South Africa classified as virus variant area
Germany has classified South Africa as a virus variant area. The reason for this is the discovery of a new variant of the coronavirus in southern Africa with the designation B.1.1529. The classification came into effect at 00:00 a.m. on 28 November. Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe have also been classified as virus variant areas.
14-day quarantine requirement for incoming travellers
As a result, airlines from these countries are only allowed to transport German citizens to Germany. In addition, a 14-day quarantine requirement applies to all travellers arriving in Germany from these countries, including vaccinated persons and children.
Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn said: “We continue to be very cautious about incoming travellers, as we have been in the past. This newly discovered variant is worrying, so we are taking action early on. The last thing we need now is a new variant to arrive and cause even more problems.”
Spahn also called on all those who had arrived in Germany from South Africa within the last few days to take a voluntary PCR test.
What do I need to know when travelling to Germany from a virus variant area?
The following applies to travellers who have been in a high-risk area within a period of ten days prior to travelling to Germany:
- Before entering Germany, all travellers must register electronically using the .
- In addition, a recent negative test result (PCR – maximum 72 hours, or antigen test – maximum 24 hours) is always required upon entry; a certificate of vaccination or recovery is not sufficient in this case. The testing requirement on entry does not apply to those aged under 12.
- Everyone – including those who have recovered or been vaccinated – must observe a strict 14-day quarantine; in view of the particular risk posed by virus variants, there is no option here to present a negative test in order to avoid the quarantine requirement.
For details of the main rules contained in the immigration regulation in force since 1 August 2021, see our FAQ.
Classification of high-risk areas and virus variant areas is the responsibility of the Federal Ministry of Health in agreement with the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community; the rules apply to areas outside the Federal Republic of Germany where a particularly increased risk of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has been identified.