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COVID-19

Germany to enforce Covid-19 quarantine on unvaccinated travellers from Denmark

Germany on Friday designated Denmark and France as high risk zones for the transmission of coronavirus and will impose quarantine on unvaccinated travellers from the two, a public health agency said.

The Denmark-Germany border pictured earlier in the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Denmark-Germany border pictured earlier in the Covid-19 pandemic. File photo: Claus Fisker/Ritzau Scanpix

The requirement will be imposed from Sunday and will also apply to travellers from Norway, Lebanon and Andorra, with those unvaccinated or who have not recovered from the virus subject to quarantine with the possibility of testing on day five.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said earlier Friday that Germany, battered by a recent rise in Covid cases, must brace for a “massive fifth wave” due to the new Omicron variant.

“We must prepare for a challenge that we have not yet had in this form,” Lauterbach told reporters, adding that even if the variant were “milder” it may make “no difference”.

Were the virus to be less serious than other variants, this might “keep deaths low for two to three weeks, before the growth of the virus would eat up this advantage,” the minister said, underlining that a difficult period ahead was “inevitable”.

Germany has reimposed health restrictions following high case numbers, barring unvaccinated people from restaurants and non-essential commerce.

Case numbers have declined slightly but the spread of the more infectious Omicron variant, first identified in South Africa, threatens to send new infections up again.

Denmark on Friday announced a series of its own new Covid-19 restrictions amid record numbers of daily Covid-19 cases, accelerated by the new Omicron variant.

The Scandinavian country recorded a new all-time high of more than 11,000 cases in the past 24 hours, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told a press conference.

READ ALSO: Denmark to close cinemas and theatres under new Covid restrictions

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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