want to work to further expand testing capacities where necessary. They will monitor the implementation of these measures over the next two weeks and then decide on a future course of action for those areas that are especially affected. The German states welcome the fact that the Federal Ministry of Health has made it possible for the federal government to cover the costs of tests for people who are or have been in a so-called hotspot.

According to the decision, the German states will take precautions in the areas that are especially affected to ensure that, literally, "travelers from a district or city with a cumulative number of more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within the last 7 days may only be accommodated in a tourist accommodation or enter a German state without quarantine if they have a medical certificate in paper or digital form confirming that there is no evidence of infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2"

A test result from a medical specialist laboratory is regarded as a medical certificate. This "must be based on a molecular biological test carried out not more than 48 hours before arrival". The beginning of the 48-hour period begins at the time when the test result is determined.

As to how the German states will enforce the accommodation bans for people from corona high risk areas in Germany, this was initially left open. There have already been exceptions to these bans with proof of negative corona tests. Meanwhile, Bavaria, as a pioneer, is already welcoming guests from the Warendorf district, where infections have decreased. In several German states, even their own citizens have to go into quarantine when they return home from the Gütersloh district.

The current agreement says that necessary precautions must be taken in the event of a regional outbreak to prevent the coronavirus from spreading through travel within Germany. This is especially important because it is vacation season. At the same time, citizens should have freedom of travel and security in their travel plans, even in areas affected by local outbreaks.

The agreement also confirms an earlier decision made by leaders of the German states and Chancellor Angela Merkel on May 6. This asserts that crisis management is basically the responsibility of the states, which have to react to regional outbreaks of infection. If there are clearly identifiable sources of infection, for example in a facility, restrictions can be concentrated on that facility. "In the event of a scattered regional outbreak and unclear infection chains, restrictions must be rigorously reinstated on a regional basis. These measures must be maintained until the level is below this value for at least 7 days”.

NRW State Premier Armin Laschet (CDU), defended the lockdown for the districts of Gütersloh and Warendorf. He told the newspaper "Westfälische Nachrichten" (Saturday) that they had "intensively considered whether individual cities in the district could be excepted from the regulations, for which there are many good reasons".

However, the agreement of the states and the federal government and the Robert Koch Institute deliberately stipulates rules for the entire district area. "For the future, one will perhaps have to think about new mechanisms", said Laschet. The reason for the lockdown was the massive corona outbreak at the Tönnies meat processing plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrück.

Orig. text: dpa. Translation: ck