Germany is observing the development of the coronavirus epidemic in the neighboring Czech Republic with concern and points out that the highest infection rate is in districts near the Czech border. Given that the virus is on the rise again in the Czech Republic and the number of patients per capita is significantly higher than in Germany, the German newspaper Die Welt raises the question of whether it is not time again for the borders to close completely. Of the 14 districts with the highest numbers of newly infected people, five are on the Czech border, Die Welt pointed out, adding that the biggest problem is commuters traveling to Germany for work. At the same time, however, Czechs who are employed, for example, in care services are indispensable for the country at the moment.
However, given that another coronavirus wave is currently taking place in the Czech Republic and the numbers of infected people are several times higher than in Germany, journalist Olaf Gersemann wonders whether it is not time to close the Czech-German border again. In the spring, it was the Czechs who decided on March 14 to close the borders with both Germany and Austria. This was later criticized by the prime minister of neighboring Saxony, Michael Kretschmer, and Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder. “The priority is to keep the borders open,” Söder said in mid-November. At the end of last year, Saxony introduced stricter conditions for entry from foreign risk areas, including the Czech Republic. For newcomers, not only the current domestic quarantine is mandatory, but also a negative coronavirus test up to 24 hours old. It is possible to take the test as soon as you enter Saxony or then in the country itself, no later than 48 hours after crossing the border. The tests will be paid for by the commuters themselves. Commuters traveling to Saxony from neighboring countries for work or study will have to be tested regularly and at their own expense at least twice a week. This measure is to apply from Jan. 11. According to Saxony, testing of newcomers is to prevent the spreading of the coronavirus infection. The government in Dresden has been criticized in recent weeks for its allegedly benevolent approach to traffic on the Czech border.
The number of cases in Germany has increased by 9,847 to more than 1.77 million in the last 24 hours. There were 302 more deaths with COVID-19 in Germany, bringing the number to 34,574 since the beginning of the pandemic. Per capita, Germany has significantly fewer cases of new coronavirus infections than the Czech Republic. According to the Robert Koch Institute, Germany has registered about 139 infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days, and the government’s goal is to get below 50 newly infected per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days. However, in the Czech Republic, the number of new cases has increased by 27 to 1,114 per 100,000 population in the last 14 days. The spread of the disease has accelerated even among people over 65 years of age. Title image: A customs officer checks the documents of a traveler at the border crossing with Germany in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, Friday, March 13, 2020. The Czech Republic has renewed the checks on the borders with Austria and Germany at midnight Friday, and is barring entry to citizens from 15 “risk countries” due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)