Germany will require people arriving from countries deemed high risk, such as the United States, to take coronavirus tests starting this weekend, the health minister said on Thursday, as the country recorded its highest daily tally of new infections in three months.
German officials have voiced alarm over a steady upward creep in the number of new infections over recent weeks. The national disease control centre, the Robert Koch Institute, said 1045 cases were recorded on Wednesday – the first time since May 7 that it has counted more than 1000 new cases in a day.
People entering from countries deemed high-risk – currently most of the world outside the Europe Union, as well as Luxembourg, parts of northern Spain and the Belgian city of Antwerp – are already required to quarantine for 14 days unless they can present a negative test result no more than two days old.
A demonstration against coronavirus restrictions in Berlin last Saturday. (Source:AP)
Health Minister Jens Spahn said that, starting Saturday, people arriving from those countries will also be required to take a test unless they bring a new test result with them.
“I am very well aware that this impinges on individual freedoms, but I believe that this is a justifiable intervention,” Spahn said.
Travellers who refuse tests could face fines of up to 25,000 euros ($41,000), but the exact amount is up to local authorities, Spahn said.
He suggested airline travellers from outside the EU should provide a recent test before they are allowed to board a plane to the 27-nation bloc, an idea that would need approval by all EU member states.
Germany’s COVID-19 response has been widely regarded as relatively successful. The Robert Koch Institute has recorded 9175 deaths from over 213,000 confirmed cases – a lower death rate than in many comparable countries.
– Reported with Associated Press