Germany Will Allow Vaccinated Travelers to Skip Quarantine and Testing
The measures come in time for summer travel.
The German government plans to allow visitors who have been vaccinated against or recovered from COVID-19 to skip mandatory testing and quarantines.
It also will permit travelers who test negative for COVID-19 to leave quarantine early. German lawmakers approved the changes on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported, noting that the relaxed restrictions won't apply to travelers from countries where variants of concern are clustered.
The loosening of travel restrictions in Germany comes as Bavaria is reopening its outdoor beer gardens. Beer gardens in Munich — home of the world-famous Oktoberfest — were set to reopen on Wednesday, the AP reported. Oktoberfest, Germany's best-known cultural celebration, was canceled again this year.
Still, for an increasing number of vaccinated Germans, summer vacations are on the horizon as COVID-19 caseloads fall in parts of Europe.
Countries such as Spain, the U.K., France, Greece, and Italy are preparing to reopen for international tourism. Beaches in Greece have already started to reopen. Museums are expected to follow closely behind. The U.K. has set up a traffic light system to govern travel to and from a number of European countries.
Germany also expects to roll out an app-based vaccine passport by the end of June.
An estimated one-third of Germany's 83 million people have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. About 10% of the population has received two doses, according to official government figures, the AP reported.
Many children and teenagers have yet to be vaccinated, and some German doctors say they are facing increasing pressure from people looking for vaccines ahead of the summer vacation season.
Germany has reported more than 3.5 million cases of COVID-19 and just over 85,000 deaths, according to the latest available data from the World Health Organization (WHO).
According to the WHO, Germany reported fewer than 7,000 new COVID-19 cases on May 10, a significant drop from the 24,097 it reported on the same day last month.