On Tuesday, April 21, Bavarian authorities announced the cancelation of Oktoberfest, scheduled to take place in Munich from Saturday, September 19, until Sunday, October 4, due to concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
As of Friday, April 17, state officials in Saxony have announced that it is compulsory to wear face masks on public transport and within shops to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Elsewhere, German federal authorities are continuing to advise residents to wear face masks in public spaces.
Social-distancing and hygiene ordinances are to remain in place until at least Sunday, May 3. Authorities have stated that schools are scheduled to begin reopening from Monday, May 4. Restaurants, cafés, bars, cinemas, and music venues are expected to remain closed, while religious gatherings and large public events are suspended until Monday, August 31. Grocery stores, pharmacies, petrol stations, banks, post offices, and delivery services are excluded from these measures.
Travelers will continue to be placed under a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival to Germany. Health sector employees living in border regions outside Germany, as well as business travelers or technicians entering the country for a short period, are exempt from the restriction.
A ban on gatherings of more than two people remains in place. German citizens are advised to keep contact with people outside of their household to a minimum and maintain a distance of at least 1.5 m (5 ft), preferably 2 m (6.5 ft), between themselves and others in public.
Controls along Germany's borders with France, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Denmark remain in place. The restrictions do not affect German citizens reentering the country and do not apply to commuters and goods traffic.
As of April 21, there have been 147,065 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Germany, including 4862 associated deaths. Further international spread of COVID-19 is to expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.