Germany bars UK travellers over new COVID variant

STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

Germany is set to restrict the entry of travellers from the UK due to concerns about a coronavirus variant first found in India.

From Sunday (2200 GMT Saturday), a ban will be imposed on most travellers from the UK.

German citizens and residents, as well as people with an exceptional reason are the only ones who will be allowed to enter, but they will face a two-week quarantine on arrival.

Germany's public health institute has declared Britain and Northern Ireland a virus variant region as cases of a coronavirus variant of concern first found in India continued to climb in the UK.

The classification, which takes effect from midnight on Sunday (2200 GMT Saturday), means the quarantine rules also apply to people with full vaccination protection and those who have recovered from COVID-19.

Health Minister Jens Spahn said earlier this month that a third wave coronavirus infections in Germany "appears to be broken", but government officials are being careful.

"If we want to keep pushing down infection rates, we need to prevent contagious viral variants from jeopardising this positive trend," a spokesman for the Health Ministry said.

"This step is hard for the UK, but it is necessary to prevent the rapid spread of the Indian variant in Germany," he said, adding that only when more people have been vaccinated is Germany armed against such a danger.

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