Germany declares Turkey high-incidence area for COVID-19

Declaring Turkey a high-incidence area for COVID-19 transmissions, Germany has warned its citizens to not travel to Turkey for non-essential trips, journalist Elmas Topçu said on Friday.

The call will be in force starting Sunday, April 11, and has been made because the rate of infections rose to above 200 per 100,000 people.

German residents will have to sign up in a digital registry before they travel to Turkey, and be required to present a negative PCR test to be allowed back into Germany. Upon their return, they will be quarantined for 10 days.

The decision comes weeks before the tourism season opens in Turkey. In 2019, Turkey’s tourism revenue pushed $34.5 million, with a total of 45 million foreign visitors coming in. Five million of those tourists were from Germany, putting the country second after Russia for tourists.

Strict travel restrictions remained in place for most of the summer in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, slashing tourism revenue drastically. The current call may have a similar effect.

“Ten days of mandatory quarantine despite a negative test for travelling to Turkey from Germany means loss of work and income,” Topçu said. “Employers can ask why workers visited an area declared high-risk by the government.”

Topçu said a German court recently rejected a claim for compensation by a victim on similar grounds for having travelled to Turkey.

A year into the pandemic, Turkey has seen a sharp uptick in infection rates since March 1, when the country embarked on a process of gradual normalisation with daily cases just below 10,000.

On Friday, the Turkish Health Ministry announced 55,791 new cases of COVID-19, and 253 new deaths. Turkey has lost a total of 33,454 people since March 17 last year, when the first death was officially recorded.

Friday’s figures were the highest ever seen in Turkey, and the country has maintained its lead in Europe since last week for the highest number of daily infections. Turkey

Main opposition deputy Gürsel Tekin said 102 deaths due to infectious disease were registered in the last 24 hours in Istanbul alone.