Germany to ease travel restrictions on visitors from the UK

Frankfurt airport Credit: AP/Press Association Images

Germany is easing strict restrictions on travel from the UK, Portugal and some other countries that were imposed because of the rise of the more contagious Delta variant of coronavirus.

The country is, nevertheless, still on the UK's amber travel list, meaning returnees to the UK must isolate at home for 10 days. The government does not recommend travel to these countries.

Germany’s national disease control centre, the Robert Koch Institute, said late on Monday that Britain, Portugal, Russia, India and Nepal will be removed from the highest risk category of “virus variant areas”, from Wednesday.



They will move into the second-highest category of “high-incidence areas”. People arriving from these areas can avoid quarantine if they can prove they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19.

Others can cut short a mandatory 10-day quarantine by testing negative after five days. Transport is no longer restricted.

The UK had been in the top risk category since May 23, and was joined last Tuesday by Russia and Portugal, one of Germany’s partners in the European Union.

Airlines and others are restricted largely to transporting German citizens and residents from “virus variant areas”, and those who arrive must spend 14 days in quarantine at home.


Green list travel: What you need to know

What are the latest countries added to the UK's green list?

Bulgaria, Hong Kong, Croatia and Taiwan are the latest countries to be added, as of 4am on 19 June.

What does it mean when a country is on the green list?

People who are travelling to countries on the green list will still need to take a Covid test up to 72 hours before they return to the UK and a single PCR test on or before day two of their arrival into the UK - but you do not need to quarantine unless the test result is positive.

Children aged four and under are exempt from the test.

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Do I need to quarantine or take a test on arrival to Bulgaria, Croatia, Malta or Madeira?

Bulgaria

Bulgaria has a similar green, amber and red travel system to that of the UK.

The UK is currently amber on Bulgaria's list.

This means if you are entering Bulgaria from the UK you must present one of three documents.

First, a vaccination certificate indicating an approved vaccine schedule has been completed at least 14 days before arrival.

Second, a document showing a positive result from a PCR or rapid antigen test for people who have recovered from Covid-19.

Third, a negative PCR test performed within 72 hours before entry into Bulgaria or a rapid antigen test performed up to 48 hours before entry.Additionally, at least 5% of all arrivals from amber countries will be subject to a rapid antigen test at random.

Croatia

To avoid quarantine in Croatia you must present a negative Covid-19 antigen or PCR test, or proof of vaccination, or a doctor’s certificate of recovery following a positive test result between 11 and 180 days prior.

To enter via proof of vaccination you must have had either a two-dose vaccine course from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Gamaleya or Sinopharm or a certificate of receipt of a one-dose vaccine such as the Johnson & Johnson jab.

Croatia will accept the NHS Covid pass both as a letter or via the app.Children under 12 are exempt from the requirements.

If you have not got any of the accepted ways of gaining entry, a test can be taken upon arrival in Croatia but you will have to self-isolate until you have the result.

Malta

No - the only reason you would need to quarantine in Malta is if you do not have proof of a negative Covid test result.

The UK is on Malta's amber list, which means passengers (everyone aged 5 and above) arriving in the country will need to submit a negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate before boarding flights to Malta. You will also need to show the physical copy of a negative Covid test when you land in Malta. The swab test will need to be carried out up to 72 hours (maximum) prior to arrival in Malta. If a negative PCR test is not presented, a swab test on arrival or a 14-day quarantine period is mandatory on arrival. All passengers must complete a Public Health Travel Declaration Form and Passenger Locator Form. You must show both forms to airline officials when leaving the UK and health officials when you arrive in Malta.Everyone arriving (and departing) from Malta has their temperature checked. If you have a high temperature, you will need to take a swab test. Madeira

To enter Madeira, you must have proof of a negative Covid-19 test or have had both doses of the Covid vaccine at least 15 days prior to travel.

Passengers must take a PCR test 72 hours before travel and upload the test result - children aged 12 and under are exempt. If you have had two doses of a coronavirus vaccine, you will be exempt from showing a PCR test on entry and Madeira will accept your NHS letter to demonstrate your vaccination status.

All passengers (except for children aged 12 and under) will need to complete and submit a traveller questionnaire.

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What other countries are already on the green list?

The addition of Malta, Balearic Islands and Madeira will be a welcome addition for travellers returning to the UK, as the majority of countries previously on the green list are closed to international tourists, such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Here are the green list countries:

  • Australia

  • Brunei

  • Caribbean Islands (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, Barbados, Dominicana, Granada, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands)

  • Falkland Islands

  • Faroe Islands

  • Gibraltar

  • Iceland

  • Israel and Jerusalem

  • Malta

  • Madeira

  • New Zealand

  • Singapore

  • South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands

  • St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

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Officials have said the listings would be reviewed as the proportion of infections caused by the Delta variant in Germany rises. Although overall case numbers are very low, more than half of new cases are now believed to be caused by Delta.

Chancellor Angela Merkel indicated during a visit to Britain on Friday that the restrictions on travel from the UK would soon be relaxed.

Eleven countries will remain on Germany’s “virus variant area” list for now: Botswana, Brazil, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Uruguay.


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