Photo: Hollandse Hoogte / AFP
Germany will close its borders from Saturday to people coming from countries where there are many coronavirus mutations. These are Great Britain, Ireland, Portugal, Brazil and South Africa, followed by Lesotho and Eswatini in South Africa on Sunday. They are all burdened with variants more contagious than the original Coronavirus.
The ban on entry from high-risk areas remains in effect until February 17. Only people who live in Germany are allowed to enter the country. Germany fears new misery due to mutations, just as things are kind of going in the right direction in approaching the original coronavirus.
The responsible Interior Minister Horst Seehofer initially wanted to regulate entry bans at the European level, but the government in Berlin is not expecting any steps from Brussels in the short term. In addition, more and more countries are already closing their borders.
France is also closing the borders further. Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Friday after midnight Sunday that unnecessary travel from outside the European Union would no longer be allowed, after high-level consultations on curbing the Coronavirus.
The head of government cited contagious virus mutations in Britain and South Africa as a reason for the travel restrictions. Excluded transport workers and goods at the border. French Minister for European Affairs Clement Boone explained that Switzerland is included in the “European region”, but the United Kingdom is not.
People from European Union countries coming to France by road must show a negative PCR test. This actually applies to passengers on airplanes and boats.
According to Castex, the new lockdown is not yet necessary. “The coming days are crucial. We still have a chance to prevent that.” President Emmanuel Macron described the call for the closure as legitimate, but noted the severe impact of this measure “on all fronts.” The country has been locked down twice before.
Castex said the curfew in France is in effect from 6 pm and there will be additional measures. For example, the police will check for additional compliance. Also, large malls where no food is sold should be closed from Sunday.
In the past 24 hours, nearly 23,000 new infections were diagnosed. The vaccination campaign is slow, in part due to late delivery.