As the summer holiday season approaches and certain European countries begin to reopen to tourists, Germany has announced it will allow vaccinated travellers as well as those recently recovered from COVID-19 to avoid testing and quarantine.
1. The regulations
On Wednesday Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet approved a change to the country’s current rules, stating it will now allow vaccinated people and those recently recovered from the virus into the country, as well as allowing non-vaccinated to end their quarantine early if they test negative. However, the new regulations will not apply to those from areas where variants of concern are prevalent. The new regulations hope to boost the hospitality and tourism industries in the country, and make family travel and holiday plans easier as many children are not yet eligible for vaccines. Additionally, there has been reports in German media about doctors coming under increasing pressure from people wanting to go on summer holidays to give them vaccines despite not being entitled to them yet, hopefully new regulations will help reduce this.
2. Travel app and certificates
According to Associated Press, German Health Minister Jens Spahn announced that the country should have its digital immunity certificate ready for use by June, and that the certificate, which will be stored in a mobile app, will be compatible with the vaccine certificate scheme currently being developed by the EU. Spahn also stated that Germany would consider recognising travellers’ certificates for vaccines not authorised for use in the EU only if provided with proof that they both protect from serious illness and significantly decrease transmission of the virus. “If that’s the case then I have no problem with equating them (with EMA-approved shots), but I want to have proof”, said Spahn.
3. Vaccination rollout
The vaccination rollout in Germany is being carried out increasingly quickly, with 5 million doses administered in the past week and the government aiming to double this as the vaccine supply increases. Official figures show a third of Germany’s 83 million inhabitants as having received at least one dose by last Monday, and nearly 10% having received both doses.
4. Germany’s current situation
Covid-19 related restrictions are planned to be relaxed in several German regions where the number of confirmed infections is below 100 weekly cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Bavaria’s governor has announced that open-air cultural events with up to 250 people and pre-booked swimming in outside pools will be allowed again in those regions from May 21st. However, according to Associated Press, the head of Germany’s disease control agency warned against complacency, noting that the country still has about 1,000 COVID-related deaths a week. “If we open too early, then the virus will keep spreading,” said Lothar Wieler of the Robert Koch Institute. The agency reported 14,909 newly confirmed cases last Tuesday, and 268 deaths.