Critical Alert


Authorities in Germany to amend international entry restrictions and update list of coronavirus disease-related high-risk areas Oct. 24.

 

Summary
As part of ongoing efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), authorities in Germany are maintaining international entry restrictions as of Oct. 22. Travelers arriving in Germany who have stayed in high-risk areas - as defined by the Robert Koch Institute - within the previous 14 days must self-isolate for 14 days upon entry. The quarantine duration may be shorter if a traveler provides negative COVID-19 test results, depending on local state law.

From Oct. 24, the Robert Koch Institute list of COVID-19 high-risk locations will also include:

  • Austria - Burgenland, Lower Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Upper Austria
  • Bulgaria - Sofia, Razgrad, Sliven
  • Croatia - Karlovac, Osijek-Baranja, Zagreb, Varaždin, Bjelovar-Bilogora
  • Estonia - Jogeva
  • Gibraltar
  • Hungary - Heves, Somogy, Zala
  • Ireland
  • Italy - Abruzzo, Aosta Valley, Bolzano, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Latium, Lombardy, Piedmont, Sardinia, Tuscany, Umbria, Venezia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Poland
  • Slovenia - Goriska, Posavska
  • Sweden - Jonkoping, Ostergotland
  • Switzerland
  • The UK (excluding the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands)


The following locations will no longer be considered high risk:

  • Spain - Canary Islands
  • Estonia - Ida-Viru


Most travelers from outside of the EEA, with the exception of those from Australia, Canada, Georgia, New Zealand, Thailand, Tunisia, 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 self-isolation period as detailed above; 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 such areas, and individual German states could introduce additional restrictions.

Authorities in Germany have tightened certain COVID-19-related restrictions in Berlin and Frankfurt until at least Oct. 31 due to a rise in infection rates in the cities. In Berlin, all restaurants, bars, local shops, and other businesses - with the exception of gas stations - must remain closed between 2300-0600. A nightly 2300-0600 restaurant and bar curfew is in force in Frankfurt. Furthermore, facemasks are mandatory along major shopping streets and malls.

Protective face coverings are required in most public spaces nationwide, 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. 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.

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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