South Africa becomes a virus variant area.

Can you still travel there?

Timo Kotowski

Editor in business.

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Yes, there is no travel ban.

The authorities there require a negative test, which must not be older than 72 hours, and a health questionnaire to be filled out.

However, due to the reclassification of the country and the reports about the new Corona variant B.1.1.529, which may be more dangerous than previous variants, the demand for travel and thus the number of flights available are likely to fall further.

In addition, there are stricter requirements for the way home.

RKI President Lothar Wieler expressed concern about the virus variant that appeared in South Africa.

"We are actually very worried," he said in Berlin.

To the best of his knowledge, no case has yet been found in Germany.

Belgium reported the first known case in continental Europe on Friday afternoon.

What do I have to consider when traveling back?

For those returning from countries that are classified as virus variant areas, according to the German Corona Entry Ordinance, they have to go into quarantine for 14 days after returning home. This period cannot be shortened, the requirement applies equally to vaccinated people. In addition, it is only possible to travel to Germany if the traveler can present a negative test result; proof of vaccination alone is not sufficient. Airlines are not allowed to carry passengers to Germany without a test certificate. The Federal Police also conduct random checks after arriving in Germany. In addition, travel is restricted to citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany.

And there is another requirement: In order for the local health authorities to be informed about those returning home to monitor the infection, it is mandatory to fill out a digital entry form.

These rules apply to all arrivals who are 12 years of age or older.

There is an exception only for children who are younger.

What if the test required for the return trip turns out positive?

In short: then the traveler is faced with a challenge.

He is then not forbidden from entering Germany, but an airline is then no longer allowed to bring him directly to the Federal Republic of Germany.

Since air travel is in fact the only realistic route to travel to southern Africa, the only option left for the affected person is to postpone the return journey.

The Federal Ministry of Health informs: “In the event that your test is positive, you are urgently advised to isolate yourself immediately.” Remote isolation must be “according to local regulations” and “at your own risk”.

What if I have just returned from South Africa?

South Africa has long been classified as a high-risk area, but not more recently.

In this respect, there are no stricter statutory requirements for quarantine or the like.

The acting Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU) called on those who had already returned on Friday to voluntarily isolate themselves and voluntarily do a PCR test.

How do other countries deal with B 1.1.952?

Great Britain and France initially interrupted air traffic from South Africa - for at least 48 hours.

The stop also applies to neighboring countries such as Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic and Malta also imposed restrictions.

The President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen has called on the EU states to take action quickly.

"It is now very important that we in Europe act quickly, decisively and as one," said von der Leyen.

According to von der Leyen, the Commission has proposed that the member states activate the emergency brake for travel from countries in southern Africa.

"All air travel to and from these countries should be avoided until we have a clear understanding of how serious the mutations of this new variant are." Take the news about the "new, multiple mutated Covid variant very seriously," said von der Leyen.