- Hamburg and Frankfurt airports will immediately bar travelers from countries outside the European Union.
- The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany's disease control and prevention agency, adjusted its coronavirus threat risk for the country Tuesday from "moderate" to "high."
- The RKI also warned that the epidemic could last for as long as two years.
Leaders of the European Union have agreed to to implement a 30-day travel ban on those traveling from outside the EU, with a limited number of exceptions. The German government has also ordered the federal police to prevent those who are not EU citizens from entering German territory. This was announced by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Tuesday, after a video conference with other EU member states.
Hamburg and Frankfurt airports will immediately bar travelers from countries outside the European Union. Merkel said that despite measures being taken to manage the borders, it was important “to continue the free flow of goods.” She added that there are currently problems in this area. The deputy head of the German police union had earlier called for the suspension of planes from heavily contaminated countries, such as Iran. “When we close the land borders, we need to restrict air freight as well,” said Jörg Radek.
In recent days, there have been criticisms of passengers arriving from Iran without any medical check-ups at airports. Omid Nouripour, an Iranian-German parliamentarian from the Green Party, cites the words of Iranians living in Germany who were easily released on their way home after being asked to test. In an interview with the media, Nouripour said that if the Germans were banned from traveling to countries such as Iran, then it is true that travelers coming from those countries would also be screened and quarantined.
German Covid-19 Outbreak Rises to “High”
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s disease control and prevention agency, adjusted its coronavirus threat risk for the country Tuesday from “moderate” to “high.” The RKI warned the people to take Coronavirus very seriously and to prepare themselves for at least two years of coronavirus.
The head of the institute, Lothar Wieler, said the change was based on reports from hospitals and health centers that increased incidence of new infections was associated with serious symptoms of coronavirus. In its new report, the institute warned that in many cases, infections of Coronavirus were not detectable. There have been more than 9,200 cases of coronavirus infection in Germany so far, including 24 deaths.
Threefold Increase in Patients
The German Hospitals Association (DKG) has announced that there are currently about 9,200 people across the country being treated for symptoms of Covid-19 disease. Gerald Goss, head of the German Hospitals Union, predicted that the figure would triple in the coming days. According to him, German hospitals currently have the capacity to accommodate this number.
Two Years of Coronavirus Epidemic
A report by the Koch Research Institute also warns that the coronavirus, as a “high-profile” virus, is transmitted as quickly as any other virus, and that the outbreak is likely to continue for two years. The epidemic and course of Covid-19’s disease depend on the speed of action of the specialists in making a vaccine. Some people with the disease also recover and become immune to SARS-CoV-2, the cause of Covid-19. Wieler also said that in the “dire situation,” some of the bans and restrictions that countries are imposing on the Coronavirus must be fully met.
Chancellor Merkel also briefed the media yesterday on the outcome of talks with the heads of the German states, party representatives in the Bundestag, and Group of 7 leaders. They have emphasized that their actions must be coordinated, as the Coronavirus has become a global crisis, and the interoperability of countries and international organizations can prevent further spread of the virus and its associated disease.
Theft of 4,000 Masks
Meanwhile, thieves stole 50,000 masks from a hospital in Cologne. According to a staff member at the warehouse on Monday morning, one of them was caught stealing masks and informing the police. In the wake of the incident, the Cologne City Crisis Headquarters ordered that all masks in the city’s hospitals be equipped with the necessary masks needed to prevent coronavirus, inspections and better security measures to protect them from the risk of burglary.
A spokesman for one of the clinics in Cologne described the recent robbery as “a new quality of theft.” The spokesman added, “we’re talking about items that normally have a value measured in cents, but apparently there’s a market for them now.” He has assured the public that the robbery will not cause a shortage or a disadvantage for the clinics in Cologne.
The Task of Returning German Travelers
To prevent further spread of the coronavirus, Germany has imposed more travel restrictions on Tuesday and the government has warned all its citizens that leaving the country is a serious threat to human health in the current situation. Due to travel restrictions imposed by other European countries, including France and Spain, a number of German travelers are currently having difficulty returning home to Germany. The German Foreign Minister said thousands of Germans living outside its borders would be returned to the country via an air bridge in response to the coronavirus crisis.