Germany tightening travel restrictions on UK

·2 min read


Germany is tightening travel restrictions on the United Kingdom amid an increased spread of COVID-19, driven largely by the omicron variant.

Germany's Robert Koch Institute, the country's disease control hub, announced on Saturday that it was adding the U.K. and Northern Ireland - including all British Overseas Territories, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands - to its list of areas of variants of concern.

Travelers entering Germany from the U.K. will be required to quarantine for 14 days, regardless of vaccination status.

Additionally, the Koch Institute said individuals should be prepared for their travel carrier to require an up-to-date PCR test if they spent time in an area of variants of concern in the 10 days prior to entry, in addition to a possible PCR test mandated by health authorities at arrival airports or places of isolation/quarantine.

The U.K. and Northern Ireland will remain on the list of areas of variants of concern tunil Jan. 3, according to the Koch Institute. The two areas join Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe on the list.

The U.K. government posted a foreign travel advice statement for Germany on Saturday, alerting that "only German citizens and residents may travel to Germany from the UK" with limited exceptions.

The statement also says that permitted travelers are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, regardless of their vaccination status. Additionally, it made note of the quarantine requirement.

Germany also added France, Denmark, Lebanon, Norway and Andorra to its list of high-risk areas.

The new travel restrictions for the U.K. come as the omicron variant is spreading throughout the globe. The highly mutated strain was first identified in South Africa last month but has since been detected in countries across the globe, including the U.K. and U.S.

The U.K. recorded more than 82,000 COVID-19 cases on Sunday, after reporting more than 90,000 new infections the day before, according to The Associated Press.

British officials are now sounding the alarm. Jenny Harries, the chief executive of the U.K. Health Security Agency, said on Wednesday that the omicron variant is "probably the most significant threat" since the pandemic first started last year.

The U.K. is ramping up up its booster shot effort amid the strain's spread, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging people to get the third jab to prepare for a "tidal wave of omicron."

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