Thursday, January 21, 2021

Germany May Close Borders If Spread Of UK Coronavirus Strain Deteriorates - Chancellery - UrduPoint

Germany May Close Borders If Spread Of UK Coronavirus Strain Deteriorates

The closure of Germany's borders with neighboring countries will be inevitable if the spread of the UK coronavirus variant in Europe does not slow down, Helge Braun, the head of the German Chancellery, said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel held consultations with regional authorities during which they agreed to prolong the restrictive measures in the light of the spread of the UK mutant strain. Merkel called on all EU member states to follow the suit and introduce additional restrictions.

"Heads of German regions committed to significantly reducing the spread of infection in order to keep this mutation away from the center of Europe. All countries should do this. But when the neighboring countries do not do this, we can hardly protect ourselves from the mutation, and in this case, stricter entry regulations in the Schengen Area are inevitable," Braun told ARD, an association of German broadcasters.

Explaining the decision's rationale, the German official confirmed that it was necessitated by the spillover of the mutant strain from the United Kingdom.

Braun cited expert data pointing to that this mutant strain was more contagious than the original coronavirus.

"Therefore, there is a threat that when the occurrence of the infection is high in one country, this variant might become dominant and the infection will become hard to control," the German chancellery head said, adding that the closure of borders "was not what we want, therefore, we must act together."

The mutant strain was detected by UK health authorities in mid-December, prompting the government to impose a new lockdown and many other countries to close the borders with the United Kingdom. Preliminary data suggests that the new variant is up to 70-percent more infectious than the original strain, but evidence lacks as to whether it is more deadly or harder on symptoms.

In Germany, more than 2 million COVID-19 cases were confirmed as of Wednesday, including 48,770 deaths, according to the latest update from the state-linked Robert Koch Institute.


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