Germany steps up restrictions for EU countries amid COVID-19 surge
Germany has increased border restrictions amid a new spike in coronavirus cases in the country.
Travellers to Germany from risk areas must undergo tests upon arrival in Germany or face fines. Latin America and the Caribbean is now the hardest-hit region by COVID-19 deaths. Catch up with the latest on the pandemic.
From Friday, people coming from the Bulgarian regions of Blagoevgrad, Dobritch, and Varna, as well as travellers from Romania’s Argeș, Bihor, Buzău, Neamt, Ialomita, Mehedinti and Timis regions, and Australia’s Victoria state, will need to undergo quarantine or present a negative test upon arrival.
The measure follows equal restrictions announced from August 5 for travellers coming from the Belgian town of Antwerp, which accounts for around 70% of the country’s COVID-19 cases. Spanish residents from Catalonia, Navarra and Aragon were told to quarantine from July 31.
At the moment there are several dozens of countries to which this measure applies – mostly non-European – including the US.
This list is made of countries or areas which Germany’s disease control centre, the Robert Koch Insitute (RKI), considers as “high-risk”.
The RKI classifies a country or an area as “high-risk” when there are more than 50 new infections per 100,000 people over the last period of seven days.
rench Health Ministry chief Jerome Salomon issued a warning Friday about a clear uptick in COVID-19 cases. “The virus continues to circulate very actively worldwide. There is an upward trend in France and Europe,” Salomon told a news conference.
Germany has offered to pay the coronavirus test for people entering the country from high-risk regions for the first three days of their arrival.
The country has recently battled to contain local outbreaks in various regions, and it recorded more than 1,000 new infections nationwide for the third day running on Saturday.
Populous states in Germany such as Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia have seen a rise in local clusters of infection, raising question marks about the staggered reopening of schools in Germany’s 16 federal states.
Hamburg schools welcomed back students on Thursday, while Berlin and Brandenburg are set to follow on Monday.
Hundreds of children were sent home from two schools in a regional outbreak in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania after just four days of lessons. The state, on Germany’s northeastern Baltic Coast, became the first to reopen full time since March with new hygiene measures.
In one school a teacher tested positive for Covid-19, requiring all 55 other staff members to take a test. In a second school 100 primary school pupils were sent into a two-week quarantine after a classmate tested positive.
Despite rising infection numbers, a leading German promoter has announced plans for an open-air concert in a month’s time, with Bryan Adams the main act. Some 13,000 concert-goers are expected, and all are expected to wear masks.
Germany’s reported over 216,000 coronavirus cases in total, and more than 9,000 related deaths.
Here are the latest developments regarding the novel coronavirus around the world:
In Belgium, which has register about 70,000 cases and 9,800 deaths, the city of Brussels has warned that it is prepared to require people to wear masks in public spaces and in private spaces accessible to the public, if infections continue to rise.
Germany’s Foreign Ministry said that tourist trips to the Belgian province of Antwerp were unadvisable, citing “renewed high infection numbers.”
Poland is also set to re-impose compulsory face masks in all public spaces in nine of its districts, in response to a rise in infections. The restrictions be in effect on Saturday and will also affect sports and cultural events in those areas, mainly in the south and east.
Greece, which had thus far fared better in the pandemic, declared a “wake-up week” on COVID-19, tightening restrictions after the steady rise in mostly domestic infections, which officials have blamed on overcrowding in clubs and social events.
Ireland, which had one of the lowest infection rates in Europe, has also seen a spike over the last week, with the average infection rate more than doubling to around 50 infections per day.
The first localized reimposition of some coronavirus restrictions was announced for three of the country’s 26 counties. Restaurants, cafes and pubs in Kildare, Laois and Offaly can only serve food in outdoor areas to small groups for the next two weeks and residents will only be allowed to leave their county in limited circumstances.
Latin America and the Caribbean have surpassed Europe to become the hardest-hit region by coronavirus deaths. The region reported 213,120 fatalities, 460 more than Europe. Brazil alone has reported a COVID-19 death toll of almost 100,000, nearly half of the region’s total.
With more than 2.9 million infections since the pandemic began, Brazil has the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak after the US. Mexico came close behind, with a death toll that has surged past 50,000. The country has nearly 470,000 registered infections.
As the infections remain high in the US, negotiations for another economic relief package between the White House and Congress broke down. The Trump administration is now considering using executive orders over the weekend to resume enhanced unemployment benefits and reinstate a moratorium on evictions, among other benefits.