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Kreuzlingen-Constance Cross-border love in the time of Covid-19

The Swiss city of Kreuzlingen and neighbouring Constance in Germany have been divided by the coronavirus pandemic. Two fences separate them after borders between the two nations were closed to slow the spread of the virus.

The residents of both cities normally move freely across an invisible line marking where one nation ends and the other begins. But in the time of Covid-19 everything has changed.

The German authorities erected a first fence in mid-March when the border was closed. The Swiss put up a second fence a couple weeks later because too many people were passing beers, playing cards and kissing through the wire in defiance of the rules.

The barriers have become a meeting point for people divided by the epidemic – and a reminder of its disruption for Europeans accustomed to traveling where they please.

Basel-based freelance photographer Roland Schmid travelled to the area and brought back images of families, lovers and friends torn apart by the new physical border.

They appear pressed against the chain links in the warm spring sunshine, taking care of each other and trying to keep their relationships going in these trying times. Close enough to say "I love you" but too far apart to touch.

This is a coronavirus no-man's land. It traces the route of a barbed wire-topped barrier that split Switzerland and Germany during World War Two and that was removed long ago. 

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The citizens' meeting

How the Swiss are moving back to the mountains

How the Swiss are moving back to the mountains

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