Germany has added the United Kingdom to its list of ‘virus variant’ countries, restricting arrivals from the country over the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.  

The new restrictions, which are akin to a being named a ‘red list’ country, took effect at 00:00 local time on December 20, 2021. They mean only German nationals and residents may enter Germany from the UK. The new risk assessment for the UK was announced by Germany’s Robert Koch Institute on December 18, 2021.  

Those travelers who are allowed to enter Germany must provide a negative COVID-19 test before departing for Germany, and undergo a 14-day quarantine at home. The regulations can be found here.  

The restrictions apply even to those travelers who are fully vaccinated. For countries classed as ‘virus variant’ areas, there is no test-to-release option to end home quarantine early.  

Currently, the only other countries listed as ‘virus variant’ areas by Germany are in Africa, where the Omicron variant was first identified.  

The move from Germany comes as other countries introduce new restrictions to grapple with the emergence of the Omicron variant. France has also introduced tougher entry requirements for travelers from Britain.  

The United Kingdom has also introduced more COVID-19 requirements for arrivals, including pre-departure tests and isolation until a PCR test within two days of arrival comes back negative. 

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From December 18, 2021, France will impose tougher entry conditions for British travelers, including a ban on all tourists.
 

The latest wave of travel restrictions represents a blow to the travel industry, which had been showing signs of recovery from the pandemic.   

Airlines and airports in the United Kingdom have warned that the variant will knock demand and have called for financial assistance to get them through the winter. UK airlines have said the Christmas and New Year booking season can account for up to 30% of ticket sales 

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Heathrow Airport (LHR) expects to carry 45 million passengers in 2022, almost half the amount compared to pre-pandemic levels.