Status: 26.03.2021 7:52 p.m.
Because of the high number of infections, the federal government classifies France as a high incidence area. This also applies to the Czech Republic and Slovakia – but both countries were previously classified one risk level higher.
The federal government will classify France, Slovakia and the Czech Republic from Sunday as a high-incidence area with mandatory testing upon entry. Until further notice, the border may only be crossed if there is a negative corona test that is not older than 48 hours.
For Slovakia and the Czech Republic, this means a downgrade: They were previously considered a virus variant area, which is the highest risk level. The corresponding classification of the Austrian state of Tyrol has also been revoked; it is now designated as a risk area. On February 14, the federal government declared large parts of Tyrol, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to be areas with particularly dangerous virus variants. Only Germans and foreigners with a residence and residence permit in Germany were allowed to enter. The only exceptions were for truck drivers and cross-border commuters with systemically relevant professions.
For the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the downgrade means a clear relaxation of the rules; the current ban on carriage also does not apply. There have been no regular train and bus connections between the Czech Republic and Germany for weeks. This could change now.
The situation in France is deteriorating
This is different in France: the infection situation there had steadily deteriorated over the past few weeks. In the last 24 hours, the authorities reported 41,869 new infections – last Friday there were 35,088. The situation in hospitals is extremely tense in several regions. The number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week is currently more than 300.
From an incidence value of 200
The classification as a high incidence area occurs from an incidence value of 200. Anyone entering from these areas must have a negative corona test upon entry. The respective federal states usually have special regulations for cross-border commuters.
The Moselle border region had already been classified as a virus variant area at the beginning of March. There is already a compulsory test upon entry. It will probably only be checked at random in the future as part of the so-called veil manhunt behind the border. Stationary border controls are not planned.
Dreyer: The measure is not directed against France
“It is important to us that we contain the infection process and still keep the borders open,” said the Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Malu Dreyer. The classification as a high incidence area is in no way directed against the partners in France, but against the virus.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told Franceinfo that the new regulations would cause problems for commuters. But one wants to try to harm them as little as possible. There were controls at the French border last spring. This is one of the reasons why the mood in the border areas is tense.
Merkel: “actually necessary”
Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday in her press conference on the EU summit on the possible classification of the whole of France as a high incidence area, it was “not about political declarations of will, but looking at the long-lasting incidences”. If the seven-day incidence is “sustainable” at more than 200 new corona infections per 100,000 inhabitants, “it is classified as a risk area”. In the case of France, this appears “de facto necessary”, but does not mean that there are automatic border controls.
The Chancellor emphasized that there was “a very specific procedure as to who has to present tests and how often”. This will be discussed with France and necessary transition periods will be taken into account. After the French border region Moselle was classified as a virus variant area at the end of February, there are “already well-established procedures”. “I do not think that this is a particularly conspicuous or special measure,” added Merkel.
Tougher measures in parts of France
In three additional French departments, stricter corona restrictions for citizens and businesses will apply from the weekend. The administrative districts of Aube and Nièvre in the center of the country and the Rhône in the southeast are affected, Health Minister Olivier Véran announced on Thursday evening.
These tougher measures have been in place in the greater Paris area and other parts of France since last weekend. In 16 departments so far, there are also exit restrictions during the day, and many shops are closed. Of the approximately 67 million people in France, around one in three has been affected by the tougher measures.
Federal government upgrades France to a “high incidence area”
Markus Sambale, ARD Berlin, March 26, 2021 4:48 p.m.