Germany places almost all of Czech Republic on list of risk areas, save for two regions

Only travelers from two Czech regions are permitted to travel to Germany without a negative COVID-19 test

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 24.09.2020 08:45 (updated on 24.09.2020)

Berlin, Sept 23 (CTK correspondent) - Germany has put almost all of the Czech Republic on its list of risk areas in terms of the COVID-19 epidemic, with the exception of the Ústí (north Bohemia) and Moravia-Silesia regions, the Robert Koch Institute has announced.

The new regulation was made based on a joint decision of Germany's Health, Interior and Foreign Ministries today.

The border between the Czech Republic and Germany remains open, but stricter quarantine measures are in place, meaning travelers must provide a negative COVID-19 test or quarantine in Germany with a subsequent testing. A fine of up to several thousands of euros has been set for violations. Exempted from the requirements are cross-border commuters and truck drivers.

The Czech ambassador to Germany, Tomáš Kafka, told CTK he has received confirmation from the German Foreign Ministry that Germany is not interested in introducing border checks despite the rising number of risk regions in Czechia.

Until today, only Prague and the Central Bohemia region were on the German list.

"Germany's decision regarding the travels is ultimately softer, with some exemptions, than we first sought. Not the whole Czech Republic will be labelled risky, the Ústí and Moravia-Silesia regions remain safe. Those commuting to work in Germany and those returning home [in transit through the country] need not be afraid," Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček tweeted earlier this evening.

Kafka said Germany assesses the situation in terms of individual regions, not countries as a whole.

"Our German partners have confirmed to me that Germany is determined to keep to the regional principle and distinguish [between regions] to the maximum possible extent," Kafka said.

"It is important for us to maintain Germany's confidence, which we enjoy," Kafka said, adding that he does not expect Germany to raise the frequency of its random checks along the border of Bavaria and Saxony with Czechia.

"Our conversations with partners in Berlin, Saxony and Bavaria have showed that the German side trusts us and considers Czech travelers to be as disciplined and responsible as those from Belgium or France, for example," Kafka said.

The question of the exemption of commuters remains open. "The German side takes the issue very earnestly," Kafka said, adding that a possible toughening of the travel rules by Germany would be done in way that would disturb commuters' life to the least possible extent.

To appear on Germany's list of risk countries, a state has to exceed the level of 50 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days.

Another criterion is the current epidemiological situation in the assessed country. If, for example, its number of new cases is rising sharply, Germany may assess the country as risk-posing although its week-long number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants has not reached the above limit.

People can travel to Germany from the regions which Berlin labelled as risk. On people's arrival from such regions, Germany requires a negative test for COVID-19 or quarantine with a subsequent test in Germany. Exempted from these requirements are truck drivers and people commuting to work across the border, unless they have symptoms of COVID-19.

Along with the Czech regions, Germany today put some regions in Denmark, France, Croatia, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Hungary on its list of risk areas, along with Irish capital Dublin.