Bavarian district on Austrian border goes into lockdown as coronavirus cases spike

Bavarian district on Austrian border goes into lockdown as coronavirus cases spike
The picturesque area is a popular tourist spot. Photo: DPA
A local lockdown is being put in place in the district of Berchtesgadener Land in southern Bavaria from Tuesday afternoon.

Residents in the picturesque area will only be allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons.

Schools and daycare centres (Kitas) will only be open to provide emergency care. Leisure facilities, bars and restaurants will close, and events will not be permitted. Hotels will only be able to accommodate business travellers. The measures will initially be in place for two weeks from Tuesday midday.

It comes after the district recorded 272.8 coronavirus infections per 100,000 residents in seven days on Monday night – the highest value in Germany by a wide margin. There have been 57 new infections since Sunday alone.

READ: More than 100 districts declared risk zones in Germany: What you need to know

The area, which has around 105,900 residents, lies on the border with Austria. Bavarian state premier Markus Söder cited the proximity to the Austrian hotspot Kuchl in Salzburger Land as part of the reason for the outbreak.

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Kuchl implemented a lockdown last week due to rising cases.

'Regain control'

According to Söder, social contact needs to be “fundamentally restricted – as far as events are concerned, as far as contacts to the outside world are concerned”. One must “apply the toughest protocol at the site in order to regain control of the infection situation as quickly as possible”, he said.

Reasonable reasons for Berchtesgadener Land residents to leave their home include to go to work, essential shopping, plus outdoor sports and exercise.

But residents can only do these activities on their own or with members of their own household, said District Administrator Bernhard Kern.

States try to deal with coronavirus spread

The Bavarian government, headed by state premier Söder of the Christian Social Union (CSU), plans to meet to draw up plans on how to get the pandemic under control in the southern state.

More than half of the districts in Bavaria (57) have crossed the mark of 35 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days, while 29 of them are even above the 50 mark.

Söder on Monday called for tougher nationwide rules on wearing masks to clamp down on the Covid-19 resurgence across Germany.

In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt, the governments will also discuss on Tuesday how the new protection measures for regions with a high number of new infections are to be implemented in federal states.

Last week, the federal and state governments agreed on rules to curb the recent sharp increase.

These include, depending on the number of coronavirus cases, an extension of the obligation to wear masks, a limit on the number of guests at private parties and curfews for restaurants. However, federal states can choose how to implement these rules.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Germany's new coronavirus measures for autumn

Meanwhile, in Brandenburg, the ban on overnight accommodation for people from internal coronavirus risk areas will be lifted from Tuesday onwards.

The ban has caused controversy and led to confusion. Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged people in Germany not to travel if they live in a risk area with more than 50 cases per 100,000 residents in the last seven days.

READ MORE: 'Corona chaos' emerges as Germans baffled by conflicting virus rules


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