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Germany to ban passengers from Ireland and other countries affected by Covid-19 variants from tomorrow

The ban is set to last until 17 February.

Image: Shutterstock/Cuson

GERMANY WILL BAN most passengers travelling from Ireland and other countries affected by new Covid-19 variants from tomorrow.

The ban, set to last until 17 February, was announced by the country’s government this evening.

Germany said the move was necessary “to protect the people of Germany and to limit the entry and rapid spread of the new virus variants”, according to a government decree.

Passengers from Ireland, the UK, Portugal, Brazil and South Africa, as well as the southern African kingdoms of Lesotho and Eswatini, will be affected by the ban.

The restrictions cover arrivals by air, bus, rail and sea, but several exceptions will be granted.

Germans and other nationals living in Germany are allowed to return, while passenger transits and freight traffic will also be unaffected.

Exemptions also include the entry of medical workers and people in other key jobs.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said earlier this week that he wanted to reduce flights into Germany to “almost zero”.

The European Union remains opposed to a blanket travel ban or closures of national borders, despite some members seeking tougher action.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday said all non-essential travel “should be strongly discouraged”.

Belgium has taken a similar step, putting a travel ban in place until 1 March.

Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Jean Castex has also announced that the country will close its borders to non-European Union countries for all except essential travel from Sunday.

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Like Germany, France’s ban is an attempt to stop the spread of new variant strains of Covid-19 affecting the country.

Speaking after a meeting of the country’s defence council, Castex said he would not announcing a fresh national lockdown for now, adding that “the next few days will be decisive” in terms of any possible new restrictions.

He added that only essential travel would be allowed to and from non-EU countries and all arrivals in France from inside the EU except cross-border workers would be required to show a negative PCR test.

The requirement was previously imposed for air and sea travellers but would now also apply to those travelling by land too.

With reporting from © AFP 2021

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