German health minister says border closures “unavoidable”

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German Health Minister Jens Spahn said entry bans on travellers from the Czech Republic and Austria’s Tyrol region from Feb. 14 were necessary to prevent the spread of new variants of the coronavirus.

“They are unavoidable for a certain period of time to prevent the spread of dangerous virus variants,” Spahn told a news conference.

Separately, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said more of the economy could be opened up in some states before a planned March 7 end to lockdown restrictions if they have a seven-day coronavirus incidence that is stable below 35 per 100,000 people.

“That’s my understanding, yes,” Seibert told reporters, referring to Wednesday’s latest lockdown agreement by the government and the 16 federal states.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 9,860 to 2,320,093, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday.

The reported death toll rose by 556 to 64,191, the tally showed.

Main Photo: A border sign of Germany seen near the border crossing in Krajnik Dolny, northwestern Poland. EPA-EFE/Marcin Bielecki

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