Germany restricts travel from the United Kingdom

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By Favour Nnabugwu

 

The German Government is banning all but essential travel from the United Kingdom from Sunday amid concerns that a variant of COVID-19 first detected in India is circulating throughout the British population.

On Friday, Germany’s Ministry of Public Health declared Great Britain and Northern Ireland a virus variant region

Only German citizens or people holding resident status will be allowed to enter Germany from the United Kingdom from midnight tonight.

With the UK now classed as a coronavirus variant zone, anyone entering Germany from the UK must prove a negative PCR test taken no longer than 72 hours before arrival, or a rapid antigen test that was taken within 24 hours. These rules also apply to people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Germany wants to play it safe
As of Thursday, the UK has reported 3,424 cases of the B.1.617 Indian variant that is believed to be a more virulent strain that is more contagious than other variants.

The World Health Organization has called B.1.617 a mutation of concern despite having limited scientific knowledge of how transmissible it is.

When speaking about the quarantine decision newswire service Reuters quotes a German government source as saying:

“We want to play it safe during this important phase of the vaccination campaign; the entry of problematic mutations must be avoided as far as possible.”

Earlier in the pandemic, the big worry was the spread of the highly contagious and deadly B.1.1.7UK or Kent variant, which surged in the UK during December and is now the dominant strain of the virus in the United States. And it is not just the Kent and Indian variants that have health officials concerned, with the South Africa variant B.1.351 and Braziliant variant P.1 also present in the UK.

There is no evidence to suggest that the Indian or other mutations are more deadly than the original strain. The big worry, however, is that the variants are more easily transmissible.

This means a greater risk of people becoming infected and overwhelming the health system. As with the original version of COVID-19, the risk of getting severely ill is highest for the elderly and people with underlying health conditions.

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