'Austria is acting irresponsibly': Germany considers border closures with neighbour

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 9 Feb, 2021 Updated Tue 9 Feb 2021 11:22 CEST
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The German state of Bavaria is considering closing its southern border, citing Austria’s "irresponsible behaviour".

CSU General Secretary Markus Blume told German media on Tuesday that Bavaria was considering closing its border with Austria due to the latter’s “irresponsible behaviour”. 

Blume cited Austria’s lockdown relaxation on Monday, February 8th as a reason for the drastic measure. 

“What Austria is doing is irresponsible from our point of view,” Blume told the “Frühstart” program on RTL and n-tv.

Blume called for border controls to be intensified, while flagging border closures as a potential solution. 

"We will not allow this wave to spread across the border to us in Germany," said Blume. 

“That is why it is good and important that the border controls are now intensified again.

“Border closure must also be a possibility (as a) last resort”.

Over the weekend, Austria announced it would intensify border checks and controls on its side. 

Travel between the two countries is already heavily restricted. 

From Wednesday, February 10th, entry rules into Austria will be made stricter. 

Arrivals to Austria must now show a negative PCR or negative antigen test, in addition to registration with an online form

Arrivals are also required to quarantine for ten days, although they can leave after five days with a negative test result. 

Unlike under the previous rules, cross-border commuters will also need to register online once a week and they are required to present a negative PCR or antigen test result once a week.

More information is available at the following link.

UPDATE: Austria to tighten coronavirus quarantine 

Criticism in Germany

The loosening of restrictions in Austria has already been met with criticism from Germany, particularly in regions which border the alpine state.

CSU General Secretary Markus Blume told BILD am Sonntag that Austria and the Czech Republic were “endangering” Germany’s successes by easing its coronavirus restrictions despite infections remaining at around 100 per 100,000 people, and the recently recorded British and South African mutations of the virus. 

Blume called for more controls by the federal police at all of Germany’s external borders in his Bild interview, and said if, for example, the Czech Republic and Tyrol had virus mutations, the borders would have to be sealed off. 

He said: "We don't want a second Ischgl effect for all of Europe!"

READ MORE: How Austria's Ischgl ski resort 'mishandled coronavirus outbreak'

NordBayern newspaper reports Bavaria's state premier Markus Söder told the CDU state party conference in Hildesheim, Lower Saxony on Saturday that Austria relaxing its coronavirus rules could be “dangerous”.

Bavaria's Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann told the Münchner Merkur he supported tighter borders with Austria, and said borders between the Czech Republic and Austria should be “very closely” monitored. 

Bavaria currently has strict corona rules in place, according to which shopping tours and skiing in neighbouring countries are prohibited. 

 

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The Local 2021/02/09 11:22

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