German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas unveiled Germany’s plan to lift travel restrictions on 29 European countries on Wednesday. The easing of travel restrictions applies to passport-free Schengen-area countries as well as the UK and will apply from June 15.
The ban currently in place will be changed to travel guidelines. Although the news will be welcomed by many, Maas warned Germans against rushing to travel.
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“Travel guidelines are not necessarily an invitation to travel,” he said. “For example, we do not recommend non-essential travel to the UK while they have a 14-day quarantine period in place.”
“We must not let this lull us into a false sense of security,” he wrote on Twitter. “COVID-19 is not over. We have to work together to make sure that reopening of tourism does not lead to a second wave, either here in Germany or elsewhere.”
In addition, Schengen-area countries Spain and Norway will still have effective bans in place for Germans as both countries have not lifted their own entry bans.
The lifting of travel restrictions will depend on infection rates and domestic policies of the countries in question and could be changed “depending on wide-scale lockdowns or entry bans.”
No worldwide travel yet
Restrictions of travel outside of Germany were first announced in March. The new guidelines will apply to the 26 EU nations as well as the UK, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
Maas confirmed that travel outside of the specified countries is not yet permitted, and Germany will wait for the EU to make a decision on this.
The foreign minister also confirmed there will be no further repatriation initiative this summer, after Germany chartered flights to return thousands of Germans to their home country from around the world during the spring.
ed/ng (AP, Reuters)