SHARE
COPY LINK

BORDERS

Travel: Germany announces tougher checks at all land borders

Germany will step up random controls along its land borders to check that travellers arriving in the country are carrying a negative Covid-19 test, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Tuesday.

Travel: Germany announces tougher checks at all land borders
A car is inspected at the Czech-German border on February 20th. Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said he has asked Germany’s federal police  to “intensify” the checks for the next “eight to 14 days”.

“Regardless where you’re arriving from, from Poland, France, or Denmark, everyone should expect to be checked, especially with regard to producing a negative test,” Seehofer told reporters.

The checks would occur in a 30-kilometre zone on German territory after vehicles have already crossed from neighbouring nations, Seehofer said, meaning nobody will be sent back if they don’t comply.

But police can impose fines on anyone who fails to show a negative test or did not complete an online registration form before entry.

Anyone coming from a “high-risk” area such as France must also quarantine upon arrival.

READ ALSO: Germany requires negative Covid test for travellers from France

The only systematic border checks, where each car is stopped and can be denied entry, are taking place at Germany’s frontier with the hard-hit Czech Republic.

Seehofer announced that the strict checks would be extended for another 14 days given the Czech Republic’s high infection rate and the prevalence of virus variants.

But Germany will no longer systematically stop each vehicle coming from Austria’s Tyrol region, he added, saying the pandemic situation in Tyrol “has significantly improved”.

Also from Tuesday, anyone arriving in Germany by plane must show a negative test before boarding, regardless of whether they are coming from a risk area or not.

The tougher measures come as Germany struggles to slow a rise in coronavirus infections, fuelled by new, more contagious virus strains with experts warning that the vaccination pace remains too slow to break a third wave of the pandemic.

Government officials have repeatedly urged Germans to stay home over the  Easter break and expressed concerns over Germans holidaying in the Spanish island of Mallorca.

READ ALSO: ‘Not an invitation to go there’: Germany urges against Mallorca holiday following lifting of travel warning

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

COVID-19 RULES

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

German health ministers say that tougher Covid restrictions should come back into force if a serious wave emerges in autumn.

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

Following a video meeting on Monday, the health ministers of Germany’s 16 states said tougher restrictions should be imposed again if they are needed. 

“The corona pandemic is not over yet – we must not be deceived by the current declining incidences,” said Saxony-Anhalt’s health minister Petra Grimm-Benne, of the Social Democrats, who currently chairs the Conference of Health Ministers (GMK).

According to the GMK, new virus variants are expected to appear in autumn and winter. Over the weekend, federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) also warned that the more dangerous Delta variant could return to Germany. “That is why the federal Ministry of Health should draw up a master plan to combat the corona pandemic as soon as possible and coordinate it with the states,” Grimm-Benne said.

Preparations should also include an amendment of the Infection Protection Act, ministers urged. They want to see the states given powers to react to the infection situation in autumn and winter. They called on the government to initiate the legislative process in a timely manner, and get the states actively involved.

The current Infection Protection Act expires on September 23rd this year. Germany has loosened much of its Covid restrictions in the last months, however, face masks are still compulsory on public transport as well as on planes. 

READ ALSO: Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

The health ministers said that from autumn onwards, it should be possible for states to make masks compulsory indoors if the regional infection situation calls for it. Previously, wearing a Covid mask was obligatory in Germany when shopping and in restaurants and bars when not sitting at a table. 

Furthermore, the so-called 3G rule for accessing some venues and facilities – where people have to present proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test – should be implemented again if needed, as well as other infection protection rules, the ministers said. 

Bavaria’s health minister Klaus Holetschek, of the CSU, welcomed the ministers’ unanimous call for a revision of the Infection Protection Act. “The states must be able to take all necessary infection protection measures quickly, effectively, and with legal certainty,” he said.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s health minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) warned that no one should “lull themselves into a false sense of security”.

“We must now prepare for the colder season and use the time to be able to answer important questions about the immunity of the population or the mechanisms of infection chains,” he said.

On Tuesday, Germany reported 86,253 Covid infections within the latest 24 hour period, as well as 215 Covid-related deaths. The 7-day incidence stood at 437.6 infections per 100,000 people. However, experts believe there could be twice as many infections because lots of cases go unreported. 

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the Covid pandemic in Germany right now

SHOW COMMENTS