Germany to demand negative COVID test from all air travellers

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Anyone wanting to arrive in Germany by plane must from Sunday show a negative COVID test before boarding, the health ministry said, amid concerns over German tourists flocking to Mallorca over the Easter holidays.

The new decree must still be approved by Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet, which is expected to happen in the next 24 hours, the ministry told AFP on Thursday.

"All travellers wishing to enter Germany by plane from March 28... must take a mandatory before departure," the official said. Airline crews are exempt from the new rules.

The test must be less than 48 hours old and is to be paid for by the passenger.

The move comes as Germany is battling a sharp rise in coronavirus infections, fuelled by new virus variants, while the country's COVID vaccination drive is still sluggish.

The Easter holidays next week have added to concerns, with thousands of Germans set to travel to the Spanish island of Mallorca after it was recently taken off Germany's list of coronavirus "risk areas".

Airlines are laying on hundreds of extra flights to cope with the surge in demand, piling pressure on the government to find ways to ensure that returning holidaymakers do not worsen the COVID's spread in Germany.

The government has already said it is considering a temporary ban on travel to popular destinations abroad, but such a step would face high legal hurdles.

Until now, only passengers coming from "high-risk" areas are required to show a negative test upon arrival in Germany.

© 2021 AFP

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