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"We can't talk about openings now": Merkel calls for tougher controls

"We can't talk about openings now": Merkel calls for tougher controls

"We can't talk about openings now": Merkel calls for tougher controls

Chancellor Angela Merkel has issued a blistering warning about the coronavirus situation in Germany, describing it as a “powder keg”. In an internal meeting, she said that a loosening up of the restrictions in mid-February was far from guaranteed, and that in the meantime some restrictions - particularly those on travel - needed to be toughened up. 

“We can’t talk about openings now”

With new mutations of COVID-19 placing Germany on a “powder keg”, Angela Merkel is not in favour of lifting restrictions any time soon. In fact, quite the reverse. “The thing slipped away from us,” the German chancellor has been quoted as saying during an internal meeting between Union politicians. “We can’t talk about openings now… We have to be even stricter, otherwise we’ll be back where we were in 14 days.” 

According to a report in Bild, Merkel was adamant that she wanted to get the seven-day incidence in Germany back under 50 new infections per 100.000 inhabitants. While acknowledging that the vaccine gave the “prospect of an end”, she insisted that this would only work if the number of new cases were kept low enough to keep new virus strains at bay. 

Merkel wants to restrict travel as much as possible

With virus mutations - some of which are believed to be more contagious, if not more deadly - spreading rapidly in other countries, Angela Merkel expressed particular alarm at the number of people still travelling in and out of the country, potentially bringing mutated forms of the virus back with them. 

“At Christmas 50.000 [people] flew to the Canaries and the Maldives every day,” she said. “You can introduce a 15-kilometre exclusion zone, but it is difficult to ban travel around the world.” Her aim, she said, was to “thin out air traffic so that you can no longer get anywhere.” Rather than banning travel outright, she indicated that she will attempt to “make travelling unattractive, uncomfortable, for example through quarantine.”

What are the current rules for travelling to Germany?

On Sunday, new rules came into force in Germany, requiring anyone entering from areas with particularly high incidence rates or areas with virus variants to present a negative coronavirus test result before departure and upon entry. Without a negative test, companies like airlines, buses, trains and ferries are not allowed to transport passengers. 

Passengers from other “risk areas” must be able to prove that they are not infected with coronavirus with a negative test result no later than 48 hours after entry. 

All travellers who have been in a risk area at any point in the 10 days before coming to Germany must submit an electronic entry registration form. The quarantine obligations ordered by the federal states when entering from risk areas continue to apply. Arrivals must go into quarantine for 10 days; this can be ended on the fifth day after arrival, at the earliest, with a negative coronavirus test. 

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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