Berlin, Aug 6 (efe-epa).- Covid-19 tests will be mandatory in Germany from Saturday for travelers returning from areas considered high risk, health minister Jens Spahn said Thursday.
The plan to introduce mandatory testing was approved by German authorities several days ago but an implementation date had not been set.
“It is clear that this is a cutback on the freedoms of the individual but it seems to me to be proportionate to the situation and acceptable,” Spahn told the press.
“Freedom also implies responsibility towards others.”
He added that the tests will be free for travelers and rejected proposals that individuals should pay for them because they had decided to visit high-risk areas.
“These proposals are populist,” he said.
The minister said that despite the danger posed by returning travelers, most of the infections in Germany have been locally transmitted.
There has been a rise of fresh Covid-19 cases in the country for several days, which German public health authority the Robert Koch Institute has repeatedly expressed concerns about.
In the last 24 hours, authorities have reported 1,045 new infections, bringing the total number of active cases to around 8,700, according to the RKI.
The RKI has recorded 9,175 deaths and more than 213,000 confirmed cases, of which 195,200 people have recovered.