Berlin (dpa) – The federal government is under time pressure with the planned general corona test obligation for holiday returnees. Deputy spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer left a start date open on Wednesday, pointing out that internal discussions were still ongoing.
Green chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock warned that one should not repeat the mistakes of last summer, only to think about better protection when the holidaymakers are back. In the first countries, the end of the summer holidays is approaching, at the same time the currently low number of infections in Germany continues to rise.
Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) plan that a negative test should be required upon entry into the country if you do not have proof of a full vaccination or recovery. Such a general testing obligation already exists for air passengers. In the future, it should work, regardless of where and by which means of transport you come, for example by car. Details are still being discussed. However, it is not the intention that every person entering the country will be checked directly at the border, as was the case with some border sections in the spring of 2020. Instead, they rely on random checks in the border area.
Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) had mentioned next Sunday as a possible date. He said Tuesday evening in the ARD that the federal government had promised to make every effort to introduce a uniform inspection requirement by August 1. An originally planned date of September 11 would have been “a joke”, Söder said, the holiday is over, even in the countries with late holidays”.
The federal government has left the start date open for now. Regulations for return travelers are also on the topic list of the Corona round of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) with the Prime Minister of the federal states on August 10, according to vice spokeswoman Demmer. What can become clear in advance, of course, becomes clear. The rule is, “The faster, the better.” A spokeswoman for Spahns said that if it were up to the health department, the testing requirement would last a long time. “If it is now the beginning of August, then we can only welcome that.”
The SPD is pushing for legally safe solutions. Such testing obligations make sense, but should be valid in court, the SPD faction’s legal policy spokesman Johannes Fechner said of the German news agency. “The Bundestag must quickly create the conditions for new testing obligations, if necessary in a special session in August.” AfD faction leader Alice Weidel opposed a blanket testing requirement. This would put a disproportionate burden on travellers, border authorities and the tourism industry. She spoke about the insecurity of holidaymakers who had to stop.
A minor change to the quarantine requirements has been in effect since Wednesday. Anyone who comes from an area with new, more contagious virus variants can end the mandatory 14-day quarantine early with a negative test if the region is downgraded during the quarantine period – to a high-risk or high-incidence area with high numbers of infections. In principle, premature “free testing” is otherwise not possible for those who come from areas with virus variants.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) publishes on the Internet which regions the federal government designates as high-risk, high-incidence, or virus variants with testing and quarantine requirements. Currently, South Africa and Brazil are virus variant areas, among others.
With a view to the autumn, additional measures against increasing numbers of infections are also being discussed – that should also be the subject of the state round with Merkel. The RKI also sees action. “The fourth wave has begun”, says a paper that RKI boss Lothar Wieler presented on Monday at a switching conference with the heads of state of the Reich Chancellery. High vaccination coverage alone was not enough to keep the wave flat. Additional «basic protective measures» such as distance and masks are necessary. The memorandum also lists the aspects “decrease in contacts, decrease in mobility” in bullet points.
To discuss additional criteria for assessing the situation, the RKI paper states that the seven-day incidence remains important to assess the situation in Germany and take early control measures. The presentation was available for the dpa, first the newspaper “Bild” and “The Pioneer” reported on it.
SPD lawyer Fechner said in view of this debate that the Bundestag should probably meet in August anyway to decide on the flood aid fund. “Even then, the urgently needed amendment to the Infection Protection Act could be resolved, so that the introduction of corona requirements in the future will be subject to further criteria in addition to the incidence value.”
Nationally, the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants rose further to 15.0 in seven days, according to the RKI, the seven-day incidence was still 14.5 the day before.