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Germany drops South Africa from ‘Covid variant area’ list as Delta becomes prevalent in both countries

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German authorities have removed South Africa from the country’s ‘virus variant’ list, as the extra-contagious Delta strain dominates other Covid-19 variants. The change paves the way for the easing of strict travel restrictions.

South Africa, as well as eight other African nations, will no longer be on Germany’s ‘virus variant’ watch list, a spokeswoman for the county’s Ministry of Health told local media on Friday. The change is set to take effect on Sunday.

The change comes after the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is also prevalent in Germany, became dominant in some African counties. The extra-contagious strain wrestled out the Beta variant (commonly referred to as ‘South African’).

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The countries listed will now be put on Germany’s ‘high risk’ list. The Robert Koch Institute, the government agency responsible for disease control and prevention, is expected to further elaborate on the change shortly.

South Africa had remained on the German ‘virus variant’ list for months. Countries under that designation are subject to some of the strictest travel restrictions. Currently, only German citizens and those holding a permanent residency permit are able to travel to Germany from such areas.

With the upcoming downgrade, such rules will no longer apply, making it possible for other individuals to travel to Germany. To enter the country, the travelers will have to produce a proof of vaccination or a negative test result.

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“Those who have not been vaccinated or recovered [from coronavirus] will have to remain in quarantine for ten days only, which can be shortened to five days with a test,” the spokeswoman added.

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