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Germany Launches Massive Effort to Repatriate Stranded Tourists


German tourists stranded around the world will be repatriated thanks to a massive effort launched amid the spreading coronavirus pandemic.

Berlin has set aside 50 million euros (~$54,880,000) for the emergency program, as the European Union mulls a total travel ban for the majority of the continent.

“German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas described the procedure as a ‘Luftbrücke’ invoking memories of the extraordinary Berlin airlift program that flew supplies into a cut-off West Berlin during the Cold War,” Deustche Welle reports.

The state-run news agency reports elements of the plan as follows:

  • There was a particular urgency in Morocco, where between 4,000 and 5,000 Germans are stranded.
  • General rules for returnees would apply, and did not suggest there would be a general quarantine.
  • Tourists should remain patient as “we won’t be able to offer a 24 hour-solution in every case.”

Additionally, Germans on holiday in Egypt, Maldives, Philippines, and Dominican Republic are being prioritized for return.

“We must prevent other German travelers from getting stranded abroad,” said Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

“For this reason, we decided from now to warn against all tourist travel.”

#Reisewarnung: Wir haben uns entschlossen, ab jetzt vor allen nicht notwendigen, touristischen Reisen in das Ausland zu warnen. Daher die dringende Bitte: Bleiben Sie zu Hause. Sie helfen damit sich und anderen! Diese Reisewarnung für touristische Reisen gilt weltweit. #COVID19

— Heiko Maas ?? (@HeikoMaas) March 17, 2020

“Travel warning: From now on we have decided to warn against all unnecessary tourist trips abroad,” Maas tweeted on Tuesday.

“Hence the urgent request: stay at home. You are helping yourself and others! This travel warning for tourist trips applies worldwide.”

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(PHOTO: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

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