Today, Germany’s outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the cabinet, becoming the first foreign leader to do so since former US Bill Clinton in 1997.
Her meeting came following talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, where it is believed that they discussed potential travel restrictions being placed on vaccinated UK citizens, and further collaboration between the two countries following Brexit.
Speaking at a press conference following the meeting, Angela Merkel said that she hoped ‘double-jabbed’ people should be able to travel from the UK to Germany without quarantining “in the foreseeable future”.
“But as you know we are reviewing continuously our travel restrictions and we think that in the foreseeable future those who have received double jabs will then, according to our classification – and now Britain obviously is a high incidence area – will be able to travel again without having to go into quarantine.”
Merkel’s statements indicate a significant change in stance from previous days, with many EU leaders speculating that double vaccinated travellers from the UK may still be banned from entering the EU if their vaccine was an Indian-made AstraZeneca vaccine – accounting for a large portion of the total vaccinated Britons.
Reports suggested that the European Union’s passport scheme does not recognise doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in India known as Covishield. However, the prime minister said during the press conference he was “very confident” that there “will not prove to be a problem” for travellers who have received the Covishield vaccine.
She had also lead calls last week for tighter restrictions against UK travellers following the rise in Delta variant cases. She had also expressed her concern at the number of fans attending the UEFA Euro 2020 matches at Wembley Stadium, with the capacity increased to 60,000 – roughly two-thirds of the stadium’s total capacity.
Since the spring, travel to Germany from the UK has been largely banned, except for limited exceptions, and even then travellers must quarantine for 14 days; this is a marked difference from the UKs approach to travel restrictions, which are believed to be the main reason behind the significant growth in delta variant cases in recent months.
Johnson said sporting events were being opened up in a “very careful and controlled manner” and that vaccinations had built up a “very considerable wall of immunity” in the UK, despite the significant increase in delta variant cases in recent weeks.
He is expected to announce the latest steps towards ending lockdown in England in the next few days, following the initial delay until 19th July of the ‘freedom day’ restrictions being lifted.
On Friday, the UK recorded 27,125 new Covid cases and a further 27 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
The two leaders met at Chequers, the prime minister’s country residence, with trade and post-Brexit relations also on the table.
Merkel also met The Queen at Windsor Castle, in what is one of her final foreign trips as the German Chancellor. She is set to leave her post in the Autumn, stepping down after sixteen years as chancellor.