German Health Minister Says Additional Travel Restrictions Are Not Necessary

There will be no renewed tightening of border controls within the European Union, amid increasing concerns over the spread of the Omicron variant that has recently affected many European countries, Germany’s Acting Health Minister Jens Spahn has stressed.

Since COVID-19’s new variant started to affect other countries, some governments introduced travel bans and entry restrictions, such as those imposed on arrivals from Southern African countries. However, when it comes to intra-European restrictions, Spahn stressed that “I don’t see that today. I don’t see the need for that either,” as reported by the Germany Eye, reports.

He said that it is a matter of distinguishing between persons who have completed their immunization process and non-vaccinated persons in many life areas.

“This has nothing to do with vaccination bullying,” Spahn pointed out in this regard.

He stressed that the excessive number of persons who have not been vaccinated against the virus could overload health care services in the EU countries.

At present, the entry regulations applied in the EU Member States already differentiate between persons who have been immunized against the virus and those who are not, as the last ones are subject to stricter entry requirements when planning to travel to other countries.

Persons who have not completed their immunization process are subject to restrictions when travelling to other territories if they do not follow entry requirements such as testing or quarantine rules.

The rapid spread of the Omicron variant led authorities in the European Union countries to impose stricter preventive measures as a response to the current epidemiological situation.

Previously, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, called on the EU Member States to temporarily halt travel to and from territories that have recently been affected by the COVID-19 new variant.

Following the recommendation of the EU Commission, Denmark urged all persons not to travel to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, as these territories have been affected by the Omicron variant.

In addition, other European countries such as Slovenia and Hungary imposed quarantine requirements for all persons travelling from Omicron affected territories.

Previously reported that other European countries such as France, Lithuania, and the Czech Republic restricted the entry for arrivals from seven Southern African countries due to the epidemiological situation in them.

However, the governments’ decision to impose such bans in an effort to stop the further spread of the virus has not been welcomed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The organization recently called on the governments to keep their borders open, despite the increasing number of infections related to the Omicron variant.

WHO’s recommendation was also backed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The association called on the countries’ authorities to find alternative ways in order to stop the spread of the virus instead of imposing bans and other restrictions.

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