Germany introduces mandatory COVID-19 tests for travellers from hotspots

Starting Saturday, travellers from high-risk areas will have to undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test upon their arrival in Germany, Minister of Health Jens Spahn said.

“I am very aware that it is an encroachment on the freedom of the individual,” Xinhua news agency quoted Spahn as saying on Thursday.

However, he considered this interference to be “reasonable” with regard to the responsibility for others.

Spahn said that the intention behind the tests for travellers from areas with high COVID-19 case numbers was intended to “play it safe.”

The debate about compulsory testing on re-entry into Germany started about two weeks ago when the number of daily COVID-19 cases picked up again.

On Thursday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) registered more than 1,000 new COVID-19 infections within 24 hours in Germany for the first time in three months.

New infections increased by 1,045 within one day to 213,067 on Thursday while the number of coronavirus-related deaths spiked by seven to 9,175, according to the RKI.

Travellers to Germany from high-risk areas were previously required by individual states to stay in quarantine for two weeks, but testing remained voluntary.

Since August 1, all travellers to Germany had been able to test for the coronavirus voluntarily and free of charge at many airports and some major train stations.

“Every previously undiscovered infection that we find through these free of charge tests makes a difference,” said Spahn.

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