To protect against the rapid spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, the UK will be classified by the federal government as a virus variant area from Monday.

The Robert Koch Institute announced this on Saturday evening.

This considerably restricts entry to Germany from the UK.

To protect against the rapid spread of the omicron variant of the corona virus, the health ministers of the federal states had previously called for stricter rules for entering Germany. "Making entry safer helps so that the Omikron variant does not spread so quickly," said Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD). “We cannot prevent the spread, we can only delay it. The longer it takes for Omikron to have Germany under control, the better. "

Specifically, it said in the resolution of the health ministers of the federal states that the federal government would be asked to change the coronavirus entry regulation. Travelers aged six and over who have been in an area classified as a virus variant area at any time in the last ten days prior to entry should present a negative PCR test certificate before departure. A rapid antigen test should no longer be permitted for this. The PCR test on which the negative test evidence is based must not be more than 48 hours ago if the flight was abroad.

This regulation should also apply to people who only transfer at an airport in the Federal Republic, it said.

Competent authorities should "enforce" compliance with these regulations through appropriate controls.

The reason is that in order to keep the entry of the worrying Omikron variant in Germany as low as possible and not to further fuel the already high infection rate from the delta variant, tightening of the test requirements upon entry is necessary.

For flights of more than five hours, according to the recommendations of the Robert Koch Institute, an increased risk of infection can be assumed - so that different regulations for short and long-haul flights could be made when testing when entering from virus variant areas.

Debate on Britain

The decision also states that the Federal Ministry of Health will be encouraged to continue to campaign for the classification of Great Britain as a virus variant area in the short term.

The chairman of the conference of health ministers, Bavaria's head of department Klaus Holetschek (CSU), had called for the federal government to declare Great Britain a virus variant area “as quickly as possible”. “I am very concerned about developments in Great Britain.

The omicron virus variant spreads rapidly there.

We therefore have to act consistently and quickly, ”Holetschek said on Friday in Munich.

On Saturday, the British capital, London, declared a disaster because of the Omikron variant.

"The rise in omicron cases in our capital is very worrying," said Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Khan pointed out that the number of Covid patients in London's hospitals is increasing again massively.

The UK health authorities confirmed 24,968 Omicron cases as of Friday evening.

That's over 10,000 cases more than 24 hours earlier.

According to estimates by experts, the Omikron variant already accounts for more than 80 percent of all new Covid-19 cases in London.

So far, no European countries are considered virus variant areas; according to the RKI list, these are currently countries such as South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Omikron had been discovered in southern Africa.

According to Lauterbach, Germany is facing a massive fifth corona wave with the Omikron variant.

The Omikron wave could be delayed, but not prevented, Lauterbach said on Friday in Hanover.

The countries of Great Britain and Denmark, which have already been particularly affected by Omikron, had recorded record numbers of new infections in the past few days.

France and Denmark become high risk areas

From Sunday on, France and Denmark are high-risk areas due to the high number of corona infections. This also applies to Norway, Lebanon and Andorra, as the RKI announced on Friday. Anyone who enters from a high-risk area and is not fully vaccinated or recovered has to be in quarantine for ten days and can only get rid of it with a negative test five days after arrival at the earliest. With the exception of Luxembourg, all of Germany's neighboring countries will be classified as high-risk areas in the future.

There are stricter rules when classifying a country as a virus variant area.

Airlines are then essentially only allowed to carry German citizens or people living in Germany from there to Germany.

But it is not a flight ban.

A two-week quarantine obligation applies to those entering the country - including those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered.

It cannot be shortened by negative tests either.