German government plans to lift travel warning for 31 countries

The German government is planning to lift a travel warning for tourists for 31 European countries from June 15, ending an unprecedented directive against all international travel.

Alongside Germany’s 27 fellow EU member states, the warning will also be lifted for Britain and the four non-EU members of the borderless Schengen zone, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, according to a draft policy proposal seen by dpa.

Berlin’s plans, which are contingent on continuing positive trends in the coronavirus pandemic, could be approved by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet as early as Wednesday.

June 15 is Europe’s “D-Day” when it comes to tourism ahead of the crucial summer season, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio told reporters on Tuesday.

Europe was working towards “a new start” on that date, di Maio told broadcaster Rai, pointing to the German example.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced the current warning on March 17, adapting a measure otherwise reserved for troubled conflict zones and applying it to the entire globe.

A major airlift operation followed, in which the German Foreign Office brought more than 240,000 stranded tourists back to the country.

The German warning against all foreign travel is to be replaced by advice tailored to the risks in individual countries.

The government is pushing for a common EU standard for countries to assess the situation, and could propose using a metric already in place within Germany to track infection levels, whereby a locality must turn to stricter measures if more than 50 new cases of novel coronavirus are reported per 100,000 people over a seven-day period.

The German draft paper says the European Commission should develop a procedure to evaluate protective measures taken.