October 6, 2022

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Travel to Germany during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

4 min read

Editor’s Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on July 29.

(CNN) — If you’re planning to travel to Germany, here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic

The basics

Germany is operating one of Europe’s most stringent border policies, as it attempts to lessen the impact of the Delta variant while rapidly vaccinating its population.

What’s on offer

Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt have long been cultural big hitters. But there’s more to Germany than its superb cities, from hiking in Bavaria to wild forests on the French border and a hugely underrated coastline in the north. Throw in excellent public transport and road links and this is a country ripe for those keen on a long, free-form vacation.

Who can go

In principle, residents of EU member states and the Schengen-associated states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland may enter Germany without restrictions — although if they become classed as high risk, or having a variant of concern, restrictions apply.

Arrivals from other countries depend on the epidemiological situation and vaccination status. Currently, tourists are allowed without restrictions from 26 non-EU countries, including the USA, Hong Kong, Canada, Israel and Japan — see here for a full list.
Arrivals from countries not on that list are allowed if fully vaccinated — see here.

However, special measures are in place when traveling from countries deemed high risk or having variants of concern. Arrivals from both need to quarantine whether you will have to quarantine or not depends on the risk level — see below.

What are the restrictions?

All arrivals must complete a digital registration form before travel. Those entering by plane must provide either a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of travel, or proof of completed vaccination.

Travel for EU and Schengen-related residents is unrestricted, but if you have been in a country designated to have a high level of risk within the past 10 days, you must provide a negative test result, and you must travel directly to your destination and quarantine there for 10 days. Those from a high-risk area may end quarantine early if they test negative after five days.

If you have been in an “area of variant of concern,” there is a ban on entering via rail, ship, plane or bus. Essentially, you must drive, and then quarantine for 14 days.

There are currently 11 areas of concern, mostly in southern Africa and South America, including Brazil, Uruguay, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

There are 30 high-risk areas including the UK, Argentina, India, Russia, Egypt and Portugal.

Anyone entering from countries not on the “safe list” must be fully vaccinated with either Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson, with the last dose having been administered at least 14 days before travel — see here for requirements.

If not vaccinated, only those traveling for essential reasons can enter. Unvaccinated children under 12 can enter if traveling with a vaccinated parent.

What’s the Covid situation?

Germany is beginning to cautiously reopen after a number of strict lockdowns since March 2020. Following spikes in winter and spring, it has seen case numbers drop dramatically as it ramps up its vaccination program. However, it has major concerns about the Delta variant, which has resulted in the federal government clamping down on travel from the UK and Portugal. So far, it has seen 91,709 deaths and 3,777,236 cases as of July 29.

What can visitors expect

Restrictions across Germany vary between the country’s 16 states, although vaccinated people tend to be exempted from restrictions.

For example, in Munich right now, the numbers of people who can gather depends on the infection rate. if it’s between 50-100 per 100,000 then only 10 unvaccinated people from a maximum of three households can meet — plus an unlimited number of fully vaccinated people.

if it’s below that rate, then there’s no longer a cap on the number of households. Restaurants can also serve food indoors if the incidence rating is under 100.

Meanwhile in Hamburg, you must leave your details for contact tracing on entering a shop, and restaurants may serve groups of maximum five. In any kind of vacation accommodation in Hamburg, guests must test negative before entering, and test again every 72 hours.

In Berlin, vaccinated people do not count towards headcounts or household mixing.

Across the country, medical-grade FFP2 masks, not surgical masks or face coverings, are a legal requirement in shops and on public transit.

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