German states set to ease quarantine rules for EU travellers

Berlin (dpa) – Germany’s 16 states plan to begin easing quarantine regulations on travellers imposed as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Interior Ministry said on Friday.

The ministry is currently working on a scheme that could be modelled for the individual states following agreement in discussions with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office on Thursday. The final decision lies with the states themselves.

The current rules in most states are for travellers from neighbouring countries in the European Union to go into quarantine for 14 days.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has called for this to be eased and to apply only to travellers from non-EU countries.

The move has been prompted in part by a court ruling in the state of Lower Saxony relating to holiday accommodation. The court granted an urgent application by the owner for the quarantine obligation to be set aside.

Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine Westphalia, lifted its quarantine regulations on Friday.

A survey conducted between Tuesday and Thursday this week found 55 per cent of respondents in favour of opening internal borders in the EU.

But 41 per cent of the 1,282 randomly chosen respondents in the survey conducted on behalf of national public broadcaster ZDF remained opposed.

Just over half of those surveyed said their holiday plans had been affected by the pandemic, while a third said they had in any case not planned a summer trip.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is to discuss travel restrictions with the foreign ministers of countries popular with German holidaymakers next week.

According to the ZDF survey, two thirds continue to back the rules imposed to contain the pandemic, with 17 per cent seeing them as too strict and 15 per cent wanting yet stricter regulations.

Germany has confirmed nearly 173,000 coronavirus cases over the course of the crisis, including nearly 7,800 deaths, according to a dpa tally on Friday morning.

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