Travellers qualifying to enter Germany from Portugal, the United Kingdom, India, Nepal and Russia will face facilitated entry restrictions from July 7 after all five of them are no longer considered virus variant areas by the German authorities.

Updating the list of world countries according to their COVID-10 situation, the German research institute Robert Koch, which is responsible for disease control and prevention, has removed these five countries from the list of virus variant areas.

The institute now lists them under the high incidence areas category, for which the travel rules to enter Germany are more relaxed than those for arrivals from the areas of variant concern.

Until now, only German nationals and residents were permitted to enter the German territory from Portugal, the UK, Nepal, Russia and India. The same had to isolate for a period of 14 days and did not have the option to end quarantine earlier.

Now that all of these five countries have moved to the list of high incidence areas, travellers reaching Germany from them will have to quarantine for a shorter period of ten days, with the option of ending it even earlier.

After a previous stay in high-incidence areas, testing can be carried out five days after entry at the earliest. After staying in virus variant areas, the quarantine lasts 14 days, and it is not possible to end the quarantine early,” the RKI explains.

Currently in the list of COVID-19 virus variant areas remain Botswana, Brazil, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Uruguay.

Germany’s move to remove the UK and the other countries from the list follows a meeting of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel with the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. During the meeting, Merkel, who has continuously called on a joint EU ban on travel from the UK, said that, in fact, fully vaccinated Brits may soon be permitted to travel to Germany.

The travel ban imposed on arrivals from Portugal, an EU and Schengen member, has been widely criticized among EU officials, including the highest officials of the EU Commission, as well as the Portuguese Prime Minister himself.

Germany currently permits restriction-free entry for the nationals of 25 third countries, including for non-vaccinated travellers reaching the country for tourism purposes. Among these countries are listed all six Western Balkan countries, the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and others.

Vaccinated travellers from the rest of the world countries can also enter Germany if they have been vaccinated with one of the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and they are not coming from a virus variant or high incidence area.