Germany Is Ending Mask Mandate On Trains And Buses

Germany Is Ending Mask Mandate On Trains And Buses

The German authorities have announced that starting from 02 February 2023, the mask requirement will no longer apply on long-distance trains as well as in buses.

The mask requirement for long-distance travel was one of Germany’s last remaining COVID-19 rules. The mandate had been set to end until 07 April and had already been dropped for travel within some German states. 

The decision of Germany to drop the mandatory mask requirement in long-distance traffic was taken after the authorities concluded that the COVID-19 situation is under control.

The Federal Health Minister of Germany, Karl Lauterbach, said that the number of infection cases has halved compared to the previous month. Moreover, the same stressed that the number of hospital admissions has fallen too, suggesting that there is no longer needed to keep such a measure in place.

“The pandemic situation has stabilised. The incidence is only half as high as a month ago. The wastewater monitoring shows constant or falling values. In addition, the number of hospitalisations and hospital admissions fell. The situation there is tense but manageable”

Minister Karl Lauterbach

German authorities also noted that the population has built a high level of immunity and it has been assumed that there will no longer be a winter wave. Furthermore, it also pointed out that it is not foreseeable that a dangerous variant could occur in the next few weeks.

While the mask requirement no longer remains mandatory in long-distance trains and buses, Minister Lauterbach stressed that anyone who still wants to wear a face mask can do so on a voluntary basis.

“We are going into the endemic situation. But anyone who wants to protect themselves and others is of course still well served by wearing the mask – on the basis of personal responsibility and voluntariness,”

Minister Karl Lauterbach

Travellers From China To Germany

Germany’s decision to do away with mask mandates on public transportation comes amid new concerns about the spread of COVID-19 due to the massive outbreak in China following the abrupt end of that country’s strict “zero COVID” policies, as well as about a new subvariant.

On 07 January, Germany discouraged non-essential trips to China which is struggling with a surge in Covid cases after relaxing strict virus restrictions.

As of  9 January, the People’s Republic of China (excluding the special administrative region of Hong Kong) was classed as an “area of variants of concern in which a variant of concern threatens to emerge”. All arrivals from China need to provide a test result before entry, as well as undergo random testing after entry. 

Several other EU nations including France, Italy, and Spain have already announced Covid test requirements on travellers coming from China.

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