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Denmark restricts its border with Germany

February 19, 2021

Border closures have crept back in, this time in northern Germany, amid concerns over new COVID-19 variants. Denmark said it was responding to a cluster in Flensburg near the border.

A sign on the Danish-German border that reads: Stop / Kontrol
Some 13 crossings will be fully closed as a temporary measure, while nine others will be placed under tighter restrictionsImage: picture-alliance/dpa/C. Rehder

Denmark has partially and temporarily closed its border with Germany to stop the spread of coronavirus cases, a Danish minister announced on Friday.

The closures, introduced Friday night, follow a cluster outbreak in the German town of Flensburg that sits close to the border with the Scandinavian country.

"Therefore we are now introducing considerably more intense border checks and closing a number of smaller border crossings along the Danish-German border," Danish Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup said in a statement on the ministry's website.

Infographic showing the location of Flensburg near the German-Danish border
The German-Danish border is the most recent to be hit by closures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 variants

Why is Denmark closing its border?

Some 13 crossings will be fully closed as a temporary measure, while nine others will be placed under tighter security restrictions.

The aggregated infection rate in Flensburg was recorded at 193 per 100,000 people over the last seven days, with 50% of cases now involving mutations, according to the Reuters news agency.

Flensburg Mayor Simone Lange confirmed on Friday that authorities had detected 80 cases of people infected with the COVID-19 variant first discovered in the UK.

The town's residents have been placed under a nightly curfew as a result, starting from Saturday and set to be in place for a week. All private gatherings have been banned.

What measures is Germany taking against outbreaks?

Germany and Denmark are both under lockdown restrictions, but Danish schools reopened last week as new cases declined.

Non-essential shops, bars and restaurants, cultural venues, secondary schools, colleges and universities remain closed in both countries.

Germany does not have a nationwide curfew in place, but local authorities may enforce curfews locally if they discover cluster outbreaks.

Much of the border between Germany and the Czech Republic as well as Austria was closed on February 14 after German authorities classed regions of its neighboring countries as COVID-19 hot spots with high numbers of cases from the more contagious mutations of the virus. This step prompted criticism of Berlin, not least for acting without giving advance warning.

ab/msh (Reuters, AFP)

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