Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is not taking up Austria’s offer to welcome holiday-makers from his country just yet.
Seehofer told Bild am Sonntag that it was too early to consider lifting border restrictions. “As long as the virus doesn’t take a holiday, we too have to limit our travel plans,” he said. “The control of the infection dictates the schedule.”
Last Wednesday, Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said he would consider opening the border with Germany “in the foreseeable future” to allow Germans to visit.
Seehofer said he is conscious some people feel freedom of movement is being unduly restricted. “The restrictions must never be permanent and they must be strongly justified,” he said, “the protection of life is still the greatest good for me.”
He explained that since Germany put in place border controls in March, 105,000 people have been prevented from entering the country. “This is an important factor in interrupting the chain of infection,” he said.
The interior minister added that the restrictions are justified and necessary to combat the spread of the virus, but that those “must never be weighed against economic interests.”
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also warned that lifting global travels too early could “jeopardize the progress” made in the fight against the coronavirus, German press agency DPA reported.
“When people are able to not just fly abroad again, but also come back in a sufficiently safe way, then we can roll back these travel warnings step by step,” Maas continued.
CORRECTION. This article was changed to correct the spellings of two names.