Germany has reclassified few countries, including India as “high-incidence areas", removing them from the red zone list of countries with high case load of Delta variant of coronavirus. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said India, Nepal, Russia, Portugal and the UK, currently listed as so-called virus variant countries, would be reclassified from Wednesday as “high-incidence areas".
On Monday, Germany’s health agency said it would lift a ban on most travellers from India and four other countries hit by the Delta variant of Covid-19. The change in status will ease travel ban on non-German travellers to the country.
With rising cases of Delta variants, Germany banned flights of India this April, and only German citizens were allowed to travel back to the country. The new rule means anyone will be able to enter as long as they observe quarantine and testing rules.
Germany earlier introduced its “virus variant country" travel category in a bid to stop new coronavirus variants that have not yet spread widely on home soil. Chancellor Angela Merkel also hinted at a potential softening in Germany’s stance towards travellers from Britain during a visit to London on Friday.
Last month, Merkel had called for tough restrictions, including longer quarantine, for people travelling from Britain, where the Delta variant has caused a surge in cases. But she indicated that the stance could soften as travel advice was reviewed.
“We think that in the foreseeable future, those who have received double jabs will… be able to travel again, without having to go into quarantine," she said.
Only citizens and residents of Germany are permitted to enter from a variant country and are subject to a two-week quarantine, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or can provide a negative Covid-19 test. By contrast, anyone can enter from a high-incidence country as long as they provide a negative test on arrival. They must in principle enter a 10-day quarantine but can end it after five days with another negative test.
Travellers from high-incidence areas are also exempt from quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated. Countries where variants other than Delta are circulating, such as Brazil and South Africa, remain in the variant category.
With Inputs from AFP