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Corona Policy: Start of expanded mandatory testing for vacationers unclear

Corona Policy : Start of expanded mandatory testing for vacationers unclear

Not only air travelers, but also vacationers who have been abroad by car or train will probably have to be tested for the coronavirus before entering the country. Exactly when this will happen is still unclear.

The Federal Government leaves open for the time being the start of the planned general Corona test obligation for holiday-makers with the return to Germany.

Deputy spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer did not give a date in Berlin today and pointed to internal consultations still underway. Regulations for returning travelers would also be on the list of topics for the Corona consultations between Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the state premiers on August 10. Anything that could be clarified before then would of course be clarified. The rule is: "The sooner, the better."

Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) are aiming for a negative test to be required as a matter of principle in the future - regardless of where from and by what means of transport one comes. A general obligation to test on entry already exists for all airline passengers. Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) had said on Tuesday evening in the ARD, the federal government has assured, he will try everything until August 1, to introduce a uniform test obligation, "not only for air travel, but also, for example, for everything that comes by normal car or train.“

Dealing with vaccinated and recovered people

Söder did not explicitly comment on how vaccinated and convalescents would be treated in the future. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) had told Bild: "Those who are demonstrably vaccinated or recovered naturally don't need a test."

Söder went on to say that the originally envisaged date for an entry regulation from September 11 would have been "a joke." "By then, the vacation is over even in countries with late vacations." He said the countries had been pressing because they needed a reliable basis for entry.

Green Party health politician Janosch Dahmen told the Rheinische Post newspaper, "Travel mobility remains a major factor in the recent increase in new infections in Germany and Europe." That's why it's right to extend mandatory testing to all travelers, he said.

Change in quarantine requirements as of today

In the Corona rules for entries into Germany, a minor change in the quarantine requirements already applies as of today. Anyone arriving from an area with new, more contagious virus variants can now end the mandatory 14-day quarantine early with a negative test if the region is downgraded - to a high-risk area or high-incidence area with high infection rates - while still in quarantine. In principle, early "free testing" is otherwise not possible for entrants from virus variant areas.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) publishes on the Internet which regions the federal government declares to be risk, high incidence or virus variant areas with requirements for testing and quarantine. Currently, South Africa and Brazil, among others, are virus variant areas.

(Original text: dpa, Translation: Mareike Graepel)