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Germany to keep quarantine requirement in place for non-EU visitors as border control measures relaxed from May 16

Germany to keep quarantine requirement in place for non-EU visitors as border control measures relaxed from May 16
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has advised his country’s states to keep quarantine restrictions in place for non-EU visitors as national border control measures are set to ease from May 16.

Berlin will begin relaxing national border controls implemented to curb the spread of Covid-19 from Saturday, with measures expected to be completely lifted by June 15.

As it stands, guidelines from Berlin are that anyone returning to Germany must spend 14 days in self-isolation when they re-enter the country. That rule will now be lifted for EU visitors.

Speaking on Wednesday, Seehofer said border crossings with France, Switzerland, Austria, and Luxembourg will be open from Saturday May 16, though there will still be random checks carried out. He said opening the border with Denmark on the same day is also being considered. He added that it is too early, however, to lift controls with Italy, one of the nations hardest-hit by the Covid-19 crisis.

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Controls could be reimposed and borders shut again if there are new outbreaks, he said.

Seehofer confirmed that controls at the EU’s external borders will remain in place until June 15, according to guidelines from the European Commission announced last week. At that point, he said Germany envisions that regular and unrestricted free travel can begin again.

The decision to relax border controls comes as Germany is dealing with a jump in new cases of the novel coronavirus. On Tuesday, 933 new cases were reported, up from just 357 new cases confirmed the day before. German has recorded more than 173,000 confirmed cases of the virus and nearly 8,000 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

The Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s national center for disease control, said Tuesday that the virus reproduction rate (known as the R0 value) has been above 1 for three consecutive days. Chancellor Angela Merkel had previously warned that if the number rose above one, the health system could become overwhelmed.

Germany began lifting Covid-19 restrictions at the end of April, with some shops, churches, and schools reopening, but with social distancing observed. 

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