The coronavirus (Covid-19): travel restrictions
The risk of infection in Germany has not yet led to a ban on passenger transportation to Germany. However, precautions are being taken in cross-border passenger transportation. In contrast, a few other countries have imposed entry restrictions or prohibitions, some of which are drastic.
Due to the risk of infection, travellers who enter other countries, including German citizens or travellers coming from Germany, can expect stricter entry checks such as health tests with temperature measurement, quarantines and entry bans. These checks are becoming stricter every day.
Travelling to Germany
Travellers on flights from – currently – China, Japan, South Korea, Iran and Italy to Germany can expect entry checks. They must fill out a “disembarkation card” (passenger locator card = PLC) to enable contact persons to be traced if someone on the same flight is later found to be a carrier of the COVID-19 virus. Before they disembark, travellers (including crew) that enter Germany by airplane or ship from the abovementioned countries must provide information regarding their flight/cruise and how they can be personally contacted for the 30 days after arrival.
According to a general order, railroad companies must report suspicious cases in long-distance and regional public transportation trains to the German Federal Police without delay. In the event of a suspicious case, travellers in the train must fill out the “train disembarkation card”.
If a traveller in cross-border passenger transportation to Germany shows indications of infection with the COVID-19 virus, the German Federal Police informs the local health authorities without delay, who then conduct a medical evaluation and decide on treatment.
Flyers in various languages with information regarding preventative hygiene and conduct when symptoms of illness arise are continually being provided for travellers in travel areas (arrival areas for travellers from the Schengen area and from outside it) and by transportation companies. Please click here for further information.
What are other countries doing?
Germany’s Federal Foreign Office provides constantly updated travel and safety tips regarding various countries.
As of 12 March 2020, the USA has issued a 30-day entry ban for travellers from Europe, or more specifically, the Schengen signatory countries, which include Germany. The reason for this is the free movement of persons among the Schengen countries.
As of 12 March 2020, the USA has issued a 30-day entry ban for travellers from Europe, or more specifically, the Schengen signatory countries, which include Germany. The reason for this is the free movement of persons among the Schengen countries, which results in the fact that there are generally no checks of persons travelling from one Schengen country to another other than on a case-by-case basis and in the current situation. The UK and Ireland are not included in this prohibition. The travel ban to the USA applies to anyone who has been in one of the Schengen countries in the 14 days before entering the USA. Americans who are in the Schengen area are not to be permitted to reenter the USA until they have been tested.
Since 6 March 2020, it is no longer possible for travellers who are not Israeli citizens (or Palestinians) to enter Israel from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria or Switzerland. Many air routes to Israel have been temporarily closed. Some local areas have also been completely closed off. Travellers have been advised not to travel to the West Bank due to the likelihood of infection. Tourists have already been requested to leave the country “in an orderly manner”.
Persons who travel to Moscow from Germany and other countries in which Corona cases have been established must report to the municipal government and “go into isolation” for 14 days. In Bhutan and Mongolia, complete bans on entry and partial bans on leaving have been imposed on Germans and other travellers. Germans have temporarily lost their right to enter Vietnam without a visa. Nepal is now only issuing visas to Germany if they have confirmation of a negative test result for COVID-19. Visas for India held by German citizens who have not yet entered India have been declared invalid. All Germans in Thailand have been requested to self-isolate at home (not in a hotel!).
In Switzerland stricter entry checks, health examinations with temperature measurement and, on a case-by-case basis, entry bans are to be expected.
Italy’s government has declared the entire country a security zone. Orders have been issued to close airports for direct flights to/from China and to conduct health checks at airports, harbours and overland transport. No border closings are currently planned. This means that travellers can leave the country; those who stay are requested to limit their movement to what is absolutely necessary and to submit self-declarations.
From 8 March until initially 3 April 2020, bans on entry and leaving have been imposed on certain regions. South Tyrol has more or less completely closed down its public life and declared the winter season over. Non-essential travel to Italy is discouraged. Austria has imposed an extensive ban on entry from Italy which applies primarily to Italian citizens. Tourists are still permitted to travel through Austria if they do not stop there. For this purpose, a vehicle’s fuel gauge can be checked before entering Austria, and travellers must sign a declaration.
The Robert Koch Institute has now declared the areas in eastern France of Alsace, Lorrain and Champagne-Ardenne corona risk areas.
Ruanda, Liechtenstein and the Maldives have ordered entry checks with health checks and other measures. As of 12 March 2020, many other countries have also ordered such measures.
Situation in Germany
Up to now, no general mandatory measures have been ordered in connection with entering Germany. The emphasis has rather been placed on relying on each individual’s responsibility, especially to report any suspicion of infection and have a medical examination conducted. Every company, event manager and authority or institution (such as primarily schools, childcare facilities and hospitals) are to draw up an action plan on their own initiative in order to prevent people from becoming infected. Responsible parties usually take their cues from the recommendations issued by publicly available sources such as the Robert Koch Institute. Within Germany, new event prohibitions are being imposed almost every hour in and by individual states. Events with more than 1,000 attendees are prohibited in some states such as Bavaria until the end of the Easter holidays. Public events and gatherings with several hundred potential attendees such as plays, concerts or university lectures have been cancelled, not in general but rather in individual cases, or postponed (at universities until the end of the Easter holidays).
Any questions? Please contact: Angelika Schmid
Practice group: Employment & Pensions