Sunny destination trips despite pandemic? On re-entry, tourists from Turkey might face two-week quarantine

140 flights depart every week from Düsseldorf to Turkey during the summer holidays. Upon re-entry, holidaymakers face a two-week quarantine. But the returnees are not really checked.

 At Cologne/Bonn Airport, significantly fewer travellers than usual take off on weekends at the beginning of the summer holidays.

At Cologne/Bonn Airport, significantly fewer travellers than usual take off on weekends at the beginning of the summer holidays.

Foto: dpa/Oliver Berg

Ankara, Antalya, Istanbul, Izmir and Kayseri are the five cities in Turkey that are most frequently flown to from Düsseldorf during the summer holidays - a total of 17 Turkish destinations. Düsseldorf Airport is expecting 55 departures to Turkey during the first holiday weekend; Friday with 17, Saturday with 16 and on Sunday with 22: "During the first three weeks, there will be an average of about 20 departures per day, with the daily maximum expected to be 23", says airport spokesman Nicolas Berthold. "That's a total of 140 departures per week.

This means that many vacationers in Turkey seem not to be deterred by the fact that they may have to spend two weeks in quarantine when they return to Germany. According to the Robert Koch Institute, Turkey is one of the corona risk areas; the Foreign Office continues to warn against unnecessary tourist travel to all countries outside the EU - and thus also to Turkey. According to the Federal Police, entry into Germany is still only possible for German citizens or persons with a German residence permit or "compelling reasons". At the airport, the Federal Police will inform the returnees about the quarantine obligation. "We will hand them a flyer with appropriate information", says a spokeswoman for the Federal Police at Düsseldorf Airport. The travellers are therefore obliged to report to their local health authorities and inform them that they have been in Turkey. The offices then monitor compliance with the order - i.e. the quarantine.

"However, we do not check whether the travellers also follow the instructions on the flyer and also go to the health authorities," says the spokeswoman. This is not possible for personnel and organisational reasons alone. "After all, we can't visit every single traveller to Turkey in their respective home town in Germany after their return," she says.

Significantly fewer tourists

Cologne/Bonn Airport has so far not taken any additional measures to shield travellers from risk areas such as Turkey. They stated, on request, that the Federal Police are also responsible for entry controls. The Federal Police, in turn, explained that all travellers entering the country are currently treated equally in the checks - even those flying in from risk areas.

Due to the corona pandemic, the two major airports in North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf and Cologne, are expecting significantly fewer travellers than usual at the start of the holiday season. According to a spokesperson, about 15,000 passengers are expected to take off or land at Cologne/Bonn Airport from Friday to Sunday. By way of comparison, there were about 130,000 on the first holiday weekend last year. Instead of 940 flights, only 140 take-offs and landings are planned this time. Destinations include Mallorca, Greece, Portugal, Croatia and Turkey. Düsseldorf Airport is expecting a total of 120 take-offs and landings next weekend - normally up to 700 aircraft movements.

(Original text: Christian Schwerdtfeger;Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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