BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany lifted its blanket warning against travelling to all countries outside the European Union early on Thursday, although little is likely to change for most travellers under the new regulation.
The cautious reopening, agreed by the German cabinet three weeks ago, comes as Europe faces an uptick in COVID-19 cases, with many warning the continent is on the cusp of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Due to high infection rates, the foreign ministry extended an existing warning for parts of Belgium to cover the entire country and warned against travel to Wales, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar and Iceland.
Germany is also warning about travel to France with the exception of the Grand Est region and issued further warnings for parts of Estonia, Ireland, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia, Hungary and Croatia.
Germany imposed a global travel warning in March, when the virus was raging in northern Italy, but lifted it for most European countries in June. In September, Berlin began reissuing warnings for regions within Europe when infections rose above the level of 50 cases per 100,000 people over a week.
In future, the same standard will be applied to the rest of the world. This means that provided the prevalence of the virus is below that threshold, travellers will be able to return to Germany without going into quarantine pending a negative test. At present, entry and exit without restrictions will only be possible in parts of Europe and Georgia.
Special provisions for Turkey, with which Germany has close ties as a result of being home to almost 4 million citizens of Turkish ethnic background, will remain in place.
The foreign ministry will continue to warn against travel to countries which have imposed restrictions on people arriving from Germany due to their own low prevalence of coronavirus. These include Australia, China, Canada, Rwanda and Uruguay.
(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Additional reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Richard Pullin and Michelle Adair)