Germany will force all travelers to take a negative PCR test when arriving to the country from anywhere in the worldAlthough it is not considered a risk area, the central government and the 16 federated states decided on Monday.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and regional leaders made this decision in a difficult meeting of more than 11 hours in which restrictions on public life and economic activity have been prolonged and tightened by the negative evolution of the third wave of the pandemic.
The decision on travel from abroad is related to the controversy surrounding the Easter holidays in Mallorca, whose demand had skyrocketed after the German authorities removed the Balearic Islands from the list of risk areas, eliminating the obligation to present a PCR test and keep quarantine.
This establishes a “general obligation” to take a test to enter the country, a measure that replaces the previous system, in which only risk areas – although they were the vast majority of countries in the world – involved testing and quarantine.
“We advise against all trips abroad, in general all trips that are not strictly necessary,” Angela Merkel said after the meeting, at a press conference that began shortly before 3 am on Tuesday morning.
The chancellor explained that the German government has contacted the country’s airlines so that all travelers returning to Germany after the Easter holidays, regardless of the place of departure, take a test “before the flight”. The details of this measure remain to be outlined.
Merkel acknowledged that in Mallorca there are open tourist accommodation -in contrast to Germany-, although he pointed out that the Balearic Government has just modified the restrictions and could do so again in the coming days.
He also noted that the German Government will closely monitor the situation on the island and the possible “risks”, among which he pointed out the appearance of the variant of the coronavirus detected for the first time in Brazil.
On March 12, the German authorities removed the Balearic Islands from the list of risk areas (along with five other Spanish autonomous communities), which triggered the demand for flights and stays on the island for the Easter holidays.
The situation caused a strong controversy in Spain, where the majority of citizens will not be able to leave their autonomous community at Easter due to the restrictions of the pandemic, and also in Germany, where internal tourism is currently prohibited, which poses serious economic difficulties for the sector.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.