Germany says Turkey among COVID-19 risk areas, quarantining necessary

Germany listed Turkey as a country of increased risk for infection from COVID-19, maintaining a travel warning in place since the outbreak of the global pandemic.

People should expect to self-quarantine should they have visited Turkey within a 14-day period before entering Germany, the Robert Koch Institute, the German government agency responsible for disease control and prevention, said on Tuesday.

Turkey, which is seeking to attract German and other European tourists back to the country, was included among a latest list of scores of non-European Union countries subject to the rules, according to the institute.

The Turkish government has been pressuring Germany to provide an exemption from travel warnings imposed since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. During a phone call earlier this week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu called on his German counterpart Heiko Maas to send health officials to Turkey to inspect hotels and other facilities.

Turkey’s tourism industry is now at a disadvantage compared with competitors in Europe in terms of attracting bookings. Germany was among EU nations lifting travel restrictions on European countries on June 15. Germany now allows its citizens to travel to the popular tourist destinations of Italy, France and Greece without the need to quarantine.

“The federal government is continuously examining the extent to which areas are classified as risk areas,” the Robert Koch Institute said. “Therefore, there may also be short-term changes, especially an expansion of this list.

Millions of German citizens of Turkish origin live in Germany. Almost 5 million people visited Turkey from Germany last year, ranking the country second after Russia for the number of tourists. Turkey is seeking to kickstart its tourism industry, which provided a record $34.9 billion in foreign currency revenue last year, to help reverse a severe economic downturn and bolster the value of the lira.

The lira slumped to a record low of 7.269 per dollar in early May.