Critical Alert

Authorities in Germany amend international entry restrictions and update list of coronavirus disease-related high-risk areas, Oct. 8.

Alert Begins 09 Oct 2020 08:11 PM UTC
Alert Expires 28 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC

 

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide 
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions

 

Summary
As part of ongoing efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), authorities in Germany amended international entry restrictions on Oct. 9. Per the most recent regulations, travelers arriving in Germany from high-risk areas must quarantine or self-isolate for 10 days upon entry. The quarantine duration may be shortened after five days if a traveler provides negative COVID-19 test results.

As of Oct. 8, the Robert Koch Institute updated the current COVID-19-related list of high-risk locations:

 

  • Belgium
  • Austria - the Mittelberg and Jungholz regions
  • Crotia - Krapinjsko-zagorska Zupanija, and Vukovarsko-Srijemska zupanija
  • Hungary - Baranya, Borsod-Abauj, Hajdu-Bihar, Komarom-Esztegrom, Nograd, and Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg
  • Iceland
  • Jordan
  • Lithuania - Kaunias, and Siaului
  • Romania
  • Slovakia - Bratislava, Nitra , Presov, Trnava, and Zilina regions
  • Slovenia: Gorenjska, Savinska, and Zasavska regions
  • Tunisia

 


As of Oct. 8, the following locations are no longer considered high risk:

 

  • Austria - Mittelberg, and Jungholz in Tirol
  • Croatia - Sibensko-Kninska, Brodsko Posavska, and Zadarska regions
  • Switzerland - canton Fribourg

 


Most travelers from outside of the EU and Schengen Area, with the exception of those from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Thailand, the UK, and Uruguay, remain prohibited from entering the country. Limited exceptions are made for EU citizens and residents, diplomats, essential workers, students, freight and transport workers, individuals in transit, and for urgent reasons decided on a case-by-case basis. All such arrivals are subject to a mandatory 10-day self-isolation period which can be shortened after five days a negative COVID-19; this measure does not apply to transport and freight workers.

In addition, travelers from high-risk areas within Germany will only be allowed accommodation in a hotel in other regions if they can provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within the previous 48 hours; federal authorities are advising against nonessential travel within Germany for residents of high-risk areas. Furthermore, the state of Schleswig-Holstein requires travelers from the Schoneberg-Tempelhof, Neukolln, Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain, and Berlin-Mitte districts in Berlin to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival or provide two negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. Other regions in the country might add stricter requirements for travelers at short notice from areas or cities considered high-risk.

Authorities in Germany have tightened certain COVID-19-related restrictions in Berlin and Frankfurt due a rise in infection rates in the cities. Effective Oct. 9, a nightly 2200-0600 curfew will be in force in Frankfurt. Moreover, the number of participants at private events in public or rented venues will be limited to 25, while a maximum of 10 people will be allowed at parties in private homes. Consumption of alcohol will be banned outdoors. Furthermore, facemasks will be mandatory along major shopping streets and at malls. These measures will remain in effect until at least Oct. 17.

New measures introduced in Berlin will be in effect from Oct. 10 through at least Oct. 31. The new directives will require all restaurants, bars, local shops, and other businesses - with the exception of gas stations - to remain closed between the hours of 2300-0600. Tighter limitations on the size of gatherings will also be implemented.

Authorities have eased most internal COVID-19 measures, though protective face coverings are required in most public spaces, including on public transport and in retail shops; where possible, people from different households should remain a minimum of 1.5 m (5 feet) apart. Major public events, where contact tracing and social distancing compliance is not possible, will remain banned through 2020. Hotels and other short-term accommodations have reopened; hygiene and social-distancing guidelines must be observed. All retailers and nonessential businesses are permitted to reopen; however, limits have been placed on the number of customers in the store, and queues should be avoided. In areas where the cumulative rate is more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within the last seven days, private celebrations, parties, and gatherings are limited to 25 persons; similar events hosted in public spaces are limited to 50 people. Additionally, any individual that provides false information at an establishment that requires customers to leave contact information for tracing purposes will face a EUR-50 (USD-58) fine.

The power to ease or reimpose COVID-19 measures largely rests with German states. Accordingly, regional restrictions can vary. Outdoor demonstrations are permitted under certain conditions, including the requirement that the meeting place offers enough space to maintain social distance. Local authorities will reimpose measures if local case numbers exceed 50 per 100,000 people in a seven-day period. Some areas have seen localized stay-at-home orders in response to spikes in case numbers.

Authorities could further ease, tighten, or otherwise amend restrictions with little-to-no notice based on disease activity over the coming weeks.

 

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel plans and business appointments and allow additional time for processing if arriving from an area of high COVID-19 activity. Carry proper identification and other necessary travel documents to present at security checks. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

 

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