BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Germany is preparing entry bans for travellers from Britain, Portugal, Brazil and South Africa to limit the spread of the more contagious variants of the coronavirus raging in these countries, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on Thursday.
“To protect our population, there should be no entry fromregions where these variants of the virus are rampant,” he saidon the fringes of a virtual meeting with his EU counterparts.
Belgium has already barred residents from taking vacationsabroad until March to fight the spread of the more infectiousvirus variants, but other European Union members reject radical measures such as travel or entry bans.
Seehofer vowed Germany would go ahead with its planseven if the EU as a whole didn’t agree such measures.
“We cannot expect to have a European solution that meets ourexpectations any time soon, so we are preparing nationalmeasures,” he said.
The transport of goods and medical supplies will not beaffected by the restrictions that are under discussion in theBerlin government, according to Seehofer.
The European Union meanwhile cut Japan from its list of countries from which travellers can visit the bloc without COVID-related restrictions such as quarantines or mandatory tests.
After the changes, the list will consist of seven countries – Australia, China, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.
Despite China being on the list, travel from there will be allowed only if Chinese authorities also allow in EU visitors. The reciprocity requirement is not applied in the case of the other listed countries.
The list also only serves as a recommendation on travel rules. Individual EU countries can set their own rules.
(Reporting by Sabine Siebold and Phil Blenkinsop; Editing by Alexandra Hudson, Kate Abnett and Giles Elgood)