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Germany introduces mandatory COVID-19 tests for travelers from high-risk areas

Published : 07 Aug 2020, 00:19

  DF News Desk

A health worker collects a swab from a passenger at Cologne-Bonn Airport in Cologne, Germany, on Aug. 3, 2020. File Photo Xinhua.

Starting this Saturday, travelers from high-risk areas had to undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test upon their arrival in Germany, Minister of Health Jens Spahn announced on Thursday, reported Xinhua.

"I am very aware that it is an encroachment on the freedom of the individual," said Spahn. However, he considered this interference to be "reasonable" with regard to the responsibility for others.

Spahn said that the intention behind the tests for travelers from areas with high COVID-19 case numbers was intended to "play it safe."

The debate about compulsory testing on re-entry into Germany started about two weeks ago when the number of daily COVID-19 cases picked up again. On Thursday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) registered more than 1,000 new COVID-19 infections within 24 hours in Germany for the first time in three months.

New infections with COVID-19 in Germany increased by 1,045 within one day to 213,067 on Thursday while the number of coronavirus-related deaths increased by seven to 9,175, according to the RKI.

Travelers to Germany from high-risk areas were previously required by individual states to stay in quarantine for two weeks, but testing remained voluntary.

Since last Saturday, all travelers to Germany had been able to test for the coronavirus voluntarily and free of charge at many airports and some major train stations.

"Every previously undiscovered infection that we find through these free of charge tests makes a difference," said Spahn.