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New NRW travel ordinance: Retrospective quarantine regulation for returning travellers

New NRW travel ordinance : Retrospective quarantine regulation for returning travellers

The coronavirus mutations discovered in Great Britain and South Africa have far-reaching consequences, also for North Rhine-Westphalia. People returning from these countries must go into quarantine - even if they have already been here for some days.

North Rhine-Westphalia has reinstated the quarantine ordinance for Great Britain and South Africa due to the coronavirus mutations discovered in these countries. The obligation to quarantine for entrants from these two countries even applies retrospectively from 11 December in NRW, as can be seen from the new travel protection ordinance, which was published and came into force on Sunday evening. According to the ordinance, all entrants from Great Britain and South Africa are also obliged to take a corona test, which they must repeat after five days.

As NRW Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) said in an evening broadcast on ‘BILD.de’, all arrivals from Great Britain had already been offered a test at the respective airport on Sunday evening. No aircraft from South Africa had landed in NRW.

Referring to the travel ordinance, Minister President Armin Laschet (CDU) said on Sunday evening in the "Aktuelle Stunde" programme on WDR: "You know, it had been repealed for NRW by the Higher Administrative Court for all Länder. We will put it back into force from midnight - especially for South Africa and Great Britain." In fact, the ordinance was published shortly afterwards and became effective before midnight. It will initially apply until 17 January.

According to Laschet, passengers arriving at Cologne, Düsseldorf and Dortmund airports on Sunday on planes from Manchester and London were advised of the quarantine obligation. "The Federal Police have already urged all 144 people on the flight from Manchester that landed in Cologne after 5pm to take a test - and a quarantine order has been issued for these passengers individually," said Laschet. The same would happen at the Düsseldorf and Dortmund airports, "and from midnight the flight ban would also apply to NRW." Laschet continues: "Of course what enters the country are trucks bringing goods or people arriving by car. Here, too, the quarantine regulation applies from midnight."

The Higher Administrative Court in Münster had overturned the quarantine obligation for foreign returnees from risk areas regulated in the Corona Entry Ordinance of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. According to the court, the state had not taken into account that travellers returning from countries with lower infection rates than their place of residence are exposed to a higher risk of infection after returning home.

The regulation stipulated that returnees from foreign risk areas had to go into domestic quarantine after entering North Rhine-Westphalia and were not allowed to receive visitors from other households for ten days. According to the new regulation, which provides for an obligatory test after five days, the quarantine is stopped from then on if the result is negative.

On Sunday, Laschet had called for an entry ban on travellers from Great Britain. He wrote on Twitter that Belgium and the Netherlands had already suspended air and train traffic. "To prevent evasive travel via Düsseldorf, Cologne or Frankfurt am Main, we need a quick entry ban, preferably European," Laschet said. The mutation of the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus discovered in the south-east of England is said to be significantly more contagious.

(Original text: dpa, Translation: Caroline Kusch)