BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany is considering requiring all people returning from abroad to undergo quarantine and mandatory COVID-19 tests as infection rates rose above the level at which authorities say hospitals will be overcrowded.
The latest proposal is contained in draft plans, seen by Reuters, which will be discussed by nationalists and leaders at a meeting Monday when they will decide on the next round of measures to deal with the pandemic.
At their last meeting earlier this month, leaders agreed on a cautious opening, over objections from Chancellor Angela Merkel, who warned that more infectious variants meant the pandemic would be harder to control. .
According to the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases, the number of cases per 100,000 population over the course of a week stood at 103.9 on Sunday, above the 100 threshold at which intensive care units can no longer hold.
Public outrage over the blockade measures, now in their fourth month, is on the rise, but numbers suggest state prime ministers may be forced to pull the emergency brake they agreed on March 2 by changing the opening of several stores.
The new proposals are aimed at people considering vacationing in places like the Spanish island of Majorca, which are not considered virus-prone areas and therefore do not currently provide a quarantine to return to Germany.
Vacation destinations should be targeted, as we can expect vacationers from many countries to meet at popular holiday destinations, allowing COVID-19 variants to spread easily, according to draft plans.
Earlier, Stephan Weil, Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, told the RND newspaper group that the previous decision by governments to lift the travel warning to Mallorca had been a serious mistake.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Germany has risen from 13,733 to 2,659,516, the Robert Koch Institute said on Sunday. The reported number of deaths increased by 99 to 74,664, the figures showed.
The draft plans would also tighten obligations to companies: those who were unable to offer their employees the opportunity to work from home would have to provide them with two rapid COVID-19 tests each week.
Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Edited by Frances Kerry and Pravin Char
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