Berlin, Feb 15 (efe-epa).- The German government on Monday said border controls with the Czech Republic and Austria were justified, despite long delays and heavy criticism from neighboring countries.
Germany has had controls on its land borders with its two neighbors since Sunday, which has limited free movement within the Schengen zone and affected economic activity and political relations.
“The German government had to act,” the German government spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said at a press conference, saying the “extraordinary” measure was necessary to protect the progress made in Germany in containing the pandemic.
In Germany as a whole, the seven-day cumulative incidence stands at 58.9 cases per 100,000 people, compared to 76.0 a week ago, and new infections totaled 49,018 in one week.
On January 28, the cumulative incidence fell below 100 for the first time since the end of October and last Tuesday it fell below 75 for the first time in three months.
The Austrian foreign ministry has lodged a complaint with the German ambassador in Vienna over the temporary border checks between Bavaria and Tyrol, which he said were “disproportionate”.
On Monday morning, the traffic jam at the border on the motorway connecting Prague and Dresden (eastern Germany) was some 30 kilometers long.
The new restrictions mean only German citizens or permanent residents in the country, cross-border workers and health workers, along with freight carriers, are allowed into Germany. EFE-EPA