Updated on Wednesday, June 17 at 11:30 a.m.
By Sylvia Cunningham, William Glucroft and Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson
People entering Berlin from most countries outside the European Union will have to self-quarantine for 14 days, with one exception, said Andreas Geisel, the city Senator for the Interior: “It is possible to escape from quarantine (earlier) with a negative coronavirus test.”
Geisel said the new quarantine requirement, which was adopted on Tuesday, follows the federal guideline and applies to all people coming to Berlin from “third countries.” Sweden is also on that list for now because of the rising infection rate there.
People arriving from other EU countries, as well as Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein and the United Kingdom, are exempt from the mandatory self-quarantine.
For now, the number of arrivals here from non-EU countries will continue to be limited, because per EU guidelines, Germany extended its restriction on non-essential entries to the country until June 30.
Meanwhile, Geisel also announced yesterday the state wants to take in 300 refugees from overcrowded camps on the Greek islands.
He said, in some instances, 22,000 people are living in a space meant for 3,000.
“We must not only proclaim European values, but also live by them,” Geisel told reporters. He added, despite the ongoing difficulties related to COVID-19, Berlin has the capacity to provide more help.
Geisel said the local government wants to focus on bringing in unaccompanied minors as well as pregnant women and elderly people who are at risk of contracting the coronavirus.
The proposal still needs to be approved by Germany’s federal interior minister.
Nearly 370 households are under quarantine in the Berlin district of Neukölln after at least 70 people there tested positive for COVID-19.
Local officials say hundreds of people are affected and need testing, though most cases have so far been mild.
Neukölln District Mayor Martin Hikel told reporters yesterday some single apartments on that block are home to as many as ten people.
Hikel said some of the large families have lower incomes, meaning they can’t spare more money on rent and living quarters are particularly cramped.
The origin of the outbreak is still not confirmed.
This news was brought to you in collaboration with Berliner Rundfunk.