SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 29 May 2024, Wednesday |

Germany imposes tighter border controls after listing France as high-risk zone for Covid-19.

Germany step ups French border controls, while Chancellor Angela Merkel said the new rules would come into force on Friday as France exceeded the threshold of 200 cases per 100,000 people in a number of regions. The French government this week imposed a month-long lockdown on Paris and parts of the north to contain highly contagious coronavirus variants.

Medical workers warned the French health system faced an unprecedented violent shock in under a month  if the spread of the virus was not brought under control.

Germany had already classified the Moselle border area between the two countries as a high-risk zone. The widened reclassification imposes several travel restrictions on the entire border with France, including a requirement to obtain a negative test result before entering German territory and 10 days’ quarantine.

Mrs Merkel said the high-risk listing was automatic when infection numbers surge and not “a political decision”.

“While we see such a high incidence it is simply a necessity … a practically automatic process,” she said.

Meanwhile, UK ministers, worried about coronavirus cases from the continent, are set to scrap exemptions for all lorry drivers, border officials and other key workers entering the country.

A new system could see lorry drivers undergo mandatory Covid-19 tests to prevent the introduction of new variants, particularly from France, The Telegraph reported.

In an attempt to avoid disruption to food supplies, hauliers could be required to take a lateral flow test when they are in the UK rather than at the border, where long queues can build up and delay deliveries to supermarkets.

All lorry drivers would be required to take a test within 48 hours and every 72 hours thereafter, while Border Force staff involved in cross-channel work could be required to take three tests a week.

A similar scheme was imposed by French authorities on lorry drivers coming from the UK in December last year to stop the spread of the Covid-19 variant first identified in south-east England.