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UK now virus variant territory

Because of the spread of the corona variant, which was first discovered in India, the federal government will classify Great Britain as a virus variant area from Sunday. This was announced by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). This drastically restricts entry from the UK to Germany.

As of Sunday, airlines, bus and train companies will only be allowed to transport German citizens or people living in Germany to Germany. A two-week quarantine obligation applies to those entering the country, which cannot be shortened by negative tests.

For France, Croatia and Slovenia, on the other hand, the general quarantine obligation of 5 to 10 days has been lifted due to the sharp decline in the number of infections. The three EU countries, as well as Oman, Mongolia and Andorra, will be downgraded from the high incidence area to the normal risk area on Sunday. Slovakia, Finland, Romania, San Marino and Jamaica as well as individual regions in Spain and Ireland have been completely removed from the list of risk areas.

Eleven countries are considered to be particularly risky

The UK is the first country in Europe to revert to virus variant territory in a while. Only eleven countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America currently fall into this highest risk category. The Indian virus variant B.1.617.2 is considered to be particularly contagious and has contributed significantly to the fact that the number of infections in India has exploded in recent months.

In the UK, more than 3,400 cases of the variant have been confirmed. The focus is on the cities of Blackburn and Bolton in Central England and a West London district. However, there are also individual "clusters" in other areas, said the health authority Public Health England.

According to the Robert Koch Institute, there is not yet sufficient data on the Indian variant. RKI President Lothar Wieler said in Berlin that a significantly higher transferability and probably a slightly reduced vaccination protection are assumed. Health Minister Jens Spahn expressed concern about Britain. The variant identified there should not be allowed to spread in Germany.

Criticism of Prime Minister Johnson said in London that he put India on the "red list" too late

Great Britain has meanwhile been seen as a successful model when it comes to combating the corona pandemic. A hard lockdown and a high rate of vaccination had pushed the infection numbers so far that the federal government temporarily removed the country from the list of corona risk areas. Last week, however, it was again classified in the lowest risk category because of the Indian virus variant and from Sunday - as I said - the highest risk level will apply again to the United Kingdom.

Vaccinations for everyone aged 18 and over

So far, the UK government has been confident of getting the spread under control. The test capacities were significantly increased in the affected areas. In addition, everyone over the age of 18 can be vaccinated there, and mobile vaccination centers are in use. Nationwide, only people aged 34 and over are actually eligible to receive a dose.

A slight increase in corona patients in clinics was recently reported in Bolton and Blackburn. Health Minister Matt Hancock emphasized that the majority had not yet been vaccinated against corona, although those affected were entitled. The vaccinations also protected against the variant from India.

There is criticism of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. It was only after a long delay that he put India on a "red list" for travel. In addition, there were several direct flights from India to Great Britain even after this classification, according to the British media.

haz / wa (dpa, rtr)