Germany will shut out all travellers arriving from India apart from its own citizens, Health Minister Jens Spahn said Saturday, as a new variant has made the South Asian country the latest coronavirus hotspot.

“We’re very worried about the new mutation of the virus discovered in India. So as not to endanger our vaccination programme, India travel has to be significantly limited,” Spahn told the Funke newspaper group.

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From Monday, only German citizens will be allowed to enter the country when arriving from India, he added.

As Spahn plans to designate India a “virus variant zone”, travellers will have to be tested before departure for Germany and immediately enter a 14-day quarantine on arrival.

Berlin had already dubbed India a “zone with particularly high risk of infection” with effect from Sunday.

Germany is the latest of several countries to restrict travel from India over the new variant, following Canada, Britain and Kuwait.

On Saturday, India reported a record daily number of deaths from COVID-19, while the government is struggling to provide enough oxygen to overwhelmed hospitals.

A total of almost 190,000 people have died of coronavirus in India according to official figures.