International

Interview with the Minister of Foreign Affairs: Maas: Borders remain open despite Corona politics

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) has assured that Germany’s borders with neighboring countries will remain open, even if the corona situation deteriorates. “Yes, the borders remain open,” he told Tagesspiegel before the start of the second lockdown on Monday. “In the spring we had enough experience with how we organize inspections if necessary,” Maas emphasizes. “I’m sure we won’t see any traffic jams tens of kilometers long at the border.”

He also currently sees “no neighboring country that would carelessly help us close the borders” and is in constant contact with his EU counterparts. “We mainly keep each other informed about which decisions we have to make that affect others, such as travel alerts.”

The SPD politician recalled that travelers returning after the summer had contributed to the increase in the number of infections: “We had to respond to this and have declared many regions within the EU as risk areas. As a result, the share of infections caused by returning tourists has decreased significantly. “

During the crisis, the situation in Germany was “tense”, but it was better than in some other countries. “What I saw from the reactions from abroad was more of a mixture of admiration and the desire to do something similar,” said the Secretary of State: “Anyone who compares our situation with that of other countries comes to the conclusion: Germany is doing so badly, not there. “Nevertheless, the new restrictions that will apply from Monday are necessary.” We are facing a hard winter, “said Maas.

According to a study, significantly more people will die from corona infections in the coming weeks than in recent weeks. According to model calculations by a research group at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen, the number of deaths from Covid-19 in Germany is likely to increase to at least 500 to 800 per week in early November, chief Viola Priesemann said. The increase may be even greater, as more and more elderly people have been infected since the end of September.

The Robert Koch Institute again reported a maximum number of registered new corona infections on Saturday morning: the health authorities registered 19,059 new cases the day before. At the end of September, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) warned that there could be 19,200 new infections per day by Christmas – less than two months before Christmas, this value has now almost reached.

Union leader Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU) does not rule out a further tightening of the corona protection measures. Although the plan is for another relaxation to come before Christmas, he told Funke media group newspapers, no one could guarantee that. “Much will depend on whether everyone comes along,” he said. Then you have a good chance of being able to do it without further tightening. “But when people across the board are doing their thing, we have a problem,” said the politician.

Federal and state governments agreed on massive contact restrictions on Wednesday to halt the rapid spread of the coronavirus. From Monday, restaurants and recreational, cultural and sports facilities must close. Trade and schools and nurseries must remain open.

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