Travel to Germany during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go



Editor’s Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on March 25.

(CNN) — If you’re planning to travel to Germany, here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Germany’s border policies have been changing swiftly as the country regularly updates its lists of high and moderate risk destinations. However, on March 3 the high-risk list was wiped, meaning there are no destinations now classified as high risk — anywhere.

What’s on offer

Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt have long been cultural big-hitters. But there’s more to Germany than its superb cities — from hiking in Bavaria to wild forests on the French border and a hugely underrated coastline in the north. Throw in excellent public transport and road links and this is a country ripe for those keen on a long, free-form vacation.

Who can go

In principle, residents of EU member states and the Schengen-associated states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland may enter Germany without restrictions — although if they become classed as high risk, or having a variant of concern, restrictions apply. Arrivals from several EU countries must now quarantine if they are unvaccinated — see below.

Arrivals from other countries depend on the epidemiological situation and vaccination status. As of March 25, tourists are allowed without restrictions from six non-EU destinations: Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macao, New Zealand, South Korea and Taiwan. See here for a full list.
Arrivals from countries not on that list, other than any ones under a temporary travel ban, are allowed if fully vaccinated — see here.
However, special measures are in place when traveling from countries deemed high risk or having variants of concern — see here for a list. This can entail quarantine for the latter.

What are the restrictions?

All arrivals must complete a digital registration form before travel. Those entering by plane must provide either a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of travel, or proof of completed vaccination. A list of approved vaccinations is here.

Travel for EU and Schengen-related residents is unrestricted — though you must use your EU Digital Certificate to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test.

If you have been in a country designated to have a high level of risk within the past 10 days, you must provide a negative test result, and you must travel directly to your destination and quarantine there for 10 days. Those from a high-risk area may end quarantine early if they test negative after five days, while children between six and 12 may end quarantine on day 5 without testing. Children under six are exempt from quarantine. The quarantine requirement is waived upon proof of vaccination or recovery.

If you have been in an “area of variant of concern,” there is a ban on entering via rail, ship, plane or bus. Essentially, you must drive, and then quarantine for 14 days.

The list was last updated March 3. There are no new areas of concern or high-risk areas. What’s more, the high-risk list has been wiped completely, meaning there are currently no areas of concern or high-risk destinations anywhere on the planet.

The full list, updated March 3, is here.
Anyone entering from countries not on the “safe list” must be fully vaccinated with either Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson, with the last dose having been administered at least 14 days before travel — see here for requirements.

If not vaccinated, only those traveling for essential reasons can enter. Unvaccinated children under 12 can enter if traveling with a vaccinated parent.

What’s the Covid situation?

Infection rates are currently the highest they have ever been, with a record 300,000 new infections reported March 24. A record rate of 1,651 cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days was reported on March 17. In comparison, when the Omicron variant arrived in November 2021, infections were at 312 per 100,000. Before that, the previous all-time record had been 197.6 in December 2020.

As of March 25, there have been 127,459 deaths and nearly 19.3 million cases to date. Nearly 76% of the population is now fully vaccinated, according to John Hopkins University’s Covid-19 tracker.

What can visitors expect

Despite rising infection rates, nearly all Covid-19 restrictions were dropped on March 20 on a national level. However, individual regions and states can still impose their own restrictions, and many have done so.

The national rules are as follows: Masks will no longer be required indoors, except for on public transport and healthcare settings.

You will no longer need to show proof of vaccination to enter shops. The vaccination requirement for hotels, bars and restaurants was dropped March 4.

You may only travel on public transport or by air if you are vaccinated, have a certificate of recovery or have been tested. You must also wear an FFP2 mask. Taxis are not included in this rule, and children under six do not have to mask.

Otherwise, restrictions across the country vary between the 16 states. You can find links to each state’s regulations on this government page. For example, in Berlin, you must still wear a mask in most indoor places, including restaurants, galleries, saunas and concert halls.

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