Angela Merkel announces ban on Britons entering Germany from midnight tonight

Indian variant: Spread of B.1.617.2 virus since March

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Britons will soon be barred from entering Germany after the country’s Public Health Institute designated the UK as a virus variant area of concern. From midnight on Sunday, May 23, people travelling to Germany from Great Britain and Northern Ireland may only enter the country if they are a German citizen or resident.

Spouses and children under 18 of a German citizen or resident can also enter, as long as the household is travelling together.

Those with an urgent humanitarian reason such as an immediate family bereavement are also able to enter, however, anyone entering the country from the UK must quarantine for two weeks on arrival, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

People who are only transferring from one flight to another will still be allowed in but they must remain in the airport transit area.

The move comes after Spain lifted travel restrictions on British visitors, with the country’s prime minister Pedro Sanchez saying Spain will be “delighted, extremely delighted” to receive British tourists again.

Spain is lifting its restrictions on travellers from the United Kingdom beginning on Monday.

Germany and Spain are both on the Government’s amber list, meaning travellers must quarantine at home for 10 days and take a pre-departure test and two post-arrival tests.

Cases of a coronavirus variant of concern first found in India continued to climb in Britain.

A German government source said: “We want to play it safe.

“In this important phase of the vaccination campaign, the entry of problematic mutations must be avoided as far as possible.”

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.

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

“This step is hard for the UK, but it is necessary to prevent the rapid spread of the Indian variant in Germany.”

He added that only when more people have been vaccinated is Germany armed against such a danger.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 7,082 to 3,642,244, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Saturday.

The reported death toll rose by 170 to 87,298, the tally showed.

Mrs Merkel is also planning to remove France from Germany’s list of coronavirus risk areas due to a sharp drop in the number of cases there, two government sources said on Friday.

Slovenia and Croatia, popular summer holiday destinations, would also no longer be classified as risk areas, the sources added.

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