New coronavirus variant: passengers from London stopped at German airports

AUs concern about a new and more contagious variant of the corona virus, the federal government, like many other European countries, has imposed a ban on flights from Great Britain to Germany. The flight ban has been in effect since midnight. 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 an intensive exchange at all levels, including with our European colleagues,” said the CDU politician on the ARD program “Report from Berlin”.

For air passengers from London this had drastic consequences at several German airports on Sunday evening:

The Hanover region stopped entry for 63 passengers on a flight from London. Until the corona test result is available, the passengers would have to stay on the airport premises, said a region spokeswoman on Sunday evening. One of the passengers eventually tested positive. Further laboratory tests should now clarify whether the passenger was infected with the new variant of the corona virus, the Hanover region announced. The affected passenger and accompanying persons would now be brought to their destination in a quarantine transport. There they would have to be “separated”.

Hanover Airport: Rescue workers and buses are ready to receive passengers from Great Britain

Source: dpa / Moritz Frankenberg

According to information from Hanover Airport, camp beds were set up in Terminal D, and passengers are also fed there. A spokesman for the federal police said a woman wanted to fly back to London, in another case this still needs to be clarified. All others would have to undergo the so-called PCR test. “Great sense” prevails, the travelers showed “a lot of understanding for the measures,” emphasized the spokesman. Nevertheless, it will take some time before the test results are available.

Compared to WELT NACHRICHTENSENDER, some passengers who were stuck in Hanover described the situation significantly differently. “The police locked us up here. Children scream, the people are desperate, ”one passenger describes the tense situation.

Stranded at the airport – “The police locked us up here”

Since midnight, there has been a flight ban on machines from Great Britain to Germany – out of concern about the new Corona mutation, which is said to be more contagious. Passengers arriving from Great Britain sometimes had to spend the night at airports.

Late on Sunday evening, the health department was still busy with the tests. “Our goal is to prevent the new type of virus from moving unnoticed to Lower Saxony,” said Andreas Kranz, head of the public health department in the Hanover region.

Germany largely stops flights from Great Britain, landings from the country have been prohibited since midnight, according to an order from the Federal Ministry of Transport. Accordingly, pure cargo flights are excluded. According to British authorities, the virus mutation is up to 70 percent more contagious than the previously known form and is spreading rapidly, especially in London and south-east England. In order to contain the virus, there is a shutdown with curfews in London and large parts of south-east England, including over the Christmas period. More than 16 million people are affected. Other European countries are also preparing for the virus variant with flight bans and border closings.

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Corona in the UK

In the event of a negative test result, the passengers are allowed to go to their destination and have to go to a ten-day quarantine there, as the Hanover region announced. After five days and another negative test result, the quarantine could be ended prematurely. If the test result is positive and it is certain that it is the known form of the virus, the usual quarantine requirement applies.

However, if there is uncertainty as to whether it is a mutated virus form in the event of a positive test result, the patient will be separated in a special quarantine hotel, announced Kranz. The health department worked at the airport together with the Red Cross, the technical relief organization and the federal police.

Corona tests for passengers from Great Britain at Stuttgart Airport

The security precautions at Stuttgart Airport have also been increased. Travelers from a plane from London that arrived on Sunday evening were brought in small groups to the airport’s corona test center and tested there, a spokesman confirmed. Then – if the result was negative – they were allowed to pick up their luggage and drive home, but would have to go into quarantine there. It is not known how many passengers there were.

Upon request, the Federal Police generally announced that those arriving in Germany on Sunday would be offered a corona test and that they would be informed of the known quarantine regulations of the federal states.

“We know about the resulting inconvenience for travelers, especially now in the Christmas traffic,” it said. “All partners are working flat out to ensure safe entry, but at the same time not to stress the passengers excessively.”

Berlin: tests for foreign passengers

The Berlin correspondent for the English weekly “The Economist”, Tom Nuttall, had apparently also landed on board a plane from Great Britain in Berlin and reported something similar.

Nuttall wrote on twitterthat German passengers were allowed to enter the Berlin airport on Sunday evening, but foreign passengers first had to wait at the airport and wait for a corona test.

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The police had told the foreign passengers that they were being tested: Anyone who had a negative result would not be sent back. Passengers with a residential address in Berlin, including Nuttall, were allowed to leave the airport after some delay.

NRW: compulsory testing and retroactive quarantine for travelers

North Rhine-Westphalia put the quarantine regulations for Great Britain and South Africa back into force. The quarantine obligation for travelers from the two countries even applies retrospectively from December 11th, as can be seen from the new travel protection ordinance, which was published on Sunday evening and thus became effective. Accordingly, all travelers from Great Britain and South Africa are also obliged to take a corona test, which they have to repeat after five days.

As NRW Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) said in a broadcast on “BILD.de” in the evening, all those arriving from Great Britain were offered a test at the respective airport on Sunday evening. No machines from South Africa landed in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) said with regard to the regulation on Sunday evening in the “Current Hour” on WDR television: “You know, it has been repealed for all states by the Higher Administrative Court in North Rhine-Westphalia. We will put it back into force from midnight – especially for South Africa and Great Britain. ”In fact, the regulation was published a little later and was therefore effective – before midnight. It is initially valid until January 17th.

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The passengers who arrived at Cologne, Düsseldorf and Dortmund airports with machines from Manchester and London on Sunday were made aware of the obligation to quarantine, according to Laschet.

“The Federal Police urgently advised all 144 people who were on this aircraft to have a test on the flight from Manchester, which landed in Cologne after 5 p.m. – and a quarantine order was issued for these passengers individually,” said Laschet . The same thing happens at Düsseldorf Airport and Dortmund Airport. “And from midnight the flight ban will also apply to NRW.”

The head of government continues: “What comes naturally into the country are trucks that bring goods or people who arrive by car. The quarantine regulation also applies here from midnight. “

The Higher Administrative Court in Münster had overturned the quarantine obligation for foreigners returning from risk areas regulated in the Corona entry regulation of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. According to the court, the country had not taken into account that travelers are exposed to a higher risk of infection when they return from countries with fewer infections than at their place of residence after returning home.

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The regulation stipulated that returnees from foreign risk areas must go to quarantine at home after entering North Rhine-Westphalia and not receive visits from other households for ten days. According to the new regulation, which provides for a mandatory test after five days, the quarantine is then ended if the result is negative.

Laschet had called for an entry ban for travelers from Great Britain on Sunday. The Union politician wrote on Twitter that Belgium and the Netherlands had already stopped air and train traffic. “In order to prevent alternative trips via Ddorf, Cologne or F / M, we need a quick entry ban, preferably European,” says Laschet. The mutation of the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus discovered in the south-east of England is said to be significantly more contagious.

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