Germany will make coronavirus testing mandatory for travelers returning from high-risk areas, as fears increase that summer travel could trigger a new wave of infections.
One of the countries included in the measures announced today by Secretary of Health Jens Spahn is the US, which reported 4.33 million confirmed cases and 149,000 deaths from the virus.
Popular German holiday destination Turkey is also on the list, but Spain, France and Great Britain are not considered risky.
“We must prevent returning travelers from infecting others unnoticed, thereby creating new chains of contamination. I will therefore order mandatory tests for travelers from risk areas, ‘Spahn wrote on Twitter.
A passenger is today being tested by a doctor at a coronavirus screening station in Düsseldorf Airport’s medical center, as Germany plans to make airport testing mandatory
Passengers today are waiting to be tested at a coronavirus screening station in Düsseldorf after the state of North Rhine-Westphalia ordered screening at three airports
Earlier today, it was reported that Germany is conducting coronavirus checks at airports and plans to make them mandatory to ward off a second wave of Covid-19.
Munich, Dortmund and Düsseldorf are among the airports that screen travelers when they return from abroad, and Angela Merkel’s health minister is today discussing plans to maintain them nationwide.
Britain has never imposed such controls, and the government test and trace commissioner yesterday rejected suggestions that British tourists could be tested on their way home from Spain.
Germany has seen what its own health officials have called a “very worrying” increase in cases in recent days, after it has been widely praised for its handling of the crisis so far.
In Britain, the government is facing calls to test people returning from Spain to avoid quarantining for 14 days.
Spain was abruptly dropped from the list of ‘travel corridors’ in the UK on Saturday, stirring the resumption of the summer holidays.
Airport tests in Britain are currently under review, but supremo number one by supremo Baroness Dido Harding said on Sunday that testing people coming from Spain should not save them from quarantine.
“Unfortunately, while we would like it to be true that if you have a test today, we can be sure you’re not contagious and about to get sick, that’s not the the way the virus works.
“A test today is as good as saying you don’t have the disease today.
‘The incubation period can be quite long, so we need you if you have been in a very risky environment – and currently our scientists and clinicians judge that Spain is a risky environment to isolate 14 days, because you could test negative today and positive tomorrow or the next day, until the end of that 14 day period. ‘
German Health Minister Jens Spahn and his regional counterparts agreed on Friday that returning tourists would receive voluntary tests for free.
Merkel Chief of Staff Helge Braun said that health ministers would discuss today that controls would be mandatory.
“I think we will find a solution relatively soon,” said Braun, adding that action should now be taken to reduce the number of infections as it would be more difficult to control the spread of the disease in the fall and winter hold.
“Most of the time, it’s the thoughtful people who have been very cautious on their holidays anyway and take the voluntary offers, while the more careless aren’t taking a voluntary test,” Braun said.
The state of North Rhine-Westphalia has imposed on three airports, including Düsseldorf and Dortmund, for travelers coming from risk areas.
This includes popular holiday destinations such as Turkey and the United States, although Spain, France and Great Britain are not considered risky.
Health workers wearing protective suits today collect samples from a test station in Germany following a local outbreak on a cucumber farm site
Germany has seen a slight increase in the number of cases and recorded the highest weekly total since May, although the number is still below 1,000 per day
The death toll in Germany has not increased for two days and the country’s overall death rate is much lower than in the UK, Spain, France or Italy.
Munich Airport has also set up a test center and checks will now be offered at Bavaria’s two largest stations in Munich and Nuremberg.
“We can’t completely prevent corona, so the goal should be to detect it in time to keep it from spreading,” said Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Soeder.
“My concern is not that there will be one big Ischgl, but that there will be a lot of mini-Ischgls,” he added, referring to the Austrian ski resort that was an early European hotspot in March.
“We are already seeing this in Spain, but also in other places,” he said, adding that German residents’ trips to visit families abroad are also an issue.
Soeder also joined a growing chorus of test calls to become mandatory for vacationers returning to Germany.
“We are preparing everything so that if the federal government gives the green light, we can implement it immediately,” he said.
Amid the deliberations during the summer travels, about 500 workers were quarantined on a large Bavarian farm to stem a massive coronavirus outbreak.
At least 174 seasonal workers tested positive for the virus in the municipality of Mamming, most of them from Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine.
Soeder said on Monday that Bavaria would test all seasonal workers in the state and increase fines for farms that break the rules to £ 25,000 (£ 23,000).
Passengers await their check-in at Düsseldorf Airport in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which is responsible for many of the recent new cases in Germany
Germany saw 3,695 new cases of coronavirus last week, up from 2,770 the week before and the highest weekly rate since May.
In addition, the closely monitored R rate has been above the critical threshold of 1.0 for much of the past two weeks. The last digit is 1.22.
The Robert Koch (RKI) disease institute says the recent surge is “very worrying” and occurs in a number of states.
Nationally, there are many smaller incidents in different administrative districts, which are interrelated in different ways, for example, larger parties in the family environment, leisure activities, jobs, as well as community and health facilities.
In addition, Covid-19 cases are increasingly identified among people returning from travel outside Germany.
Michael Kretschmer, the prime minister of the eastern federal state of Saxony, warned that the second wave was already underway.
Kretschmer a member of Angela Merkel’s CDU party said “The second wave of coronavirus is already there.
“It is already happening every day. Every day we have new clusters of infections that can get very high. ‘
Germany has had a total of 205,609 cases and 9,118 deaths, a significantly lower death toll than in Great Britain, Italy, Spain or France.