Chancellor Angela Merkel warned earlier Thursday that aggressive mutations will gain the upper hand in the country sooner or later, threatening to destroy progress made in containing the pandemic. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)(AP)
Chancellor Angela Merkel warned earlier Thursday that aggressive mutations will gain the upper hand in the country sooner or later, threatening to destroy progress made in containing the pandemic. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)(AP)

Germany to restrict travel with neighbours over virus mutations

  • Germany is on high alert for fast-spreading strains as it seeks to gradually reopen Europe’s largest economy. Chancellor Angela Merkel warned earlier Thursday that aggressive mutations will gain the upper hand in the country sooner or later, threatening to destroy progress made.
Bloomberg |
PUBLISHED ON FEB 11, 2021 07:54 PM IST

Germany plans to impose restrictions on travel from Austria and the Czech Republic over concerns about aggressive mutations of the coronavirus, potentially disrupting cross-country commuters and commerce.

The German states of Bavaria and Saxony have asked the federal government to establish border controls with the neighboring countries, Bavarian Premier Markus Soeder said on Thursday.

“We think it is necessary that both will be declared mutation areas,” Soeder told reporters in Munich. “This will probably happen.”

A meeting is set to be held this afternoon to discuss the move, according to the Bild newspaper. Germany’s interior ministry wasn’t immediately available to comment.

Germany is on high alert for fast-spreading strains as it seeks to gradually reopen Europe’s largest economy. Chancellor Angela Merkel warned earlier Thursday that aggressive mutations will gain the upper hand in the country sooner or later, threatening to destroy progress made in containing the pandemic.

Under pressure from state leaders, the German leader agreed late Wednesday to loosen some virus restrictions and open a pathway to a return to some semblance of normality after months of stringent curbs.

Germany restricts travel from countries with high rates of virus mutations. The list currently includes the UK, Ireland, Brazil and South Africa, according to the RKI public-health institute. If Austria and Czech Republic are added, people coming to Germany would need a negative test before traveling.

“You can only enter with a negative test,” said Soeder. “There will be no exceptions.”

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