German health authorities placed the UK on a list of countries with a high omicron risk, and introduced quarantine requirements for all travelers from that country.
Saturday night’s announcement came after an extraordinary meeting between Health Minister Karl Lauterbach and state leaders.
– We can’t prevent it from spreading, just delay it. The longer the omicron takes root in Germany, the better, Lauterbach said after the meeting.
The changes took effect at midnight Monday night and mean that people who have arrived from the UK since then will have to spend two weeks in quarantine. This requirement applies to both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, says the German public health agency Robert Koch-Institut (RKI).
The UK is currently the only European country on the list of German countries at high risk of spreading the omicron variant. Other countries on the list are South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
On Friday, Germany announced that from midnight to Monday, a five-day quarantine requirement would also be imposed for unvaccinated visitors from Norway, Denmark, France, Andorra and Lebanon, as there is a large spread of infection in these countries.