Germany will set up coronavirus test stations at airports for travelers returning to the country, officials announced on Friday.
Dilek Kalayci, chairwoman of the Conference of German State Health Ministers, said this affects not only travelers from European holiday destinations but also from high-risk areas.
In case of a positive test, travelers will have to quarantine at home, said Kalayci, who is the health minister of the state of Berlin.
“Travelers from non-risk countries can also be tested within 72 hours,” she added. “But not in the airports.”
The tests are free of charge for all returning travelers.
The new rules are to apply to German nationals returning from holiday, as well as foreigners.
Airports have voiced concern about the plan saying authorities must conduct the testing, rather than their own employees.
Travel restrictions for European countries were lifted as the pandemic seemed to recede in much of Europe, with many Germans having returned to popular holiday destinations in Spain, Greece, France and Italy.
Media reports of Germans having wild parties in popular European holiday resorts without obeying the coronavirus rules have sparked concern among German health authorities.
For more than 160 countries outside the European Union, the German Foreign Ministry has issued a travel alert until Aug. 31.
For most European countries, the travel warning was lifted on June 15 and replaced by individual travel and security warnings for specific countries.
According to Germany’s disease control agency Robert Koch Institute, three factors are the main criteria for designating the majority of foreign countries to be high risk.
First, if there are more than 50 new coronavirus infections per 100,000 inhabitants within the last seven days.
Second, if there is insufficient testing capacity in a country or the measures to contain coronavirus are not sufficient.
Third, when there is no reliable information available for a specific country.
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