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Germany’s Soeder says new border entry checks have no time limit

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SCHIRNDING, Germany, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Germany’s south-eastern Bavaria has not set a time limit on new entry checks for travellers from the Czech Republic and Austria’s Tyrol that kicked in from Sunday to avoid the spread of new coronavirus variants, state premier Markus Soeder said.

Soeder told a press conference in Schirnding on the Czech border that too little was done in the regions across the border to stem the pandemic.

“The measures will remain in place as long as necessary,” he said. “The challenges are getting bigger. There will have to be a strict entrance regime.”

His comments came as the Czech government reached a last-minute deal with regional governors to call a new state of emergency for 14 days and avert a chaotic end to coronavirus lockdown measures.

The Bavarians allow in truck drivers, German citizens and cross-border commuters in possession of negative test certificates and those that, on request, test negative, but turn back all others.

By Wednesday, Bavaria will define practical longer-term modalities for regular cross-border commuters working in the health sector or those from companies involved in making pandemic-related products, the state’s interior minister Joachim Herrmann said.

The border closures were announced on Wednesday when federal and regional policymakers called them unavoidable because of high incidence rates in the regions.

Federal interior minister Horst Seehofer said separately that border police were expecting some traffic jams and occasional waiting times but “the police cannot possibly wave through the traffic”.

German carmaker association VDA said that companies that rely on just-in-time delivery of parts from neighbouring countries could see supply chain problems due to the rules.

It asked for truck drivers with valid tests to be given faster entrance via green lanes. “The supply arteries must stay open,” a spokesman said.

Germany reported 6,114 new COVID-10 cases on Sunday and a further 218 deaths, bringing the total death toll to 64,960. (Reporting by Vera Eckert, Christian Kraemer and Reuters TV; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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