Germany Imposes Border Checks to Austria and Czech Republic

Jacob Nguyen

Central Europe is currently becoming the continent’s Coronavirus hotspot as Austria struggles with an outbreak of a new Coronavirus variant first spotted in South Africa and the Czech Republic faces hospital bed shortages. 

The worsening situations in Austria and the Czech Republic have forced Germany to take action by announcing new border controls with both countries to prevent further infections. The decision that was made to come into effect on Feb. 15 was “unavoidable”, according to the German health minister, Jens Spahn. All those traveling through the border will be tested for Coronavirus, and there is an obligation to quarantine. 

Despite the more infectious Coronavirus variants, the total number of cases in Germany has been dropping. On Friday, 9,860 new infections were reported. This is a significant decrease from 6,812 cases from last week. However, Austria and the Czech Republic have not been feeling the same decrease.  

In the Czech Republic, the parliament refused to extend the state of Emergency last Thursday. Despite the fact that the virus continues to spread rapidly across the country, many of the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted. This decision was made by the Prime minister, Andrej Babiš, and those who disagree have been accusing Babiš of not doing enough to stop the spread. They argue the government isn’t doing enough to provide financial aid to businesses that have been heavily impacted by the Coronavirus. This means that some quarantine measures have been ignored in order to not risk losing income. 

Despite avoiding much of the first wave of Coronairus last spring, the Czech Republic is the fifth worst country in the world when it comes to Covid-19 deaths per 100,000 people. The country is to have a key parliament election later this year.