German Health Minister Jens Spahn has called on citizens to keep an eye on the pandemic situation in countries they plan on travelling to, particularly in light of the spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus.
“I appeal to all travellers to inform themselves carefully about the incidence of infection, to accept test offers and to take the quarantine obligations seriously,” Spahn told the Thursday edition of the Handelsblatt newspaper.
“This way, the vacation summer does not lead to an autumn of worry.”
Summer vacations are an institution in Germany. The increasing numbers of fully vaccinated people, plus the opening up of countries across Europe, has spurred hopes of untroubled holidays abroad.
Asked whether people could book their holidays without concern of disruption, despite the more transmissible Delta variant, Spahn said: “In principle, yes.”
“But it’s a different story for travel to countries that have already been hit hard by the Delta variant.” In those places, he said, the risk of contracting the virus and bringing it home is significantly higher.
Yet the strain is already taking hold in Europe. The EU’s disease surveillance agency said on Wednesday that Delta, which was first detected in India, would inevitably dominate across Europe.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said that by late August it expected Delta to account for 90 per cent of all new infections in the European Union and the associated countries of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
According to Germany’s Robert Koch Institute of disease control on Wednesday, data suggests that the share of Delta cases had doubled in the country over the previous week to now account for 15.1 per cent of new infections.