Berlin (dpa) – Due to the sharp drop in the number of corona infections in the Czech Republic, the federal government downgraded the neighboring country from high incidence to a normal risk area on Sunday.
This eliminates the general requirement to present a negative test result when entering the country. As the Robert Koch Institute also announced on Friday, the last virus variant area in Europe will also be downgraded: the French border region of Moselle will then, like the rest of France, only be an area of high incidence. This mainly means a relaxation of the quarantine rules.
At the end of January, the Czech Republic was one of the first 20 countries to be classified as high-incidence areas with more than 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week. The state bordering Bavaria and Saxony was one of Europe’s corona hotspots until recently. In the meantime, the Czech Republic was even classified as a virus variant area and stationary border controls were reintroduced; but they ended two weeks ago.
The situation has since improved a lot. According to current figures, less than 150 people per 100,000 inhabitants in the Czech Republic were infected within seven days and the government in Prague is cautiously taking the first easing measures.
The risk area classification now means that travelers from the Czech Republic do not need to be tested until 48 hours after arriving in Germany, which is difficult to verify.
With the degradation of the French Moselle region, the federal government believes that there are now only ten areas in Asia, Africa and South America where dangerous virus variants have spread particularly widely. The situation in Moselle has recently improved considerably. Only 16 percent of corona infections can now be attributed to the South African variant. According to Prime Minister Jean Castex, that was 60 percent of positive cases two months ago.
It remains to be seen whether the downgrade will bring relief to the approximately 16,000 commuters from Moselle. Because for them there were anyway exceptions to the strict access rules. Christophe Arend, Member of Parliament of Forbach in Paris, initially does not expect any changes, for example in the field of mandatory testing, he told the regional newspaper “Le Républucain Lorrain”. The mayor of Morsbach told the newspaper that the move was finally a positive signal and stressed the need to align regulations for people from Saarland and Moselle.
The following changes will be made to the RKI’s risk list from Sunday:
– Bulgaria is also being relegated from a high incidence area to a risk area.
– Lithuania and Mongolia are being upgraded to high incidence areas due to the increasing number of infections.
– The British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean are removed from the list of risk areas.
– In Norway, a region has been newly classified as a risk area.