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Border control in Saxony
Border controls will be reimposed with areas of the Czech Republic and AustriaImage: Harry Haertel/HärtelPress/imago images

Germany to reinstate some border controls

February 12, 2021

Germany is preparing temporary entry bans and border controls with areas of the Czech Republic and Austria's Tyrol. Germany has classified them as virus "mutation areas."

https://p.dw.com/p/3pGts

Germany will impose strict border controls and impose travel bans for the Czech Republic and Austria, it announced Thursday.

The announcement came after the South African B.1.351 coronavirus variant was found to be prevalent in Austria's Tyrol region and the British B.1.1.7 variant was found circulating in the Czech Republic. This prompted German authorities to declare the border regions virus mutation areas.

German interior minister Horst Seehofer said that checkpoints would be established on the border, but that commercial travel would not be disrupted. Returning Germans and essential workers such as doctors will also be exempted.

"That has been agreed with the German chancellor and the vice- chancellor." Seehofer told German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

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Austria has ordered tough restrictions in the mountainous Tyrol region, asking people not to leave the area. 

Residents have to show a negative coronavirus test if they wish to leave. Anyone violating the law could be fined up to €1,450 ($1,750). But the state premier of Germany's Bavaria, which borders Tyrol, complained that the region "is not taking the development seriously."

Tyrol has been blamed in the past for allowing the virus spread, due to people skiing in the area without following social distancing measures. 

Germany's Saxony state, which borders Czech Republic, announced tougher checks from Saturday.The Czech government has said that it is also imposing strict measures in hard-hit districts. People will not be allowed to leave or enter these zones.

International travel is already banned in Germany from countries hardest hit by the new more-contagious coronavirus variants. The number of new daily cases has declined in Germany. But there are fears that the cases could rise as a result of travel in the high-infection border regions. 

Germany has extended lockdown measures to March 7. 

bj/aw (AFP, Reuters)

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