Germany's coronavirus testing requirement for travelers flying in from high-risk countries came into force with few complications on Saturday.

Coronavirus testing booth operators at Germany's largest airport, Frankfurt Airport, said they did not see any major problems or notice a large increase in the number of people waiting to be tested.

“This is slightly more than in the past few days,” Benedikt Hart, the head of the German Red Cross-operated testing center at the airport told the DPA news agency. “The people have understanding. There are no disgruntled passengers.”

Read more: Germany requires coronavirus tests for arrivals — what you need to know

A Hamburg Airport spokesperson echoed that statement, saying that there were no complications related to the testing, and that passengers arriving from high-risk countries didn't face more than a 30-minute wait to be tested. In Berlin, tests carried out at both Tegel and Schönefeld airports, as well as the central bus station were carried out with relative simplicity and only sporadic queues.

The tests are typically to be taken directly upon arrival at airports, but are also available free of charge at separate testing centers and medical practices up to three days after arrival. 

DW correspondent Konrad Busen, who was at Frankfurt Airport, said the introduction of testing was expected to increase the number of cases identified.

“Up until now here in Frankfurt the number of positive tests has been relatively small, around about 1% of the about 2,000 people tested here per day have been positive,” he said. “This number is expected to rise now as compulsory testing is introduced for people traveling from high-risk countries.”

Praise and condemnation

The largest German doctor's union, the Marburger Bund, welcomed the move, citing a higher rate of positive tests in people coming from high-risk countries. “The obligatory testing could make this even more obvious, because people with a tendency toward risky behavior are more likely to bypass voluntary testing stations,” Marburger Bund Chairwoman Susanne Johne said.

Read more: Coronavirus trend: The pandemic is far from over 

However, other practitioners have criticized the broad requirement. The risk areas are “much too general” and many general practitioners do not have the capacity to handle a “rush of people” asking to be tested, Ulrich Weigeldt, the chairman of the German Association of General Practitioners, told Die Welt newspaper.

He also said it was “absurd” that returning travelers should have to give a doctor proof that they were abroad, adding that general practitioners are “not a branch of the Federal Ministry of Health.”

As an alternative to being tested in Germany, people arriving from abroad can be tested in the country where they were vacationing within 48 hours of their flight. Health authorities are, however, encouraging travelers to be tested a second time five to seven days after their journey.

Around 130 countries, including the United States, Egypt and Russia are listed as high-risk by the Robert Koch Institute, Germany's health research agency. High-risk EU countries include Luxembourg, the Belgian province of Antwerp, several regions of Spain and parts of Romania and Bulgaria. A place is considered to be high risk once the number of new infections in the past week rises above 50 cases per 100,000 people.

Read more: Is Germany ready for the second coronavirus wave?

The number of infections in Germany has been steadily on the rise over the past weeks, with experts warning of a second wave. The daily number of new infections rose by over 1,000 for the third day in a row on Saturday, reflecting a trend not seen since May. The country has recorded nearly 217,000 cases and a death toll of 9,201.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism COVID-19 deals tourism in Berlin a heavy blow

In the first six months, 59 percent fewer tourists came to Berlin than in the previous year. The Statistics Office said on Monday (Aug.10) 2.7 million guests visited Berlin. The last time such a low number was recorded was in 2004. The slump was even worse for foreign tourists: two thirds stayed away. Since June, the figures have been recovering and are at 30 to 40 percent of the previous year.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Compulsory COVID-19 tests on entry into Germany

Anyone entering Germany from a risk area must take a coronavirus test from Saturday (Aug.8). This was ordered by German Health Minister Jens Spahn. Currently, many countries are classified as risk areas, including the USA and Brazil. In the EU, Luxembourg, the Belgian region of Antwerp and the Spanish regions of Aragón, Catalonia and Navarre have been declared risk areas.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Germany lifts travel warning for four Turkish regions

Germans can again travel to Turkey: The German government has partially lifted the travel warning for the four popular coastal provinces of Antalya, Izmir, Aydin and Mugla in Turkey. Travelers must be tested for coronavirus before returning to Germany. The costs between 15 and 30 Euros have to be paid by them. Turkey is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Germans.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Setback for cruise holidays

Cruise operator Hurtigruten stopped all cruises on August 3 until further notice after an outbreak of the coronavirus on one of its ships. At least 40 passengers and crew members on the Roald Amundsen tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, German cruise line Aida Cruises has also postponed its planned restart due to the lack of necessary permits.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Nepal reopens Mount Everest for climbers amid COVID-19

Despite coronavirus uncertainty Nepal has reopened Mount Everest for the autumn trekking and climbing season. To boost the struggling tourism sector the government will permit international flights to land in the country from August 17. The Himalayan country shut its borders in March just ahead of the busy spring season when hundreds of mountaineers usually flock to the country.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism German Foreign Office advises against travel to Barcelona

On July 28, the German Foreign Office issued an advisory opinion against non-essential tourist trips to the Spanish regions of Aragon, Navarre and Catalonia, citing the high number of corona infections as well as local restrictions. The Catalan regional government in Barcelona has said it regrets the decision, saying the regional government was acting responsibly while trying to protect lives.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Amsterdam wants fewer weekend visitors

Concerned over a possible second wave of coronavirus, Amsterdam is requesting that tourists not visit the Dutch capital on weekends. Potential day-trippers should come between Monday and Thursday, the city said on July 23. The tourist influx has swelled to such a degree that recommended social distancing of 1.5 meters between people is currently not possible in the city center.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Crowd management in alpine idyll

In order to manage tourist throngs amid the pandemic, Bavaria's Economy Minister Hubert Aiwanger is planning a live digital guiding system for visitors. Clogged streets, wild campers and overcrowding on hiking trails in the Alps — this brings popular regions such as Lake Tegernsee (photo) to their limits. The live update system is primarily intended to redirect day-trippers to less full areas.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Eiffel Tower summit open again

Visitors to Paris can finally visit the top of the Eiffel Tower again — the third level of the world-famous landmark opened on Wednesday. The number of tickets available is limited, in order to assure social distancing measures between visitors. Distancing is also in effect at the Disneyland Paris amusement park, which is opening its doors again after a four-month obligatory closure.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism The end of the party

Due to illegally held parties, Mallorca is ordering the forced closure of restaurants at Ballermann and Magaluf, resort areas visited by German and British tourists. The regulation comes into effect Wednesday, July 15 for two months. The behavior of a few vacationers and local owners should not jeopardize the huge efforts to fight the pandemic, said Balearic Tourism Minister Iago Negueruela.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Stricter face mask wearing rules on the Balearic Islands

On Mallorca and the other Balearic Islands, the regulations for wearing face masks have been tightened. To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, mouth and nose protection must be worn from July 13th in all enclosed public spaces as well as outdoors, whenever it is possible to encounter other people. On the beach, at the pool and during sports, however, masks are still not mandatory.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Flights overshadowed by fear

Holiday flights within Europe are on the move again, with passengers sitting close together. According to an opinion poll by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), 62% of those questioned are afraid of being infected by passengers in the next seat. This was identified by IATA as the main reason for the decline in willingness to travel, which is now only 45%.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism EU relaxes entry restrictions

Starting from July 1, people from third countries with low infection rates may enter the EU again as regular travellers. These countries are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. China will only be considered if it also lifts its entry restrictions for Europeans.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Corona test center opened at Frankfurt Airport

A corona test center has been in operation at Frankfurt Airport since June 29, 2020. Here, passengers both departing and arriving can be tested to avoid quarantine. The standard procedure, in which the results are available as a download within six to eight hours, costs 59 euros. Around 300 tests can be performed per hour.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Paris Eiffel Tower is open again

The Parisian landmark was closed for three months, and now visitors can go up it again. But only in limited numbers and on foot. There are 765 steps to the second floor viewing platform. Wearing a face mask is mandatory. The top of the Eiffel Tower will remain closed until further notice, as will the elevators. The number of tickets on sale is limited and they must be ordered online in advance.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism World famous Alhambra in Granada opens again

The Alhambra Castle in Granada in southern Spain will open its doors to tourists again on June 17. Initially, only 4,250 visitors are to be admitted at the same time — only half as many as usual. In addition, masks are mandatory. The Alhambra is considered the most important testimony to Arab architecture in Europe and is a World Heritage site.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism “Re-open EU”: A website with travel rules for Europe

Entry regulations, masks, quarantine? The new EU overview website “reopen.europa.eu” provides information on the coronavirus rules of individual EU countries — and in 24 languages. Tourists can enter their destination country on the website and find out about regulations that apply there. So far, the site contains information on 27 EU countries and is to be continuously updated.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Germany's borders are open again

During the night of Monday (June 15), the federal police ended the border controls that had been introduced three months ago because of the coronavirus crisis. Complete freedom of travel between Germany and its neighboring countries is back in effect. At the same time, the Foreign Office's travel warnings for 27 European countries ended.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism German government extends worldwide travel ban

The beaches of the world people dream of, like here on Ko Phi Phi in Thailand, will have to do without German tourists. The German government has extended the travel warning for tourists due to the coronavirus pandemic for more than 160 countries outside the EU until August 31. However, exceptions can be made for individual countries where the spread of the virus has been sufficiently contained.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Tourist pilot project launched on Mallorca

6000 Germans will be the first foreign tourists to be allowed to travel to the Balearic Islands from Monday (June 15). According to Spanish media, the pilot project is intended to test the security precautions at airports and hotels before all of Spain opens its borders on July 1. Germany was chosen because the epidemiological situation there is similar to that on the Balearic Islands.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Italy reopened for Europeans

Starting on Wednesday (June 3), tourists from Europe have been allowed to enter Italy again, the country that was one of the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic worldwide. A two-week quarantine for travellers from Europe is no longer required. This should save the travel season. Italians will again be able to move freely throughout the country and travel to other regions.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Aida cancels cruises until end of July

The 14 cruise ships of the German Rostock-based shipping company Aida Cruises will remain in port until July 31. In many holiday destination countries the regulations for international tourism are still being discussed, the company announced. The Italian shipping company Costa is also extending the cruise suspension for its fleet until July 31.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Colosseum and other sights in Italy open again

Rome's 2,000-year-old landmark can finally be visited again from June 1, and the Vatican Museums will also reopen on that day. Ancient Pompeii, south of Naples at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, is already welcoming visitors again, but only those from within the country. From June 3, however, foreign tourists will be able to return to Italy and visit the ancient sites.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Tourism on Greek islands starts again

From Monday (May 25), Greece's islands will be accessible again by plane and ferry for domestic tourists. Taverns, bars and cafes are reopening nationwide. Ferries are to sell only 50% of their tickets, and taverns are only allowed to occupy half of their tables. The list of countries from which foreign tourists can enter Greece without a two-week quarantine will be announced at the end of May.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Austria to open border to Germany again

The Austrian government has announced that the border with Germany will be opened on June 15. Tourism in Austria has been effectively suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. On May 29, hotels and other accommodation in Austria will be allowed to reopen. Austrian tourism is heavily dependent on guests from Germany.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Start of the season on the North Sea Islands

Borkum, Juist (photo) and the other East Frisian islands are happy to be able to greet tourists again, even if it's a limited surge of visitors. Since May 11, overnight stays in holiday apartments and camping sites throughout Lower Saxony have been allowed again. Holidaymakers must stay at least one week. However, day tourists and hotel overnight stays are still prohibited.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Will travel within Europe soon be possible again?

Holidaymakers might also be able to travel to the Balearic or Greek Islands in summer. “If there are very few new infections there and the medical care works, one could also think about a summer holiday in those places”, the government's commissioner for tourism, Thomas Bareiss, told the Tagesspiegel newpaper. Long-distance travel, however, is likely to be cancelled this summer.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Holiday season at the Baltic Sea to start

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is the first federal state to reopen to tourists from all over Germany: From May 25th they can again stay in hotels, guest houses and holiday homes. 60 percent of the bed capacity will be released for this purpose. This means that the tourist season can start with the Whitsun holidays in popular holiday regions like the Baltic Sea and the Mecklenburg Lake District.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Germany extends worldwide travel warning

Germany extended on Wednesday (April 29) its worldwide travel warning due to the coronavirus crisis to at least June 14. The Federal Foreign Office said that “severe and drastic restrictions in international air and travel traffic and worldwide entry restrictions, quarantine measures and restrictions on public life in many countries can still be expected.”

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism The Oktoberfest in Munich has been cancelled

The Oktoberfest has been cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Bavaria's premier Markus Söder and Munich's mayor Dieter Reiter announced the decision on Tuesday (April 21). ”It pains us, and it is a great pity”, said Söder. But in times of the coronavirus, the danger of infection at the folk festival, which attracts about six million visitors annually, would just be too great.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Mallorca worried about the summer

Hotels, cafes and souvenir shops are closed. It is unusually empty outside the Royal Palace in Palma (picture). The Easter season on the Spanish holiday island of Mallorca has been cancelled. The Majorcan hotel association now fears that due to the uncertain situation in the main markets of Germany and Great Britain, some hotels will remain closed even during the peak season.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism More Germans brought back from abroad

By Sunday (April, 5) 205,000 travelers had been brought back to Germany, according to the federal government. Airplanes from Peru and Colombia were the most recent to take off. More than 40,000 Germans however are still stranded abroad. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Twitter. ”We will continue our efforts to find solutions for the travelers who have not yet been able to return.”

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism A symbol of hope

A light installation on the Matterhorn in Switzerland is giving a sign of solidarity and hope in the fight against the corona virus. Encouraging messages are also being projected on to many other tourist landmarks around the world. “Stay safe”, “Stay at home” could be see on Monday evening on the Great Pyramid in Giza near the Egyptian capital Cairo.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Huge repatrition drive

The German foreign ministry announced on Wednesday (March 25) that, together with tour operators, it had brought back more than 150,000 Germans from abroad. Tour operator TUI added that almost 95 percent of the tourists who were stranded because of the coronavirus pandemic are now back in Germany. They were mainly flown out from Egypt, Spain, Portugal and the Cape Verde Islands.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Africa's measures to deal with the pandemic

African countries have also ordered numerous measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. South Africa, for example, has banned access to the country for people coming from risk areas. Nigeria is monitoring the temperature of travelers at airports, ports and borders. Cameroon has closed its borders indefinitely.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Australia bans foreign travel

The Australian government has imposed an indefinite ban on all foreign travel by its citizens. Prime Minister Scott Morrison also called on all Australians who are abroad to return home. A 14-day compulsory quarantine for all people entering the country has already been in place for some time. Here, too, it has become quiet in the cities.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Tourism in Germany comes to a halt

The coronavirus crisis is impacting travelers and the tourism industry with full force. Several tour operators, including TUI, has cancelled trips, and some airlines are shutting down. Germany's federal and state governments decided that overnight stays should only be used for “necessary and explicitly not for touristic purposes”. Germans are to “no longer take holiday trips at home and abroad”.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism EU external borders closed

The EU has closed its entire external borders for 30 days as from Tuesday (March 17, 2020). “All travel between non-European countries and the European Union will be suspended for 30 days,” French President Macron said in a television address on Monday (March 16,2020) evening. The Schengen Area, which includes several non-EU countries, has also closed its external borders.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Germany brings travelers back home

More and more countries are sealing their borders, and many flights are cancelled. With special flights Lufthansa and its subsidiary Eurowings want to bring up to 6,500 stranded holidaymakers from the Caribbean, the Canary Islands and on Mallorca back to Germany. In Morocco, the German government is assisting German tourists who are stranded there due to their return flights being cancelled.

Coronavirus: The consequences for tourism Germany partially closes its borders to tourists

On Monday morning (March 16, 2020), Germany introduced entry controls at the borders with the five neighboring countries: France, Denmark, Luxembourg, Austria and Switzerland. Border crossings will be reduced to what is strictly necessary. Goods can continue to pass through, including commuters, but not travelers without good reason. The duration of the measures remains open.

Author: Andreas Kirchhoff, Susan Bonney-Cox


lc/rc (dpa, Reuters)



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Topics #Marburger Bund #Mayor #Nepal #Paris Eiffel Tower #Rwanda #Statistics Office #Switzerland