Health Minister Karl Lauterbach
Photo: Kay Nietfeld / dpa
Germany is reacting to the massive corona outbreak in China with a Covid test obligation for travelers from the country.
This was announced by Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach on Thursday.
The German entry regulation will be changed at short notice, travelers from China will need at least one rapid antigen test when traveling to Germany, said the SPD politician.
In addition, samples will be taken upon entry to identify virus variants.
Health experts from the 27 EU countries were not able to agree on Wednesday evening that travelers from China should be tested, but they strongly recommend it.
As the Swedish Presidency announced after a meeting of health experts from the member states in Brussels, the EU countries are being urged to require travelers from China to Europe to have a negative corona test before departure that is not older than 48 hours target.
There was agreement, among other things, to recommend wearing a medical or FFP2 mask on board the aircraft.
The decision is not binding for the individual EU states, but is considered an important guideline.
The measures are to be reviewed in the middle of the month.
Compulsory testing also in Sweden and Belgium
In Sweden, too, people arriving from China should have a negative test from Saturday and initially for three weeks.
It is purely a "precautionary measure," said Social Affairs Minister Jakob Forssmed at a joint press conference with the Swedish health authority on Thursday.
The obligation should not apply to Swedish citizens.
Adults and young people over the age of twelve must present a test.
Belgium is apparently also following the recommendation of mandatory testing for travelers from the People’s Republic, which the EU states agreed on Wednesday.
As reported by the Belga news agency and the Belgian Broadcasting Corporation, travelers on direct flights from China will in future have to present a negative corona test before departure.
Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke announced this on Wednesday after the EU consultations.
A corresponding royal decree could be published on Saturday.
Belgium had previously decided to examine the wastewater from planes arriving from China for possible new virus variants.
The analyzes are scheduled to begin on Saturday.
Numerous infections in China
Barely a month after the end of the zero-Covid strategy that had been pursued for almost three years, several hundred million people in the People's Republic have already been infected with the virus.
The huge outbreak is expected to last until March or April.
Exact figures are not available because the authorities have stopped publishing epidemiological data.
The EU countries have been struggling to find a common line in dealing with the corona wave since the end of December.
However, a number of countries such as Italy, France and Spain have already tightened entry regulations.
This brought back memories of the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, when rules across the EU varied from country to country and were difficult for travelers to understand.