Germany will impose an entry ban on travelers from the Czech Republic and Austria’s Tyrol region from Feb. 14, the mass-circulation tabloid Bild reported on Thursday, citing German Interior Ministry sources.
Only a handful of exceptions are allowed to enter Germany from these countries, including returning Germans or residents and essential workers.
The news comes after the Czech Republic earlier on Thursday announced a stricter lockdown in three districts, including two on the border with Germany, where coronavirus infections have soared above 1,000 per 100,000 residents over the past week.
Bavaria Governor Markus Soeder praised measures taken by the Czech Republic to contain the spread of virus variants and criticized authorities in Tyrol, saying they appeared not to be taking the issue seriously.
In a speech to Parliament on Thursday, Merkel defended her government’s decision to set a lower infection target for easing the lockdown further: a number of new weekly cases per 100,000 inhabitants below 35.
The Robert Koch Institute on Thursday added 10,237 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 666 deaths to Germany’s totals, bringing the country’s overall case count since the start of the pandemic to 2.31 million and the death toll to 63,635.
Germany restricts travel from countries with high rates of virus mutations. The list currently includes the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and South Africa.
From Friday, Austria is requiring those leaving Tyrol – a winter sports hot spot also bordering Germany, Italy and Switzerland – to show a negative test result.