Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn said Monday the country will make coronavirus tests mandatory for travellers returning from risk areas, to protect citizens from a new surge in infections.

Germany’s public health institute RKI currently considers around 130 nations worldwide to be “risk countries”.

“We must prevent travel returnees from infecting others unnoticed and thus triggering new chains of infection”, Spahn said, adding that the tests will be free of charge for travellers.

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Several federal states had previously spoken out in favour of a mandatory test for returning travellers. The German health inistry said the measures would go into effect next week.

The country has reported more than 206,000 coronavirus infections, but authorities have managed to keep the death toll relatively low with just over 9,200 deaths.

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