Germany is preparing entry bans for travellers from the UK, Portugal, Brazil and South Africa to limit the spread of the more contagious variants of the coronavirus raging in these countries, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer says.
“To protect our population, there should be no entry from regions where these variants of the virus are rampant,” he said on the fringes of a virtual meeting with his EU counterparts.
Belgium has already barred residents from taking holidays abroad until March to fight the spread of the more infectious virus variants but other European Union members reject radical measures such as travel or entry bans.
Seehofer vowed Germany would go ahead with its plans even if the EU as a whole didn’t agree such measures.
“We cannot expect to have a European solution that meets our expectations any time soon, so we are preparing national measures,” he said.
The transport of goods and medical supplies will not be affected by the restrictions that are under discussion in the Berlin government, according to Seehofer.
The EU meanwhile cut Japan from its list of countries from which travellers can visit the bloc without coronavirus-related restrictions such as quarantines or mandatory tests.
After the changes, the list will consist of seven countries – Australia, China, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.
Despite China being on the list, travel from there will be allowed only if Chinese authorities also allow in EU visitors.
The reciprocity requirement is not applied in the case of the other listed countries.
The list also only serves as a recommendation on travel rules.
Individual EU countries can set their own rules.
Meanwhile, the UK added the United Arab Emirates, Burundi and Rwanda to its coronavirus travel ban list starting from Friday.
“This means people who have been in or transited through these countries will be denied entry, except British, Irish and third country nationals with residence rights who must self-isolate for ten days at HOME,” transport minister Grant Shapps said on Twitter.
The Department for Transport said the decision was in response to new evidence showing the likely spread of a coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa.