Coronavirus

Germany limits travellers from France's Moselle region over coronavirus variants

German authorities announced they will carry out checks on the movements of residents into the country from the French region of Moselle where there are high numbers of the variant strains of the coronavirus.
German authorities announced they will carry out checks on the movements of residents into the country from the French region of Moselle where there are high numbers of the variant strains of the coronavirus. AP - Marius Becker

Germany announced on Sunday that travellers from the French region of Moselle - which borders the German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland - will face additional restrictions because of the high rate of variant coronavirus cases there.

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Germany's disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute, said it would add Moselle to the list that includes the Czech Republic, Portugal, Britain and parts of Austria.

Travellers from those areas must produce a recent negative coronavirus test before entering Germany.

Clément Beaune, France’s minister for European affairs, said he was in talks with his German counterparts to try and minimise the effects of the clampdown for around 16,000 inhabitants of Moselle who work in Germany.

“I regret this decision by the Germans because it will mean a number of slowdowns at the borders for the people who work," Beaune told France Inter radio station. "We are doing everything we can to preserve border work.”

Infection rates

The weekly rate of new infections in Moselle, at more than 300 per 100,000 people, is well above the France's national average.

In Germany, where more than 70,000 people have died from the coronavirus since January 2020, the number of cases per week stands at almost 64 per 100,000 inhabitants.

German officials have warned that virus variants such as the one first detected in Britain - known as B.1.1.7 - could spread more easily and fuel the infection rate at a time when Germany is slowly relaxing its lockdown measures.

“There are two trains rushing toward each other,” said Karl Lauterbach, an epidemiologist and lawmaker with the Social Democrats.

He called for Germany to prioritise giving as many people as possible an initial vaccine dose, as some other countries have done, including with the AstraZeneca shot currently reserved for those under 65.

 

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