UK passengers on a plane to Germany were told to deboard or face mandatory coronavirus testing and quarantine at the airport when they landed

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  • A pilot on a German-bound flight from the UK told non-German passengers aboard the Sunday flight they needed to get off the plane before it took off or face mandatory COVID-19 testing and a subsequent quarantine when they landed, according to audio published by BILD.
  • The pilot first said passengers would quarantine in hotels at or near the airport, but in a subsequent message, he said passengers would remain at the airport due to a lack of space at hotels.
  • “Passengers without a German passport need to be aware that there are no more hotel rooms available, all hotels reached maximum occupancy in Stuttgart,” the pilot told passengers in audio obtained by BILD, offering them the opportunity to deplane. 
  • A number of European countries, including Germany, have imposed restrictions on travel with the UK over a new, potentially more contagious strain of COVID-19 detected there.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Passengers on at least one flight Sunday departing the UK headed to Germany were told by the plane’s pilot they faced a mandatory test and quarantine upon landing at Stuttgart Airport should they choose to remain on board the aircraft.

In audio obtained by the German publication BILD, which is owned by Insider’s parent company Axel Springer SE, a pilot on a Eurowings flight from London’s Heathrow Airport to Stuttgart Airport in Germany informed passengers of the new requirements.

“I am the captain of this flight,” the pilot says in a message delivered in English over the plane’s intercom system, alerting passengers to an “important announcement” with little room for “discussion.” 

The pilot continued, adding that all passengers with German passports will “go through the police station” as normal but said those who do not carry German passports would be required to undergo testing for COVID-19 immediately upon landing in Germany before they were brought to a hotel at or near Stuttgart Airport to quarantine until receiving their test result.

In a subsequent recording, translated from German into English by Business Insider, the Eurowings pilot updated passengers that hotel space at and near the airport had reached capacity. 

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“German citizens continue to be able to enter the country without any limitations,” he said, noting he received the update within the last minute. “Passengers without a German passport need to be aware that there are no more hotel rooms available, all hotels reached maximum occupancy in Stuttgart.”

He told passengers there would instead be a “designated, separated area in the airport with camp beds” to house passengers while they wait for their test results to return.

A spokesperson for Stuttgart Airport told Business Insider on Sunday evening that the airport “will be testing passengers arriving from London” in “accordance with the authorities.” 

Representatives for the Federal Police at Stuttgart Airport did not immediately return Business Insider’s request for comment on Sunday, nor did representatives for Eurowings. 

In a video obtained by BILD and reviewed by Business Insider, a passenger from the UK arriving at Hannover Airport in Germany was seen providing personal information, such as his address, to someone dressed entirely in PPE.

The audio recording comes amid numerous European countries on Sunday limiting travel with the UK following the discovery of a new, potentially more contagious strain of COVID-19 and a surge of cases. Germany on Sunday afternoon issued a ban on flights from the UK beginning at midnight. 

German Health Minister Jens Spahn announced the travel restrictions Sunday afternoon, adding that the government planned to announce greater travel restrictions on Monday, according to DW.

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