Berlin Concerned about a new and more contagious variant of the coronavirus, the federal government, like many other European countries, has imposed a ban on flights from Great Britain to Germany. The flight ban applies from midnight, as the Federal Ministry of Transport announced on Sunday.
Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn said the mutated variant had not yet been detected in Germany. But you take the reports from Great Britain very seriously. “We are in intensive exchange at all levels, including with our European colleagues,” said the CDU politician in the ARD program “Report from Berlin”.
The British government announced on Saturday that the number of corona infections had recently risen sharply due to a mutation in the virus. This should be up to 70 percent more contagious than the previous variant. Spahn explained that the mutation of viruses is not unusual. But a much faster transferability of the virus would change a lot. “That is why it is important to prevent the entry into Germany, on continental Europe.”
The government will therefore issue a regulation on Monday to restrict all entries from Great Britain and South Africa. A mutated variant of the virus had also appeared in the South African country.
The Department of Transportation said the ban also applies to Northern Ireland. Exceptions are mail, cargo or empty flights and “flights with medical personnel in the interest of public health”. An exception also applies to flights for the return of machines that are stationed in Germany “and their crews from the United Kingdom”. One invokes an EU regulation and thus the regulation could apply from midnight until December 31st.
Several countries impose similar bans
In government circles it was said that solutions would be found for the return of German citizens. First of all, however, the priority is to prevent the virus from spreading.
The Chancellery had previously not wanted to comment on a “Bild” report, according to which Chancellor Angela Merkel wanted to call French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday to initiate a Europe-wide action. According to this, sea routes as well as car and rail traffic are to be stopped .
It is certain that the EU should decide at the beginning of the week on the complete cessation of passenger traffic between the European mainland and the United Kingdom, reported “Bild”. The German EU representation in Brussels announced that the EU would hold an emergency meeting with the member states on Monday morning to discuss the new situation.
Italy, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and, according to a media report, France have already announced or are planning to ban flights or trains to and from Great Britain.
Politicians and health experts for flight ban
NRW Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) tweeted that a “quick entry ban is needed, preferably European”. This is important in order to prevent “alternative trips” by European neighbors, for example from the Benelux countries, via the German airports in Düsseldorf, Cologne or Frankfurt am Main. Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) also advocated temporarily suspending entry from Great Britain and South Africa: “Our European partners are doing the same. Safety now comes first. ”
The virologist Alexander Kekulé called for the flights to be stopped immediately. It was clear that the mutation of the virus that appeared in Great Britain was much more contagious, he told “MDR Aktuell”. “In London, for example, slightly more than half of all new infections can be traced back to this new variant.”
Spahn confirmed that the first vaccinations will soon be available. When asked whether there were not enough vaccine doses, the minister said: The vaccine was scarce for everyone at the beginning. He wanted to make more doses possible. You are just trying – “with Biontech for example – that there will still be an additional production facility here in Germany ”.
More: All developments on the pandemic can be found in the Corona news blog.