After being empty for almost four months, Germany’s list of concerning COVID-19 variant areas now consists of eight countries, after the German authorities added Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe to the list.
On Friday, November 26, Germany’s federal government agency and research institute responsible for disease control and prevention, Robert Koch Institute, announced that all eight countries were added to the virus variant list after South African scientists announced they had detected a new, more dangerous virus variant.
“The list on the classification of risk areas below is effective as of November 28, 2021, at 0:00 am (midnight). The Federal Ministry of Health points out that already from now – before the classification becomes effective – the competent health authorities can order quarantine and testing for SARS-CoV-2 for travellers entering Germany from the countries classified as an area of variants of concern,” the RKI notes updating the list.
It also points out that before the classification of these countries as areas of variants of concern becomes effective, the Federal Police and the authorities in charge of policing cross-border traffic will inform and urge persons entering Germany from the aforementioned countries to act in Germany in such a way as to best contain the infection.
Travel from these countries is generally prohibited, except for German nationals and those reaching for absolutely essential purposes. Even for them, quarantine for a period of 14 days is mandatory, in addition to testing requirements, and the obligation to register online.
Germany is not the only country that has banned travel from these southern African countries as other EU members in Europe have done the same, including France, Italy, Malta and more.
On Friday’s update, the RKI also removed the following countries from the list of high-risk areas:
- Brunei Darussalam
- El Salvador
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Sao Tome and Principe
This means that nationals of these countries who haven’t been vaccinated yet, as well as those who haven’t recently recovered from the Coronavirus, can travel to Germany under facilitated rules starting from the upcoming Sunday.
Among others, these travellers will be able to skip quarantine and multiple testing for COVID-19.
In the last update of the list, the RKI had added Belgium, Greece, Ireland and the Netherlands to the high-risk list and removed none. Whereas the week before that, Austria, Czechia, Hungary and Laos were added to Germany’s high-risk list, while the United States was removed from it.