Germany closes border with parts of Austria, Czech Republic
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on Thursday that Germany would ban disturbing travel from the Czech border areas as well as Tyrol in Austria to infections with more infectious coronovirus variants.Seehofer told Suddutsche daily, "The states of Bavaria and Saxony today asked the government to classify the border areas of Tyrol and the Czech Republic as virus mutation zones and implement border controls.
He said that it was agreed with the German (German) chancellor and the chancellor.The Interior Ministry said on Twitter that the outposts would be kept, although some exceptions were expected to maintain commercial links.In late January, Germany classified most travelers from the countries as so-called mutation regions or hit hardest with newer, more infectious coronovirus variants.
Only a few exceptions are allowed from these countries to Germany, including essential employees such as Germans and doctors.Europe's largest economy has halved its daily transition rate for more than two months after closing most shops, schools and restaurants.But there are growing fears that positive trends may lead to compromises by travelers from border areas who are reporting sky-high rates.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's government is particularly concerned with the spread of the South African version in Tyrol and the British version in the Czech Republic.Extending a partial shutdown in March, Merkel warned late on Wednesday that "experts say that mutated viruses could get the upper hand over current viruses, the time between now and mid-March is in existence".
He called Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on Wednesday to express concern over Tyrol's situation.Austria has already ordered a ban on people leaving the mountainous Tyrol region, which Kuraj says has been hit by the largest outbreak in Europe of the South African version.
Anyone leaving the area will now have to show a negative coronavirus test, which can result in fines of up to 1,450 euros (US $ 1,750) for those who fail to comply.But Bavarian head of state Marcus Soeder, whose territory is Tyrol, said he feared the "second Ischgal" referring to the Austrian ski area, which became a coronovirus superspreader hotdot early in the epidemic.
Tyrol is "not taking development seriously," he said.Meanwhile, the state of Saxony, next to the Czech Republic, said it had been imposing stringent checks since Saturday to also affect workers across the border.
Only workers in required areas - such as doctors or workers in elderly care homes - will be allowed to travel.But they must commit to conducting virus tests daily and traveling only between their homes and workplaces.
The Czech government meanwhile said on Thursday that it would close three hard-hit districts, including two on the German border, preventing people living in these areas from leaving and others from entering.The Czech's public health officials want the measure to remain in force for three weeks, although exceptions are likely.