German health authorities on Sunday designated the Moselle region of eastern France as a “high risk” zone because of the prevalence of coronavirus variants, and said tougher border restrictions would be imposed beginning Tuesday.
Germany has already imposed severe restrictions at some border crossings with the Czech Republic and Austria, drawing complaints about Berlin’s departure from a European Council effort to coordinate such measures.
During a European Council video summit on Thursday, Chancellor Angela Merkel told other heads of state and government that Germany’s measures were necessary and she insisted that the tighter rules were not disrupting commerce. Other countries have disputed that assertion.
The Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s federal disease control and prevention agency, announced the new high-risk designation for Moselle in a statement on Sunday.
As a result, cross-border travelers may face demands for proof of a PCR test within the past 48 hours showing they are not infected with coronavirus.
French officials, including junior minister for European affairs, Clément Beaune, quickly voiced apprehension over the tougher border restrictions.
“I regret this German decision because it implies a certain number of slowdowns, difficulties at the borders, again not for touristic movements, but for work,” Beaune said on France Info radio. He said that French officials were still negotiating with German counterparts over the situation.
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